In contrast, only 4% of working women spend the same amount, with 5% saying they regarded keeping up with current makeup trends as important, compared to 14% of students.
The volume of cosmetics bought by students was above average in relation to the 2,081 women surveyed, while 70% held the price of products in higher esteem than quality or brand reputation.
More than half of students said they would be willing to splash out on a foundation while just nine per cent said they wouldn't buy traditionally "staple" make-up items.
Sarah Stern, beauty director at Debenhams, which conducted the survey, said she wasn't surprised so many students would spend more on foundation.
"We're all familiar with the old image of students living off noodles and barely scraping by, but whether or not respondents from this group would consider themselves low on cash, it seems looking good - and on-trend - is something worth spending money on.
"It's no surprise that foundation is such a popular item to spend that little bit extra on," Stern continued. "Besides, while items like lipstick and eyebrow pencils are great products to have in your make-up bag and are ideal for creating a certain look, a foundation is something many women wear day-in day-out, so buying a high-quality formulation is an investment."