An age of sobriety is developing amongst Britain's students as they struggle to cope with the steep rise in tuition fees and "simply cannot afford" to go out.

Three years ago students were pounding the streets in protest against the decision to raise university fees to £9,000. Unsuccessful in their aim to alter the government's plans, students have now had to come to terms with the consequences of paying a higher price for their education.

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Leeds College of Music student Sinead Regan told The Huffington Post UK she saw a trend developing amongst her friends.

"Before starting university I thought I'd be going on nights out a few times every week," she said. "This does happen in freshers' week but then things die down.

"Some students only go out for special occasions such as Halloween, Christmas and birthdays as they simply cannot afford to go out more."

One pub located near London’s Greenwich University has had to adapt to the recent changes in young people's behaviour.

Managers of the Lost Hour pub have found more students are choosing to stay in and study rather than go out and socialise.

Stonegate Pub Company has decided to adapt, widening its target audience in order to stay competitive. Once a place with a vibrant student atmosphere, the pub has become more traditional, focussing on attracting tourists, workers and locals through its doors.

Ian Payne, company chairman at Stonegate Pub Company, told The Financial Times: "There is no doubt at all that higher tuition fees have impacted the way students are behaving.

“I’m appalled to admit they drink less and study more.”

books beer

“I’m appalled to admit they drink less and study more.”

However, the £9,000 price tag hasn't put students off university. The number of UK student applications, which plunged to 408,000 in 2012, rose to 446,000 in 2013. This is around the same total as before the tuition fee change was put into place.

Students still want to attend university, but they now feel they should get more because of the increased debt they face.

Megan Adams, a student at Manchester Metropolitan University, told HuffPost UK: "I am definitely satisfied with my course but I think paying £9,000 each year makes me want more from my education. I would have no problem with complaining about a module or a lecture, if I did not feel it was worth my money."

Despite students not having to pay off their fees until they start earning over the £21,000 threshold, many are still conscious of their spending habits.

"I personally do drink less because I don't have the money even working 21 hours a week in my part-time job." Adams added. "Everything is so expensive in the city rather than living at home."

There are platforms being offered to students to comment on the standard of their courses, such as Rateyourlecturer.co.uk, a website set up to help students voice their opinion.

The findings from the National Student Survey 2013 showed students on the whole are happy with their course. The report stated 85% of UK students are satisfied with the standard of teaching.

University of Cumbria student Lucy Kelly, explained how students are taking more responsibility for their education, rather than relying on the institution.

"The consequence of higher tuition prices is that students are demanding more of themselves," she said. "This can be seen in the way students are choosing to behave. More and more hours are spent in the library and there just isn't as much time to go out with friends."

student library

Students are opting for the library instead of the bars

With half of recent graduates in non-graduate jobs, students are responding to the difficulty they will face in the years immediately following their degree.

The Graduates in the UK labour market 2013 publication released by The Office for National Statistics reported that:

"Looking at the percentage of graduates working in non-graduate jobs, an upward trend is evident, particularly since the 2008-2009 recession."

Christopher Schonewald, a recent graduate from the University of Leeds added: "The job finding experience, especially after university, can feel like an isolating, sobering experience with the competition so intense that it is easy to get caught settling for jobs entirely disparate from anything you are truly passionate about."

Britain's students are aware of the competitive job market and are adapting to a tough economy from their very first year.

nick clegg fees

Protesters wearing masks of David Cameron and Nick Clegg in 2011

Nick Clegg has promised the government will not increase tuition fees to £16,000, after the vice-chancellor of Oxford University, professor Andrew Hamilton, said he should be able to charge more for tuition because it costs £16,000 a year to educate a student at the university.

After Nick Clegg abandoned his pre-election pledge to oppose any rise in tuition fees, it is difficult to know whether the £9,000 cap will be permanent.

The one certainty is that fees won't be cut, meaning the rise of student sobriety can only increase.

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