Graduates face £30,000 of student debt - but are more likely to get a job before they leave university, survey finds

Credit: PA

University graduates face an average debt of more than £30,000, a survey has revealed.

The new £9,000-a-year tuition fees have bumped up the total sum owed by the Class of 2015 up by almost £10,000, from an average of £20,400 last year.

It means students graduating this year will face the highest level of student debt in history.

The UK Graduate Careers Survey, by High Fliers Research, interviewed 18,412 final year students at 30 UK universities to discover how further education would impact them financially.

But it was not all bad news. The study also found that new graduates expect to rake in average salaries of £23,700 - a £700 rise on last year's predictions - and are more likely to have secured a job before leaving.

An "unprecedented" number of graduates had already secured a job for when they finish studying completely, with 37 per cent receiving a definite graduate job offer by Easter.

The results found most of these came through work experience done as part of their final year - and 48 per cent revealed they had started their job hunt before their first year was even over, up from 30 per cent in 2010.

Graduates expect to earn £700 more a year, on average, than graduates a year ago Credit: PA

A record 64 per cent of final year students had applied to graduate employers by March, up from 46 per cent a decade ago, and students made an average of 7.4 applications during their hunt.

The company's managing director, Martin Birchall, described the new wave of graduates as "the most careers-orientated, motivated and ambitious of their generation".