Students will differ in age, life situation and mode of study. While some have studies as their main activity, others are pursuing further education alongside work.

Statistics Norway have previously conducted living conditions surveys for students in 1998, 2005 and 2010. The 2021 survey provides a broad mapping of students' everyday study conditions, housing and living situation, physical and mental health, employment and financial conditions. Students in post-secondary vocational education are included in this living conditions survey for the first time.

University and college students are usually young and enrolled in full-time education. Women make up 61 per cent of the students. In post-secondary vocational education, most of the students are enrolled in part-time studies (64 per cent), and half of the students are older than 30 years. Men make up 54 per cent of the students in post-secondary vocational education.

6 out of 10 full-time students in vocational schools were present on campus almost every day in 2021, compared to 27 per cent of university and college students. The vocational college students had more physical classes in the autumn of 2021 (78 per cent) compared to the university and college students (66 per cent). While half of the vocational college students travel by car to campus, half of the university and college students travel by public transport. 17 percent of male students are delayed in their current studies.

Most students rent the home they live in, with 8 out of 10 students aged 18-21 being tenants. Housing problems most often affect tenants, and 6 out of 10 students who are tenants have one or more problems with the home (e.g. moisture, noise). Older students more often own a home. Among the students who own housing, 1 in 3 has received help from parents or in-laws to finance the purchase.

Since 2010, the proportion of students with good health has significantly lowered (from 89 to 69 per cent). 3 out of 10 students in 2021 have low satisfaction with life, and students living alone are particularly vulnerable. Young, full-time students struggle the most with mental health and loneliness. Female students are more likely to have long-term health problems than men (17 vs. 9 per cent) and symptoms of mental illness (36 vs. 26 per cent).

9 out of 10 part-time students and more than 6 out of 10 full-time students had a job in the autumn of 2021. The university and college students in full-time education spend more hours on paid work per week compared to students in post-secondary vocational education. 55 per cent of full-time students with a job state that they work to cover necessary expenses for food and housing. As many as 8 out of 10 students in post-secondary vocational education with a job have a study-relevant job. Summer jobs are most common among the youngest students.

Nearly 9 out of 10 part-time students have earned income as their most important source of income. Among full-time students, the majority state that Lånekassen is their main source of income (63 per cent). 8 out of 10 full-time students receive loans and/or scholarships from Lånekassen, the same applies to 3 out of 10 part-time students. 2 out of 10 full-time students receive money from their parents. 47 per cent of the students cannot afford an unforeseen expense of NOK 20,000. Students post-secondary vocational education more often have payment problems compared to university and college students. Single students with children have the biggest payment problems.