A-Z of Money Matters

You might encounter some terms you're not familiar with in your attempt to prepare for uni. Here's an A - Z of student finance, funding and money matters providing useful definitions, information and answers to some common questions. 


Adult Dependants' Grant

This grant is available via Student Finance England to students who have an adult who depends on them financially (the adult cannot be any of your children). he amount of Adult Dependants’ Grant you can receive depends on your income and your dependants (including your husband, wife or partner). You can get up to £3,094 a year.


We offer our students appointments with the Student Support team to help with money matters.



Most full-time students are not entitled to income-related benefits. However certain groups (including single parents, student couples with dependent children and some disabled students) may be eligible for income-related benefits including Universal Credit and Housing Benefit. If you are eligible for benefits, the Department for Work and Pensions will take your some of your student loan entitlement into consideration when working out your entitlement. Contact the Student Support team's Student Finance Adviser for help with benefit issues. If you are claiming benefits and become a full time student it's vital that you report your change in circumstance as you could end up paying anything you've been paid back.


Blackbullion is an online resource to help students improve their money management skills and get confident with money. You can find out more here here


Care Leavers

We offer additional support for care experienced students, including checking student finance entitlement, help applying for alternative sources of funding and money management. For finance enquiries contact the Student Support team. Our Health-and-Wellbeing Team are also available to support Care Leavers during their studies.

Counselling Service

We understand that money worries can impact upon general health and wellbeing. We offer a free and confidential appointment based service, provided by fully qualified members of the Mental Health & Wellbeing team.


A multi-faith team offering friendly support for students of all faiths or none. Find out more here.

Council tax

Full time students are exempt from paying Council tax. In you are living in private accommodation you'll need to provide evidence of this. You can usually obtain your Council Tax Exemption Certificate from your School Office or Faculty.

Childcare Grant

If you have dependent children you may be able to get help with your childcare costs whilst you are at university by applying for the childcare grant from Student Finance England.

Your childcare provider must be OFSTED registered. Depending on your household income you may receive up to 85% of your actual childcare costs during term times and holidays. Childcare grant is now paid directly to your childcare provider through an online system.

You can’t claim a Childcare Grant if you are in receipt of the Childcare Element of Working Tax Credit.

Child Benefit

Child Benefit is a tax-free payment that you can claim for your child. It is usually paid every four weeks but in some cases can be paid weekly. There are different rates for your first and subsequent children. Child Benefit is not affected by student status.

Child Tax Credit

It is not possible to make a new claim for Child Tax Credit, instead you should claim Universal Credit. If you have an existing claim you can continue to receive it until you have a change in circumstances. Child Tax Credit is not affected by student status.


Disabled Students’ Allowance

DSA can help to pay for extra costs you may have whilst studying as a direct result of a disability or specific learning difficulty. This can include items of specialist equipment, a non-medical helper and other disability-related expenditure. Students who receive an equipment award will be required to contribute £200 towards the cost, in some circumstances the hardship fund can help with this. Our Disability team can support students with enquiries about DSA.

Dependant Student

For the purposes of funding, Student Finance England will consider you a 'dependant student' if you are aged under 25, are not married or in a civil partnership, have no dependent children,

If you are a dependant student the income of your parent(s) will be assessed to determine the amount of maintenance loan funding you are entitled to, unless you choose to take only the basic maintenance loan amount. In this case household income is not taken into consideration.


The word ‘debt’ relates to overdue money you owe to a lender or creditor.

Debt issues can be complicated and cause worry and stress. We have specialist adviser who can work with students to resolve their debt issues.

Debt Management

The Student Support team offer debt management appointments and workshops to improve your financial capabilities. If you do have debts, anything from rent arrears to repayments on a credit card, we are able to negotiate repayments on your behalf with creditors, easing the worry for you.


Emergency funding

Most universities are able to offer emergency funding for those struggling financially. If you ever find yourself in a financial crisis which could affect your ability to engage with your studies or attend university please get in touch with the Student Support team. The team are experienced in dealing with financial emergencies and will offer support you in a non-judgemental and confidential way.


Estrangement is the term given to a student aged under 25 who lives independently and has no contact with their parents as the relationship has broken down irreconcilably. Estranged students may be able to claim independent status for student finance purposes.


Fees & Funding (Student Lifecycle Team)

BCU's Fees & Funding team are responsible for the university’s reporting to Student Finance England.


Gadget Insurance

We highly recommend that you take out appropriate insurance to cover your electronic equipment whilst you’re at university. BCU provides laptops to loan on campus, but if you’re dependent on your laptop to work from home on your assignments it’s useful to have insurance for if it breaks or develops a fault.


Health & Wellbeing

Life at university can be an exciting and enjoyable experience for many students; you may see it as a positive challenge which you feel well equipped to deal with, or you may need some support along the way. Our Mental Health & Wellbeing team are on hand to support you if needed.

Housing Benefit

Generally full-time students can’t claim benefits, however there are some exceptions. Students with dependent children living with them and those claiming certain disability benefits can claim. It’s important to remember that your student loan will affect your entitlement so please ensure you contact the appropriate authority to report your change in circumstances as soon as possible to minimise the risk of overpayment.


Independent Students

Students over the age of 25 on the start date of their course will automatically be classed as independent students. Students aged under 25 may be independent if they are;

married, or have dependent children, or are permanently estranged from their parents.

Income Tax

Whether or not you pay tax on your part-time job depends on how much you earn, not on the number of hours you work. The tax free personal allowance is currently £12,500 per year (April 2020).



We encourage students to work part-time whilst studying to boost income and gain experience for your CV.


Key Dates

It’s useful to note any key dates during the academic year that you need to remember such as semester start and end dates, assignment due dates and deadlines for applying for funding.


Loan sharks

Loan sharks are illegal lenders who target vulnerable people offering unaffordable lending. If you do need to borrow money check the lender is a reliable and legal source of lending. Always check the interest rate and how much you’ll be paying back in total.


Maintenance Loan

In addition to your Tuition Fee Loan, you may be able to receive a maintenance loan depending on eligibility criteria. If you didn’t request one when you started your course but would now like one you can make a request up to 9 months into each year of study.

The amount of maintenance loan available to you will depend on household income and where you are living whilst studying.


NHS Bursary

If you are on an ‘old style’ course which attracts NHS bursaries and grants, you may also be entitled to a non means tested basic maintenance loan from the Student Loans Company subject to eligibility requirements.

National Insurance Number

A National Insurance number is a unique number which records your National Insurance contributions. If you are a home student you should have automatically received your number around your sixteenth birthday. If you are an International Student and would like to work during your studies you will need to apply for one.

Notification of Entitlement

Once Student Finance England have received and assessed your application, they will issue you with a Notification of Entitlement document outlining the funding you are able to receive. This will be available via your online Student Finance account.



When you become a full-time student and open a student bank account you may be offered an interest free overdraft. Access to ‘free’ money can be tempting, but whilst it might be appealing remember that you will have to pay it back once you’ve finished your studies. If you do take a student overdraft try and keep it for emergencies only, or for your final year of study when you may need to work less and study more to achieve your maximum potential.


Parental Learning Allowance

The allowance can help with course-related costs if you have dependent children. You’ll need to apply for it as part of your student funding application.

The amount you receive depends on your income, the income of your husband, wife or partner (if you have one) and that of your dependants. The maximum available is £1,766 during 2020/21.

Previous Study

If you started but did not complete a university level course in the past, the support you can receive for any new course may be reduced.

If you could not complete the course because of compelling personal reasons (for example, you had to leave the course because of illness or caring responsibilities) you may be able to reinstate.

Part Time Students

You’re able to apply for student funding for part-time university level courses. Both tuition fee and maintenance loan support is available. The amount available to you will depend on your household income and intensity of study.


Repaying your student loan

From the April after you leave university you’ll start to repay 9% of any earnings above the earnings threshold for undergraduate student finance. Deductions will be made via payroll if you are employed.

Loan repayments run for a maximum of 30 years, after this any balance is written off. You can find out more about loan repayment here.


Student Finance England

Student Finance England provide financial support on behalf of the UK Government to students entering higher education in the UK.

Special Support Loan

Certain groups of students can get the Special Support Loan as part of their Student Finance payments. Special Support Loans are disregarded for benefits purposes. If you are eligible for this element it will show on your Notification of Entitlement document.


TV Licence

Just like everyone else, students must be covered by a TV Licence to watch or record television programmes as they're being shown on TV. This applies whether you live in halls of residence or a private shared house. If you live in halls of residence there may be a license that covers the communal area, however if you have a TV for your room, you will need a separate licence.

What you might not know is that television licensing law still applies to you no matter what method you use to watch television programmes. Whether you use a laptop, mobile phone or any other device that receives television programmes, by law, you need to be covered by a TV Licence. It costs £157.50 per year for a colour TV licence.

Tuition Fees

Most students use a tuition fee loan to cover the cost of their studies. However, you are able to pay them yourself if you want to.



If you’re renting private accommodation you’ll probably be responsible for paying utilities including; gas, electric, water and internet. Make sure you factor these costs in when you are working out if the property is affordable.


Zero balance

We know that sometimes, despite your best efforts, you might find yourself with a zero balance or maxed out overdraft. Our Student Support team are here to help and can offer specialist advice on managing your money. We might even be able to help you out in an emergency.

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