Debt worries are a problem for both parents and their student children, as both vastly underestimate the amount of debt for the average university graduate.

In the research from the Association of Investment Companies (AIC), parents estimate that the average graduate debt levels are just over £9,600, whereas this figure is more like £13,000. Parents are more likely to be seeking debt advice as three quarters of parents admit that they are struggling to fund a university education for their child.

However it is likely that graduates are going to struggle to become debt free as university graduates of the future could leave with over £20,000 worth of debt, due to rising costs and top-up-fees. 23% of students said they know that will probably be paying off student debt for at least 15 years after graduation.

Communications director of AIC commented: “The credit crunch and the rising cost of living will undoubtedly make it harder for parents to fund their children”s university years. Whilst there are many benefits that come with a university education, on graduation many young people find themselves struggling to repay their debt.”