Cost of University
There is no denying that University can be an expensive time of your life. Unfortunately many will be put off by this and may feel that they simply cannot afford it. It is therefore worth remembering that there is help available via a number of different options.
What are the biggest costs?
You will generally find that the biggest costs you will have are tuition fees, accommodation and living expenses. The exact costs will vary between Universities and from year to year but you can find these out by contacting the institutions or looking in the prospectus. In the main you will find that University accommodation is the cheapest way of living. Often bills and food will be included in the payment that you make.
Of course, there are also big expenses such as course material, food and bills, if you live out of halls, and going out. It is therefore a wise idea to try and stick to a budget and make sure that you pay your rent and bills first so you know how much you have left.
What help is available?
If you feel that you will struggle to meet these costs then you may be eligible for a student loan. However keep in mind that this will need to be repaid once you have finished your course and are earning over £15,000. This is often the way that the majority of students will fund their education and some may also rely on the help of their parents.
For those poorer students, many Universities now also offer bursaries, scholarships and there are Government grants available for those who require this. These days it is not uncommon for students to take a part-time job during term time to help earn money pay towards their university costs and to provide some spending money for hobbies. Students will also often work during the holidays too for the same reasons.
Back to Top
Avoiding Student Debt
For those wanting to enter into further education, it is not only the grades you need to think about but also how you will finance it. Many students are often put off furthering their education at the thought of getting into debt. However, having some amount of debt is often a part of student life but there are ways that you can limit it if you are careful.
Be sure to get a range of quotes when you take out insurance to make sure that you get the best rate possible. This could help save you quite a bit of money. Be careful not to over-borrow; try to work out the amount of money you will need and do not be tempted to borrow more as you will still have to pay it back at a later date!
One of the biggest expenses can often be course material. The text books you need are often very expensive so it can be worth looking in second hand bookshops first. You will also find that many students who are graduating will be looking to sell their old books and you could save quite a bit of money this way, so keep an eye out on your department notice board. When you go to the supermarket make sure that you look out for special offers and buy in bulk to reduce your bills.
Remember that as a student there will be a number of discounts in shops etc available to you with your student card, which can help save you some money.
Tips for avoiding debt
An increasing number of students are now finding that a part time job can really help their finances. If you currently work for a large chain then you may find that you can get a transfer to a branch in the area you will be moving to. However it is important to remember that your work should not interfere with your education in any way. Unfortunately, this may not be possible for everyone as some courses take up considerably more time then others.
A number of Universities can offer bursaries to those most in need so it can be worth applying for one if you think you may be eligible. Make sure that the first thing you prioritise is paying your rent so that you can try and budget the remaining money on the less important things. If you do not choose to live in halls then be aware that you do not have to pay council tax unless another person in the house is not a student. Living in halls is often the cheapest option when you are at University as food and bills are usually all included.
Lastly, and probably most importantly, make sure that you are careful with how you spend your money and prioritise the things that you spend it on.
Back to Top
Government Support for Education
Deciding to enter into full- or part-time further education can be a big decision. Not least because of the amount of money it can take to fund your course. It is not uncommon for many to be put off by these costs and to decide not to go down this path. However, it is important to be aware of the Government support for education that is available.
Support for Full Time Education
For those that choose full-time education the government provides student loans and grants if you are eligible. The aim of these is to help pay for tuition fees, accommodation and living costs for those who could not otherwise afford them.
The amount of your student loan will depend upon the income of your household. It is important to remember that a student loan will have to be paid back once you have finished your course and are earning more then £15,000.
Grants such as a Maintenance Grant and a Special Support Grant are also available for those eligible. Even if you cannot obtain a full grant you may well find that you can have a partial grant. It is worth noting that these do not have to be repaid. There is also further help available for those who may have a disability or learning problems and for those with certain mental health conditions. Of course if you still feel that you will struggle financially then you may be able to get a bursary or scholarship from your University.
Support for Part-Time Students
The amount of help that is available for those in part-time education does differ slightly to those in full-time. You will find that the main type of financial help offered to you comes in the form of Fee Grants and Course Grants. However, similarly to above the amount that you will receive will not be the same for every student. The amount of income in your household will be taken into consideration as well as your personal circumstances. If you have any special needs, a disability, learning difficulty or mental health condition then you may be able to obtain additional help.
Back to Top
Repaying student debt
Further education can be a very expensive but worthwhile decision. Many people are often put off at the horror stories regarding tuition fees and the money needed for living and accommodation. The exact amount that you will owe for your education will depend on a number of different factors. Universities and colleges will all charge varying rates for their tuition fees and of course the area that you decide to move to will largely influence the cost of living.
The amount you will owe will also depend upon how well you can manage your own finances and keep a check on your spending. Many students choose to work part-time during the term and full-time in holidays to help pay for their courses and provide an income. For those poorer students there are also the options of bursaries, scholarships and maintenance grants if they prove to be eligible. The benefit of these is that they do not have to be paid back. However, some students are forced to rely upon a student loan to see them through their education and this is one of the biggest debts that you will have once you complete your course. The amount that you can borrow will depend upon you course and the income from your household.
How much will I owe?
This will ultimately depend upon the amount that you had to borrow to complete your studies. Some students may not need to borrow as much as others as they may be able to receive help from their family or find work. However, for some they may not have wealthy parents and some courses are often too intense to allow for a part-time job. Some students may find that they leave University with debts between £8,000-£10,000. It is not uncommon for some students to find that they need to take out a personal loan and this will, of course, further add to the amount you owe.
If you decide to rely on a student loan then you will find that you do not begin paying this back until you have completed your education and earn more then £15,000 a year. You will then pay back 9 per cent of your earnings to the student loans company.
Back to Top