Degreekey Blog

How to Prepare yourself Financially for University

Eliza Mahoney
October 16, 2020
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Let’s be honest - uni is expensive. With the fees themselves coming in at a hefty £9250 per year alone, the idea of having to pay for rent and maintenance costs on top of this can be daunting. However, there are many loans, bursaries, scholarships, and grants in place to help you cover all the various costs of going to university. This blog highlights four of the main ways that you can access financial help to support you through your time at university.


Student Finance Loans


The main source of financial support you will receive during your time at university will be through the Student Loans Company (SLC), a government funded public body. By applying through their website, you can access up to £9250 for every year of your undergraduate study which is paid directly to your university. It’s really easy to do and is pretty much hassle free!


All undergraduate students are also eligible for maintenance loans which are funded through the same body. The amount you receive varies depending on your household income and where you’ll be living throughout the academic year but can reach a maximum of £12,010 if you’re living away from home, in London. You can check out the student finance calculator on the government website to see how much you’re eligible for.


Bursaries, Grants, and Scholarships


Depending on what university you go to, there will be a variety of financial support packages that are available for students who require additional financial support. 


A bursary is a form of financial support that does not need paying back and is usually based upon financial circumstances. 


A scholarship is a form of non-repayable financial support which is given to an individual as recognition for their outstanding achievement in a particular activity, whether academic or extra-curricular. 


Each university has their own system of bursaries and scholarships in place so if this is something that you think would be beneficial to you, it is definitely worth checking out their websites.


Part-Time and Summer Jobs


Most students, at some point in their academic career, will take on a part-time or summer job. Whether it’s working in a cafe during your holidays or doing some online tutoring during term time, having a job on the side is a great way of boosting your income. 


Of course, taking on a part-time job is a major commitment so it is worth considering whether you can manage this additional commitment on top of your academic commitments. Consideration should not only be given to the amount of time you have, but also to your mental health and general wellbeing. Extra money should not be at the expense of your mental health so make sure you carefully consider how much you can take on. 


Summer, however, is a great time to earn a lump of money! It will be your longest holiday of the year so when you’re not out enjoying the sun or going on holiday, taking on a summer job is a great idea. And they don’t have to be dull! Many students choose to work on summer camps so that they can also have a great experience while earning good money. 


Let’s not forget that these part-time and summer jobs are also great for your CV!


Budget, budget, budget!


Once you have all the financial support that you are eligible for, it’s time to budget! It is always exciting going to university for the first time with your own money so there is the temptation to blow a large sum of it straight away. However, end-of-term-you won’t thank you for spending £70 in your first night at Wetherspoons and £100 on Asos orders when you’re living off beans on toast for the last two weeks of term. 


The best thing to do is to split your termly allowance into a week-by-week budget so you know how much money you have to spend each week. You can then split this into how much you will need for bills, rent, and food costs. It may seem boring, but social activities should be the last priority in your budget (though they are, of course, somewhat essential to your uni experience!)


Be considerate of others


Remember that when you’re at uni, there will be people from all different types of backgrounds so always be respectful of the fact that others may not have the same budget as you. 


Why not check out Degree Key for more blogs, reviews, and insights into university life? It’s completely free to use, so make your account now!

about the author

Eliza Mahoney

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Eliza Mahoney

Eliza is in her third year at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, where she is reading English. This year she has taken optional papers in the Victorian period (1847-1872) and in visual culture (art, photography and film). Her first dissertation centred around beginnings in the prose of Stevie Smith, and her final dissertation explored the relationship between dance and literature, focusing on Charlotte Brontë's 'Jane Eyre'. She is a Full Blue in dance and spent this year as the captain of the Cambridge Dance Team - she has danced for 19 years! Eliza has been accepted to study for a PGCE in Primary Education at Cambridge and looks forward to returning for her fourth year in September.

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