With cuts to maintenance grants and student tuition fees on the rise, it can be a struggle to make ends meet. As the new university year approaches you should start to plan ahead financially as soon as possible. Make sure you have applied for student funding during your stay and:-
- Update your course and university details with Student Finance without delay. Once you’ve secured a place through clearing, remember to send through any supporting evidence.
- Don’t just assume your finances are sorted. If you haven’t received a confirmation letter from the finance company for a student loan, chase it up.
- If you’ve applied for finance online, send back the signed declaration form as soon as you receive it. This form will outline the terms and conditions of applying for student finance.
- Do remember that you won’t receive any finance until you register and physically attend a university.
- Draw up a budget and decide what your costs and income are likely to be.
- Make paying your rent a priority, more so than a night out on the town with friends.
Work out in advance before your university year begins, whether you’re going to need a part-time job or not to supplement your student income. Being strapped for cash will have a detrimental effect on yourself and your studies.
Learn to manage your money better
Learning to manage your money better will keep you out of trouble. It’s important to stay on top of your bills, rent, food and other costs so you can maximise the amount of money you’ve got. When it comes to costs, remember to include additional things like birthdays, Christmas presents and special occasions. If you do encounter any financial difficulties, it’s important to seek guidance and deal with the situation. There are lots of resources out there like:-
You can find your nearest adviser online or in student published magazines. The Government also offers money advice services for students in FE and HE.
If you’re in any doubt about your budget, the charity Brightside offers an online budgeting tool for students living and studying in England. For students outside the UK, there’s even an online budget calculator.
Make sure you get everything you’re entitled to
The student support system is a little complicated so it’s vital to make sure you’re not missing out. For your full entitlements check out funding online for higher education and further education or see an adviser in your university’s or college’s Student Union. You may be entitled to some benefits although this tends to depend on whether you’re a full-time or part-time student.
Remember to apply for your NUS Extra Card. This will make you eligible for discounts at many retailers and discounts for services such as mobiles, Broadband, subscriptions including memberships. Get to grips with your finances by using online apps too. Using a phone app can be a quick and easy way to save money. Here are a few to get you going:-
- Grant Fairy
- mySmall supermarket