Unsurprisingly, finance is often a key concern for any potential university student, and it’s easy to get caught up in the stress of finding money to pay for tuition and course costs, accommodation and other living expenses. It’s also equally as easy to feel rich when the money does pour in at the start of term, and very broke at the end of it. Here are a few things to think about that will help you manage your money:
Student Bank Accounts
One of the key things you’ll need is the right student bank account. These special accounts often have interest free overdrafts, structured increases in overdrafts to help manage your money, and student credit cards, with special rates and discounts. Many banks also offer added incentives to students as well, which can include travel cards, cash, travel insurance, free music downloads, and discounts on AA and Youth Hostel Association membership. Although these added extras are very nice, don’t let them sway your decision about where to bank too much: the fine print on your account is much more important.
Although the funding system for students has changed a lot in recent years, it may still be possible to get a grant if you’re a part time of full time student. Full time students can apply for a Maintenance Grant or Special Support Grant to help with living expenses. For part time students, there’s a Fee’s Grant which could cover tuitions fees, and a Course Grant to help with study costs, travel, books and materials.
For more information look up Student Finance England, or visit the student finance section on the Direct Gov website.
Student loans are the most common way of financing study through university. If you’re a full time student you can apply for Tuition Fee Loans and Maintenance Loans, while part time students have the option of a Tuition Fee Loan or Professional Career Development Loan. The amounts you can get will depend on where you live, when you start your course, your household income, and what other help you may be entitled to. Student loans will accrue interest from the day they were taken out, but are paid back when you finish your course and your income reaches a set level.
For more information on loans, look up The Student Loans Company, a public sector body that administers all student loans.
Although university can be a busy time, taking on a part-time or summer job can be a useful way of increasing your income while studying. Many universities also employ students in their bars and sports centres, to help with open days, or in other jobs around campus.