There are two main costs to consider when thinking about going to university: tuition fees and living costs. Living costs will include your day-to-day expenditure, alongside costs associated specifically with your studies, such as course books, photocopying costs, and travel to and from university.
Government support for tuition fees
For UK students there is no up front cost for university tuition fees. Government support is available for all eligible students for the full cost of the tuition fee, regardless of financial background. This is in the form of a tuition fee loan. You can choose to take out a partial loan, and pay some of your fees up front, or take no loan and pay all of your fees up front if preferred.
Government support for living costs
Government support for living costs is available to UK students in the form of a maintenance loan. The amount of maintenance loan you are entitled to will depend on your household income, and where you live during your studies.
Current levels of maintenance loans available from the government are available on the Student Finance websites. Select the website for your region:
- Student Finance England
- Student Finance Northern Ireland
- Student Awards Agency for Scotland
- Student Finance Wales
University of Manchester scholarships and bursaries (UK students)
At Manchester we want to admit the most talented students, regardless of background or ability to pay. The University is committed to providing support to students from lower and middle income households and has invested in a multi-million pound range of scholarships and bursaries. Full details are on our student finance website.
Repaying student loans
You will only start to pay back student loans once you have left university and are earning over the government threshold for repayment. The threshold is currently set at £21,000.
The amount you will repay each month is always related to what you are earning and not what you owe. Because of this, no matter how much money you borrow while you are at university your repayments will always remain affordable.
Repayments are made at the rate of 9% of any earnings over the threshold. For example, if a student leaves university and earns £25,000 a year, they will pay back 9% of £4,000 over the course of a year. This works out at £30 a month.
Any loans which remain outstanding after 30 years will be written off.
There are lots of way to make your student budget stretch that little bit further.
Over half of all students have a part time job to add valuable pounds to their student budget. You might be lucky enough to get a job that is directly related to your career plan, but whatever work you get it will improve your time management skills, team working and communication. Remember as well, that you get over three months off in the summer, so working full time over your summer holiday can really help for the next term.
Try and record what you spend your money on; write down everything you buy for a week or two and see where your money is going. If you’re spending lots of money on magazines, maybe you could start to read them online. If you’re spending money on packets of crisps or lunchtime snacks, then it is always cheaper to make a packed lunch and take it with you. If it’s a couple of quid here and there on bus fare or train fare, look into getting a weekly or termly pass, which is always the most economical option for regular users.
Living in a student city should mean that plenty of places offer student discount, so don’t forget to take your NUS student card with you everywhere you go and don’t be afraid to ask for your discount! Find out which hairdressers use student models for reduced prices and buy course books second hand; usually less than half the price of brand new ones.
Be sensible. You will need to prioritise what you spend your money on; paying the rent is more important than a new jacket. And avoid paying fines- not having a TV licence might seem like a great way to save money, but the fine for not having one can be £1000.
Make sure you spread your money evenly across the term. Work out at the start of the year how much you can afford to spend each week and stick to it; you’ll have to be disciplined. One way of doing this is to take the cash out on a Monday morning and make sure that money lasts you all week. You might find it easier to budget if you pay bills by installments, rather than being landed with a huge bill at the end of the year.
Finally, there is lots of advice available, so make the most of it. Your bank will be happy to talk to you about budgeting and how they can help with your finances, and there are often dedicated members of staff working within the Students’ Union who can help you.
If you do get into trouble financially, then seek help as soon as possible. At The University of Manchester we have a dedicated Money Advisor who will be able to help you.