Graduates 'Reap Social Benefit'
One in five graduates in the UK have settled down with someone they met at university, a survey suggests.
The poll of over 5,000 graduate and non-graduate adults found 10% of those who did not go to university felt they had missed out on love.
Graduates were found to have 15 close friends, compared to 10 close friends for those who did not take a degree.
The online poll found 60% of graduates thought university contacts were as important as a degree for getting jobs.
A total of 5,283 adults aged 25 to 45 took part in the survey by university accommodation provider Unite. Just over half (2,777) were university graduates and the rest (2,506) had not attended university.
In total, 41% of graduates said a friend from university had directly set them up for a job interview or introduced them to a potential employer. A quarter (24%) said they had got a job because of a friend or contact from university.
Almost nine in 10 (87%) claimed a helping hand from friends had helped boost their initial annual income by up to £10,000.
Graduates who completed the survey were more likely to have international friends of different cultures and religions. More than one in three (35%) former students had travelled around the world because of university friends or contacts. And 78% of respondents who had not gone to university felt they had missed out on once in a lifetime experiences abroad due to not going to university.
However, the latest research suggests students starting university this autumn can expect to graduate with debts of £23,000.
The Push Student Debt Survey of 2,024 students at varying stages of degree courses found debts averaged more than £5,000 a year and that this was rising.
Nathan Goddard, sales and marketing director for Unite, said: “In the current climate, a degree alone doesn’t always guarantee you a job – it’s also the people you meet and the friends you make along the way that could help you get ahead.
Our research reveals that people who go to university make strong social networks which help set them up for life; whether it be work, lasting friendships or even marriage.”