By Rachel A Leighton, on 19 September 2012
The BIG Picture
With recent changes to the Student Finance system there have been lots of myths, rumours and misconceptions bouncing around about the cost of going to university. Here are some key points to keep in mind:
- You don’t have to pay for anything up front. All UK students are eligible for a loan to pay both their living costs and their tuition fees, regardless of what their parents earn. If your parents earn below a certain amount, you will also be eligible for a grant, this comes in the same package as the loan, but you don’t have to pay it back.
- You don’t have to pay back your loan straight away. Under the new system no student has to pay back their anything until they are earning above £21,000 a year.
- After 30 years any left over debt is written off. You stop owing when you’ve cleared the debt or when 30 years have passed, whichever comes first. If you never get a job earning over the threshold, you’ll never have to repay anything.
- What you repay depends on what you earn. If you earn just above £21,000 then you will repay a very small amount each month, if you earn a lot more than this then the amount you repay will be larger.
- What you pay back each month will be the same regardless of what your tuition fee was. This is because what you pay back each month is linked to what you earn NOT what you borrowed.
Martin Lewis (of ‘money saving expert’ fame) has loads of useful and (easy to understand) information about student finance on his website. For some great guides and tips go to www.moneysavingexpert.com/students
Also have a look at Student Finance England for information about how to apply for financial support.
Financial Support from UCL
As discussed above, all UK students are eligible for support with living costs in the form of grants and loans. However, many universities also provide additional financial support on top of this, as does UCL:
- UCL Undergraduate Bursary All full-time UK students whose assessed household income is £42,600 or less, are eligible to receive a UCL Undergraduate Bursary.
- UCL Scholarships, Prizes and Awards UCL offers a number of scholarships, some attached to particular departments and some open to all. For full details of these please see www.ucl.ac.uk/study/scholarships.
Fore more information on the different types of funding available to UCL students click here.
Make your £ go further!
Our top tips to make your precious cash go further when you’re studying:
- Make ‘Do you do student discount?’ your catchphrase.
- Take advantage of BOGOFs. You can even split the deal with a friend.
- Cook your own meals with housemates. Combining ingredients is cheaper than buying lots of little bits and definitely cheaper than eating out or getting takeaways!
- Try being a vegetarian for some days of the week.
- Try rummaging through charity shops for bargain deals rather than buying everything brand new.
- Go running outside instead of joining a gym.
- You can get a large range of DVDs from the UCL library for free!
- University IT departments often offer students discounted computer software.
- Buy textbooks second-hand and sell your old ones.
- Walk or get a bike and save on travel.
- Get a Student Oyster card and save 30 per cent against the price of adult rate Travelcards and Bus & Tram Passes.
Earning while Studying
Working while you study not only gives you some extra cash but also gives you work experience and shows future employers that you can manage your time effectively. Here are some of our ideas for working while you study:
- Be an on campus ‘brand manager’ for a company.
- Work as a student ambassador.
- Do admin work for university departments.
- Work in university shops, bars, and gyms.
- Full time work during summer holidays.
- Find a paid internship through your university careers service.
- Save up BEFORE you come to university.
For loads more information about Student Finance at UCL please see our website.