Managing your money

Whether this is the first time that you have been in charge of managing your own money or you have been doing so for years it is still a challenge to do so on a student budget and living in London. Staying on top of your money is important part of making sure that you enjoy rather than endure the student experience.  On these pages we have included some information that you may find useful in managing your finances.

Having a plan or guide to manage your money can be a great help in staying in control of your spending this video clip has useful information.  You can also read about some budgeting tips here or you could have a look at some apps to help you with keeping track of your finance from PostGrad.com and Save The Student. 

Fees and Funding

Student Finance England state that qualifying for student finance will in part, depend on:

  • Whether you have studied a higher education course before
  • your nationality or residency status

To see the full list of conditions click here. If you do qualify you will be able to get financial support such as a tuition fee loan, maintenance loan and or grant as well as other support for example Parents Learning Allowance.

Tuition Fee Loans pay for your course at University, the loans are available to most Home students and some EU students. The maximum amount available to full time students is £9,000 per year the figure is up to £6,750 for students studying part time.

These amounts represent the costs of most full and part time courses in the UK. The payment is made directly to your University and covers the cost of the tuition which includes lectures, library and IT access, career advice and other internal services provided at the University. However, the loan will not cover additional costs which you might need to help you with your course such as laptops and course equipment. 

As it is a loan you will have to pay back the money however, you will not have to start paying it back until you have graduated from University and earn over 21,000 per year.

Let’s do the Maths! Assuming you are earning 25,000 per year you will only need to pay £30 a month this is calculated as 9% of the amount you borrowed over £21,000. To get an idea of your monthly repayments try using the student finance calculator at https://www.gov.uk/student-finance-calculator.

You can apply for a maintenance loan at the same time as the Tuition Fee Loan.  If your application is successful you should get your maintenance loan at the start of each term. This loan is for general help with living costs and day to day expenses during term time. You cannot apply if you are a Part-time student, EU student or aged over 60.  Up to £5,740 is available depending on your household income and whether or not you live at home or in London. As this is a loan the amount that you borrow will have to be repaid but not until your income is over £21,000 a year.
The Maintenance Grant provides financial help to students with living costs whilst at University. Up to £3,387 is available however, the higher the Maintenance Grant that a student receives will lower the amount of Maintenance Loan that they can get.
The Special Support Grant is for students who have extra requirements for example if you are a student with disabilities or you are lone parent. The grant provides help to students to cover living expenses. The maximum amount available is £3,387 which is equivalent to the amount available from the Maintenance Grant.

However, a student’s entitlement to the Special Support Grant does not reduce the amount of they can get as a Maintenance Loan.  As this is a grant it is doesn’t have to be repaid.

You may be able to claim if:

  • You are a full time student undergraduate student (doesn’t include NHS-funded courses).
  • You are a lone parent
  • You have a disability
  • You have been incapable of work for a continuous period of at least 28 weeks
  • You had to leave a course temporarily because you were ill or had to care for someone, and you are now waiting to go back to it
  • You are aged 60 or older

Apply online as soon as possible via the Student Finance England website: https://www.gov.uk/apply-online-for-student-finance/ alternatively you download a paper form and send it to:

Student Finance England

PO Box 210

Darlington

DL1 9HJ  

If you are a full-time student at University with an adult that is dependent on you can apply for a grant called the Adult Dependents’ Grant. The maximum Adult Dependents’ Grant is £2,757 a year. The good news is that you will not have to pay this money back. How much you can claim will depend on your personal circumstances e.g. if you are married or have dependent children. You can’t get Adult Dependents’ Grant if the dependent adult is also studying and getting student finance or if the adult has a net annual income of more than £3,796.

There are also rules on who can be classed as an adult dependent for example, an adult dependent can be a family member such as a husband and wife if you are unmarried your partner will classed as an adult dependent only if you’re over 25.

Parents’ Learning Allowance

Depending on your household income, you can get up to £1,573 a year for course related expenses by claiming Parents Learning Allowance. To qualify for this allowance you must be a student on a full-time undergraduate course of study, you can also claim if you are on an Initial Teacher Training (ITT) programme. 

The amount of the grant that you can receive will depend on your income and the income of your partner. The allowance is for students that have dependent children. It is paid on top of other student finance and doesn’t have to be paid back.  The income that you receive from this allowance will not be taken into account by Job Centre Plus or by HM Revenue & Customs when assessing your entitlement to tax credits.

You can find out more and apply for the allowance or Adult Dependent Grant here.

The University provides additional funding called the Westminster Additional Grants Scheme you can get more information on all of this here.

There are also a number of scholarships provided by the University find out more here.

There are lots of charitable organisations that help students in financial difficulties one example is a charity called turn2us.