MORE students than ever are turning to “sex work” to pay for tuition and living costs, a report reveals.

One in 25 say they do intimate things such as sell used undies, sugar dating – where you receieve cash in exchange for a relationship – have sex for money, and feature in porn to make ends meet.

That’s double the amount in 2017 when Save The Student did the same research – and works out at around 70,000 undergraduates.

The student site says the problem is that the maintenance loan given to students is short of the average monthly living costs by £267.

As a result, 4 per cent of undergraduates say they have tried adult work – compared to 2 per cent in 2017 and 3 per cent last year.

What adult work have students tried?

OF the 70,000 students to try adult work, here's what they've tried:

  • Intimate photos – 18 per cent
  • Used clothing – 16 per cent
  • Sugar dating – 14 per cent
  • Webcamming – 10 per cent
  • Phone sex – 9 per cent
  • Dates – 8 per cent
  • Sleeping with someone – 7 per cent
  • Escorting – 6 per cent
  • Nude modelling – 5 per cent
  • Porn – 2 per cent

Hannah Morish, a psychotherapist and Higher Education Lead at online forum The Student Room said: “Adult work can feel isolating because of the stigma attached to it, meaning that if the student has a negative or dangerous experience they might feel unable to talk about it, leading to a deeper sense of loneliness.

“Over time, recurring experiences like this can lead to emotional and mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression.

“Universities and student unions need to review whether they have advice and safe spaces on campus or online to support students who are considering or actively involved in this kind of work. Students can use online spaces, such as The Student Room forums anonymously.”

'I didn't have time for a proper job'

‘ABBEY’ studies fashion buying in Manchester and got into adult work in her first year:

“My student loan came in and I still couldn’t cover my rent, credit card and overdraft (I don’t receive financial support from my parents). I desperately needed the money, and was just about to start my exams so didn’t have time for a ‘proper’ job.

I sold photos/videos online as this was the easiest way I found of making money quickly. I also offered live chat and webcam chat services. I found the whole thing more and more draining and degrading but carried on as I needed the money. It was a vicious cycle.”

Jake Butler, money expert for Save the Student, said: “The doubling of students involved in adult and sex work over two years is alarming and very concerning. But it’s not all that unexpected, given the financial situation students are put in.

“Living costs continue to grossly outweigh the amount of funding available, leaving on average a shortfall of £267 a month according to our latest research.

“Maintenance loans are means-tested, meaning that the government expects parents to plug the gap. But most parents have no idea and their children are forced to desperate measures just to continue their studies.

'I make more from sex work than with a regular job'

‘SELINA’ has just finished a degree in genetics, and used adult work to see her through uni.

“If I'd taken a normal part time job (retail or bar work), I would have had to work such long hours that it definitely would have affected my grades.

“I started adult work at the end of my first year (selling foot photos on Craigslist), so I've been in it two years and I'm now making sex work my primary income. I know I can make more than I would with a grad job.”

“Addressing the funding gap must be the highest priority for Universities Minister, Chris Skidmore MP, who was appointed last month.

“Meanwhile, it’s more important than ever for students to be aware of the financial pressures from the outset, so they can plan and budget effectively.”

The Sun has contacted the department for education.

A new Tesco credit card now lets parents pay for their children's shopping while they are at university.

Many student bank accounts offer free railcards and overdrafts of up to £3,000 to help cash-strapped students.

And, uni students can now get a mortgage with no deposit – but their parents' cash is at risk.

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