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Finance benefits of being a uni student

Finance is one of the big issues when deciding to start a higher education course. You may be feeling anxious about your finances and wondering how you will manage to balance your tuition fees, living expenses and all the costs associated with going to university. You may be put off by terms like ‘loan’ and the associated debt that goes with being a student. However, it isn’t all bad. In fact, there is quite a lot of good. Here are some of the financial benefits of being a uni student.

Benefit one - It’s a loan, but not a loan

The most important thing you want to sort out before starting university is your student finance. You can apply for two loans from the government, one that will pay for your tuition fees and a maintenance loan to assist you with living costs.

Although student finance uses the term ‘loan’ it’s important to note that these are very different to traditional loans. They will not affect your future credit rating and therefore hold you back from mortgages or other future financial commitments. In fact, they’re more like a tax. You only start paying them back once you start earning over a certain amount. If you then go on to earn less than that amount your repayments pause. On top of this, once you do start repaying your loan your payments are taken directly from your wage so you don’t have to worry about going through third parties to pay.

The quickest and easiest way to apply is online. Apply as soon as the application service opens to make sure you have your money sorted for the start of your course. If your application is late, your money might be too. So don't wait to apply; use your preferred choice of course and you can change the details online later if you need to.

Benefit two - Free money?

Nearly all universities offer an array of ‘scholarships’ and ‘bursaries’. These are schemes that you give additional financial support with your studies. However, unlike student finance, these are payments that you don’t have to repay! Scholarships and bursaries have different requirements that you will need to meet in order to get hold of one of these payments. You could receive one for meeting entry requirements if you come from certain backgrounds or areas, some you can enter like a competition and others are given to students for simply turning up to uni.

Scholarships tend to be based on achievements and your grades, whereas bursaries can be given out depending on your current living circumstances. When you’re applying for courses it’s always worth seeing what possibilities there are.

Benefit three - A student bank account and all the perks that come with it

Before you start university it's recommended that you open a student bank account, these bank accounts are made especially for those in higher education. They operate similarly to a current account and come with many great benefits. These include 0% interest on overdrafts, freebies such as railcards, free access to Amazon Prime and other discounts that could help you get hold of needed textbooks or just have a cheap meal out.

There are many options to choose from, and at first, it may be a daunting task, thankfully there are useful websites such as Money Saving Expert that break down the best student bank accounts on the market.

To be accepted for a student bank account you'll need a UCAS confirmation letter with an unconditional offer or, if your offer's conditional, A-Level results that meet that condition and a letter from the university you'll be attending confirming your place. When you've got one of these, you can open an account, allowing you extra time to make full use of its benefits before the start of the term. Most banks allow you to apply for student bank accounts online, but you will still have to send off supporting documents or take them to your local branch where possible.

Benefit four - Student Discount

We’ve saved possibly the best till last. And one many students use every day! As a uni student, you’ll be opening yourself up to a whole host of student discounts. Using cards such as Totum and websites like UniDays and Studentbeans a whole host of money-off opportunities awaits you. Everything from a new laptop or the latest games console (we see you PS5) all the way down to a free burger, you can find deals on anything and everything.

Before making a purchase check to see if a student discount is on offer. Sign up to mailing lists and ask at store counters!

Remember to budget

It’s important to be responsible, spend wisely and make (and keep to) a budget when beginning university life. But it isn’t all stress and worry when it comes to the pounds and pennies.

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