Going to university and therefore leaving home for the first time can be a daunting experience. Not only have you got to become acclimatised to living with a whole new set of people and learning your way around a new town or city, you also have to worry about how you’re going to pay for it all. This is not to mention the fact you have to learn do your own washing and cleaning! So how can you fund your time at university? There are a number of ways to do this, and this guide will give you an overview of them all.
Student loans are paid by the government and are designed to cover your tuition fees, which are charges by the university. Another part of the student loan is what used to be the maintenance grant. At the time of writing this has just been announced, and we do not know yet whether the new ‘maintenance loan’ will simply tag on to the existing student loan, or whether it will come with a separate repayment term.
How Do I Apply?
You can apply for student loans online at https://www.gov.uk/apply-online-for-student-finance and the forms to apply via post can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/student-finance-forms. Please note that paper forms may take longer to be processed due to the time it takes for them to be posted, as often the forms go through various stages of checks in different places before it can be approved.
When Do I Have To Pay It Back?
If you’re getting a student loan after 2012, then you won’t have to pay your student loan back until you are earning £21,000 per year or over. At this point, you’ll pay 9% of anything you earn over that threshold. This way, your earnings are barely affected and you won’t find that student loan payments are too crippling. Once you’ve had the loan for 30 years, it will be written off.
How Much Will I Get?
Student loans will pay your tuition fees, which in many universities is up to £9,000 per year (this may be more for certain courses such as veterinary sciences, architecture, or medicine). The money you live on (previously the maintenance grant, which has at the time of writing been replaced with a maintenance loan) was means tested, which meant that if your parent(s) or guardian(s) earned under a certain amount, you would be entitled to more. It’s not yet known if this will continue under the new system.
Scholarships & Bursaries
Scholarships and bursaries are when a college, business or benefactor pays your tuition fees for you. You may have to work very hard to hit certain grades in order for them to keep paying for your studying, and it’s likely that you’ll take a job with or associated with the entity who paid your fees for you once you graduate. This can be a great way to get a job in a certain field if you know exactly what you want to do already, so search around.
When moving from school to college, always consider carefully which college you’d like to attend (if you have a choice). Do your research to see if any of them are offering scholarships, and in what subject. If any of them really interest you, you may have to decide between going with your friends and pursuing the career of your dreams. You can find scholarships by organisation here: http://www.scholarship-search.org.uk/funding/organisation-funding-browse/16180339.html.
If you have some training in a field of study already or you know exactly what you want to do, then searching for scholarships by subject could save you a lot of time. You may need to fit certain criteria and could have a lot of competition when going for the grant, so be prepared for this as much as you can. You can search for scholarships by subject here: http://www.scholarship-search.org.uk/funding/subject-funding-browse/16180339.html
While you’re studying you will have a lot of free time. This is meant to be used studying and writing assignments and dissertations, but you will probably have considerably more time than you think (unless you’re doing a particularly extensive course, such as physics & mathematics). Due to this, many students have the time to take on money through other means.
Part Time Work
Taking on some part-time work while you’re studying is something which many students do in order to get more money to play with, even if it’s simply to buy more study books. It’s important when looking for a job to find one which you’ll enjoy, which can work around your lectures and which won’t take up so much of your time that you won’t be able to complete assignments. Check your university’s job office for student-friendly work.
Blogging & Reviewing
You can make a surprising amount of money monetising your blog or YouTube channel, and there’s even money to be made if you have a lot of followers on a social media platform like Tumblr or Pinterest. Reviewing items (and therefore getting them for free) is something which many bloggers do, as well as adding advertising to their pages in order to collect a share of the revenue. If you have a blog which gets a decent amount of traffic, keep cultivating it and reaching out to others – you’ll be more likely to make money from your site if you’re an active, commenting member of your particular blog community.
Selling Unwanted Goods
Although it’s not a steady job, per se, selling unwanted items on eBay or Gumtree can bring you a decent amount of cash, especially if you know how to market items and the best time to sell them. You could offer to take unwanted items off the hands of your housemates and friends at the end of the university year and sell them on for a profit. Often, a lot is simply thrown away by students transitioning between university halls, rented houses and their family homes, so there’s an opportunity here to make some extra cash relatively easily.
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