Debt and Money

Most students have to cope with a very tight budget so it’s important to manage your money in order to avoid financial pressures affecting your study and enjoyment of university life. As there is little emergency support available to students, it helps if you can establish a realistic budget early in the year and stick to it.

 

View the booklet

 

QUICK LINKS

SETTING UP A BANK ACCOUNT

Managing your finances will centre around your bank account so make sure to compare the services available, not just the free giveaways!

FIVE TIPS

 

  1. Choose a bank or building society which is easy to access (e.g. near campus).

  2. Check whether it is worth transferring your home account to a university branch.

  3. Consider signing up for internet banking to access your statements at any time of day.

  4. Make sure that you understand the terms of any credit you are thinking of using.

  5. Don't rely on overdrafts as an additional source of income.

KNOWING YOUR INCOME

FIVE WAYS TO INCREASE YOUR INCOME:

 

  • Apply for your full student support entitlement. Your Advice Centre can help check that you are in receipt of all the Student Support you are entitled to.

  • Apply to the University's Access to Learning Fund. (A non-repayable award for students in dire financial hardship).

  • Claim a rebate if you have overpaid Income Tax. Visit www.hmrc.gov.uk/incometax

  • Check your eligibility for benefits if you have children, are disabled or over 60.

  • Apply to charitable trusts for an award. Details are available at your Advice Centre and reference libraries.

THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW

 

  • How much money you are guaranteed to receive

  • When and how your money will be paid

  • Deadlines for making claims

  • The rules for grant, loan and benefit entitlement

MANAGING YOUR OUTGOINGS

FIVE WAYS TO CUT YOUR COSTS

 

  1. Re-negotiate debt and credit card repayments to manageable amounts. In some cases interest charges can be frozen - seek guidance from your Advice Centre.

  2. Check all bills carefully. If you receive an estimated fuel bill, compare it with the actual meter reading. If the estimate is low or high you can ask to have the bill adjusted.

  3. Find out about money saving schemes available to students, eg discounts on goods, entertainment and travel.

  4. Avoid paying a summer retainer on your accommodation, either by negotiating with the landlord or by securing your accommodation in late August/September.

  5. Book travel home well in advance to get cheaper fares.

COSTS TO KEEP IN MIND

 

  • Regular outgoings for term-time and the holidays

  • Lifestyle costs such as clothes and entertainment

  • Small costs for unforeseen costs and emergencies

  • Irregular costs such as dissertation binding and field trips

BALANCING YOUR BUDGET

 

  • Put money for essentials aside (rent, bills etc.) before spending on other items.

  • Treat money owed to the university as the utmost priority. You may not be allowed to enrol next year, or may have access to Moodle and the library cut off if you owe any money.

  • Consider paying your bills by monthly or fortnightly instalments.

  • Don't move out of your accommodation early without checking your legal position. You could be saddled with a large debt to your landlord.

  • Respond to letters from the bank promptly.

Managing your finances will centre around your bank account so make sure to compare the services available, not just the free giveaways!

Five tips

  1. Choose a bank or building society which is easy to access (e.g. near campus).

  2. Check whether it is worth transferring your home account to a university branch.

  3. Consider signing up for internet banking to access your statements at any time of day.

  4. Make sure that you understand the terms of any credit you are thinking of using.

  5. Don't rely on overdrafts as an additional source of income.

 

COPING WITH DEBTS

If you are already in debt or you anticipate debt problems in the future, it is important that you seek help as soon as possible. Your Advice Centre will be happy to help and can advise you on the options available. We offer a free debt management service and can help by negotiating manageable repayment plans with your creditors.

DEALING WITH DEBT STEP BY STEP

 

  1. Check that you actually owe the money. For example, does the electricity bill cover a period before you moved in or should Student Finance England be paying your tuition fees?

  2. Make sure you get full details of the money that is owed. How much, when from, estimate or actual. It is also important to look at your whole debt situation so do this for all of your debts.

  3. Work out what you can afford to pay. Like making a budget earlier, this involves listing your income and expenditure, however now you need to work from the position of “what is the least I need to spend” instead of “how much do I have to spend”.

  4. Determine the priority of your debt.