For a lot of us, university is the first time that we fully manage our own money. This can be a daunting and overwhelming experience for many. Here at Melanin Medics we are not financial advisors but we can help you start to think about what you need to consider when funding life at university.
Firstly, it is important to understand what you are entitled to. This can be a bit complicated as what you are entitled to and who funds this can depend on a multitude of factors, such as where you live and where your university is. For example, for a first time university student who has been living in England and has chosen to study in England, the key sources to know about are:
The Student Loans Company (who administer Student Finance England)
There are different organisations operating in the other devolved nations including Student Finance Wales, Student Finance NI, and the Student Awards Agency for Scotland. The British Medical Association has a good summary on what is on offer in different parts of the UK here.
In England, the Student Loans Company can provide you with a loan to cover your tuition fees (up to £9250) and a maintenance loan to help with living costs. The amount of maintenance loan that you are eligible for depends on criteria such as having dependants or the location of your university. For example, those studying in London tend to be offered a higher maintenance loan. It is also important to note that part of the maintenance loan is means-tested. This means that how much you receive is partly dependent on your household income. For a large number of you, household income will equate to your parents’ total salary.
The amount borrowed to finance university will need to be paid back, but only once you have finished your course and are earning above a certain amount. For a comprehensive guide to student finance, check out this guide here. Additionally, the Student Loans Company is hosting its annual Student Money Week from 1st to 5th March with a host of online interactive events where you can ask questions directly to those that will be processing your applications for funding.