Our advisers are on hand to help you with Budgeting and Financial Management, Hardship Funds, and Student Finance. It is always important to identify these type of financial issues as early as possible and to seek advice at the earliest opportunity.
Many students face financial difficulties while they are at University so careful budgeting is essential to avoid running out of money and getting into debt.
If you are entitled to Student Finance England funding then please be aware that these payments are paid termly and not monthly so making sure that the money you receive lasts for the period needed is really important.
It is very likely that your student support will not be enough to cover your essential living costs so you may need to consider income from other sources such as part-time work, savings, parents, hardship funds, etc.
The first step to understanding your financial situation is to work out a budget. This way you can clearly see what income you have coming in and can then look at your expenditure and understand where your money is being spent. Your priorities should focus primarily on rent, utility bills (if not covered via your tenancy agreement), food, travel, and course costs (like books, photocopying, course excursions, etc).
It is always important to work out the costs of your priority outgoings so that you know how much money you have left to spend on more interesting things! A good starting point for this would be to work out your budget in advance and there are a couple of good budgeting calculators you can use via ThisisMoney and Which?.
Some further basic tips on your finance are:
- Consider opening a Student Bank Account as these normally can offer you an interest free overdraft which can come in handy and may also offer you other freebies
- Unless you are confident of paying off the balance in full every month DON'T get a Store Card or Credit Card
- If you are an undergraduate student make sure that you are claiming your full Student Finance England funding.
- If you are a postgraduate student make sure that you have identified all funding avenues open to you.
- View the Which? website for some good independent advice on your finances and funding.
- If you are still in financial difficulty then seek further advice from us as to what other avenues can be considered
Each University will normally have hardship funds that you can apply for if you are in financial difficulty or have an emergency situation. These may be in the form of grants (non-repayable) or loans (repayable) and we would strongly urge you to speak to an adviser if you are in hardship of feel that you will be at some stage.
The main hardship funds that the Universities have is the Access to Learning Fund (ALF) and University of Greenwich students wishing to apply for this or find out more information should contact their Medway Student Centre and University of Kent students should visit the Advice Contact Us page to arrange to speak to an adviser as we deal with their applications directly.
It is always best to face your financial concerns at the earliest opportunity so that advice can be given quickly and so that you have the best opportunity to deal with the problem and find adequate solutions.
Your eligibility for funding via Student Finance England (SFE) can depend on a wide range of factors like your nationality, how long you have lived in England, your immigration status, etc. A detailed list of the eligibility categories can be found via the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA).
If you are eligible for SFE funding then determining what level of funding and what products you are entitled to claim will depend on a range of factors like your own personal circumstances, you/your financial sponsors income (whether this be a partner or parent), the type of course you are doing, where you are studying, any previous funding you have received, whether you have children, etc.
Students starting in 2019/20 can view a short video below helping explain the SFE funding options:
New students can also view a short video from SFE helping explain their application process:
If you are a Home/EU undergraduate student then you can access the Student Finance England website to see whether you are eligible and what funding is available. They also have a Student Finance Calculator that can estimate the funds you may be eligible to apply for.
Likewise if you are a postgraduate student then you can access the same site which will go through all avenues you can consider to help fund your course and study.
As well as SFE funding your university may also have a range of bursaries/scholarships available. Your eligibility for these will depend on a wide range of factors. If you are a University of Kent student you can check your eligibility for these here and here and University of Greenwich students here.