All The Reasons Students Are Skipping More Lectures Than Ever Right Now

While record numbers of students are attending university in the UK yearly, there has been a concerning decline in attendance from students across UK universities.

More and more students are choosing to skip lectures than ever due to the cost of living crisis and overcrowding in lecture halls. With students opting to skip their important lectures, this can only have a detrimental impact on their education and even a more long-term effect after they’ve finished uni.

Why are students skipping lectures?

To save money

The cost of living crisis has put a lot of students in a difficult financial position. Data from the ONS (Office for National Statistics) shows that nearly 3 in 10 (29%) of students are skipping non-mandatory lectures or tutorials to save on costs as a direct result of the cost of living crisis. Meanwhile, another 31% are choosing to not attend field trips or additional course-related trips that will benefit their education because they cost money to attend.

Costs that are associated with going into uni include course materials such as textbooks, printing credits, bus fares or the price of food in on-campus shops, all of which can be avoided by staying at home and not attending lectures.

Due to overcrowding

After the UK came out of lockdown, the number of admissions to UK universities rose significantly, due to many students opting to defer or take a gap year until lockdown was over. This means that universities have been taking on more and more students than ever, which in many cases they do not have the capacity for.

Students at the University of Worcester have revealed that they are forced to sit on the floor of lecture halls as the rooms are not big enough to accommodate the number of students on various courses. Even those students who do manage to get a seat feel cramped and don’t have enough room to open their laptops or notebooks. With overcrowding becoming such a prevalent issue, many students are opting to stay at home instead.

Meanwhile, the student council at the University of Glasgow has called for a cap on student admissions due to the strain the extra number of students is putting on student accommodation and overall student welfare. The student housing crisis continues across the country as a result of this, meaning students are facing homelessness and being forced to queue for long hours or bid to secure housing.

lecture hall

Due to part-time jobs or other commitments

Many students have had to take on part-time jobs or more hours at their part-time jobs in order to earn enough money to cover their rent and living expenses due to the cost of living crisis. Our research has shown that in the last year 60% of students have taken on a part-time job, however, for many students, their job has had to take a priority over their education and they are forced to skip lectures in order to make up hours at work for the money.

Many students have also started or considered starting an OnlyFans account as a way to generate additional income or have considered selling drugs or shoplifting to help cover the costs of rising bills.

Long commute times

The student housing crisis has meant that many students are forced to take up accommodation with commutes of over an hour to get to their university. Many are also forced to live at home and commute instead if they’re unable to secure accommodation. Long commute times are not only super off putting when it comes to actually making it in to university, but they can also be a financial strain too.

With 4 in 10 students staying at home to save commuting and rent costs (ONS) and 27% travelling in less frequently as a means to skip the commuting costs, many are simply opting to attend lectures virtually or catch up by watching back recordings.


Poor mental health

For students who have had to take up jobs or additional hours at their jobs, this can have a huge impact on their mental health due to the number of hours they need to split per week between university, work and their social lives. 74% of students we surveyed with part-time jobs said that money worries had negatively impacted their mental health, while another 55% said money worries had impacted their studies.

The cost of living crisis, the student housing crisis and overcrowding in lectures combined have had a detrimental effect on the mental health of many students, causing them to either skip lectures or consider dropping out altogether.

What’s the long-term impact of skipping lectures at universities?

While skipping a few lectures here and there won’t have a massive impact overall, students who are repeatedly skipping lectures, seminars or tutorials weekly are risking a huge long-term effect. With students opting to skip lectures weekly, they are missing out on important teaching, meaning this will have an impact of the quality of their coursework and exam results. Many lecturers may be unwilling to help or give additional support to students who are struggling due to missing a lot of classes and may not offer the chance to help them catch up on what’s been missed.

Skipping lectures not only impacts students’ short-term results at university but can also impact them in the long term too as it could lead to lower final grades or not being able to graduate, meaning students may struggle to secure a job after uni or a job that pays well enough to help them through the cost of living crisis. Research has shown that students who graduate with a 2:2 on average earn £3,800 less per year than those who graduate with a 2:1 or a first.

In terms of mental wellbeing, many students may also find that by skipping lectures to save money or cut back on commuting can leave them feeling isolated which will have a further negative impact on their mental health.

We asked students how they’re being affected–– this is what they said

“(I’m) skipping lunch, can’t afford art kits for lessons, and can’t travel home”

“Only going in 3 days a week instead of 5 saves £25 a week, but (I’m) missing 4 lectures”

“I can’t afford to go home at Christmas”

“I’m unable to get to uni because of the price of petrol and parking near the uni is £15 a day”

“I struggled to travel to uni somedays because bus tickets cost me £3.50 a day”

Worried you’re missing too much uni or struggling with money? We’ve got plenty more help and advice on where to turn if you need support during the student housing crisis and the cost of living crisis.