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Residential Life

Financial support for students

By Adrian 15 Feb 2023

In today's world, the cost of living can be a significant financial burden for many students. With rising costs throughout the entire economy, it's no wonder that many students struggle to make ends meet. Fortunately, there are various financial aid and support options available that can help alleviate some of the financial pressure. Whether you're a first-year student or a seasoned veteran, this article will point you in the right direction to navigate the financial challenges of university life.

UCAS provides a good summary in their Top ten student money tips.

MoneyHelper: Student and graduate money is a helpful resource published by the UK government .

Money Saving Expert is a highly regarded UK source of helpful advice about managing your money. Their 10 Money Saving tips for uni are worth a read!

AccessHE and the Office for Students produced this excellent Student Cost of Living Guide. 

In a nutshell: managing your money at uni

  1. Create a budget: Set a realistic budget that covers all your essential expenses, such as tuition fees, accommodation, food, transportation, and textbooks. Make sure to include any income you have from a part-time job, scholarships, or other sources.
  2. Minimise unnecessary spending: Identify areas where you can cut back on spending, such as entertainment, dining out, or non-essential items. Try to find cheaper alternatives or reduce the frequency of these expenses to save more money.
  3. Look for scholarships and financial aid: Check with your university's financial aid office or search for external scholarships that can help cover some of your expenses. Apply for as many scholarships and bursaries as you can to increase your chances of receiving funding. Later on in this article, we share information about the University of London hardship grant and also grants, scholarships, and bursaries that may be available from the university where you study.
  4. Take advantage of student discounts: Many retailers, restaurants, and entertainment venues offer student discounts. Always ask if there is a discount available, and be sure to show your student ID to take advantage of these savings.
  5. Find a part-time job: Consider finding a part-time job to supplement your income. Look for work-study programs or on-campus job opportunities that can provide a flexible schedule and allow you to balance work with your studies. Alternatively, look for part-time work off-campus that can fit your schedule and provide valuable work experience.
  6. Ask for help from a financial advisor or the student support team at your university if you are struggling, or get in touch with one of the local and national support services listed further on in this article.

Budgeting is key

Budgeting is crucial because it helps you manage your finances effectively and avoid unnecessary financial stress. Without proper budgeting, it's easy to overspend or accumulate debt, which can negatively impact academic performance and mental health. A budget helps you plan and prioritise you spending, identify areas where you can cut back, and save for future expenses. By developing good budgeting habits, you can not only achieve financial stability during your time at university but also establish healthy financial practices that will serve you well beyond your academic years.

If you decide to apply for hardship funding from your university, or some other types of financial help, it's quite likely that you will be asked to submit your written budget plan along with your application. 

This article at Save the Student is really helpful: How to budget at university

Getting financial help

Most universities have student financial advisers as part of their student support team. Some students' unions also offer money advice. Check out what is available at your university.

Local and national services

Citizens Advice can help with money and debt issues. As well as a very informative web site, they have local offices where you can meet with an adviser. Find your local Citizens Advice or call their Debt helpline on 0800 240 4420.  

If you're in debt and it's causing you stress and difficulties, you can get advice from National Debtline. You can phone them to speak with an impartial advisor, use their online Digital Advice Tool, or web chat.  

Paying university fees

If you're struggling to pay your tuition or accommodation fees for university, talk with the finance team to see if you can agree a different plan of instalments that could be more manageable. Depending on your circumstances, this may not always be possible, but there is no harm in asking and it could prove to be really helpful. 

To discuss your Intercollegiate Halls accommodation payment plan, you can contact

University of London hardship fund

The University of London recognises that some students are experiencing financial hardship at unprecedented levels. A fund has been established to assist providing discretionary financial assistance for students who are:

  • studying via distance or flexible learning with University of London Worldwide; or
  • studying at the School of Advanced Study; or
  • studying at the University of London Institute in Paris.

Click here to find out more about the hardship fund. 

Funding from your university

As a student at one of the University of London federal member institutions, you may be eligible to receive hardship funding or other grants and bursaries from your university. Below is a list of links to the relevant pages at each university's website.

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Adrian is a medical doctor, the Student Health & Wellbeing Manager at the University of London and the Warden of Connaught Hall, where he has lived for more than 25 years.
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