The Student Room Group

How does anyone afford uni?

I’ve done a gap year and I’m heading off to Falmouth Uni in September. I’ve got a bit of money saved up from my job this year but I’m going travelling with it (non refundable now lol).
I get £4767 student loan. You don’t get a choice in Fal accom, it’s a ballot system (with preferences).
It’s looking like my rent is going to be about £6000-£7500 a year if I’m lucky, but could possibly be stuck with a higher rent accommodation/one far away that means I’ll have to spend lots of money on buses etc.
My parents can afford to give me £200 a month (firmly, they can’t do any more) which I am super grateful for but I am aware that means I will have around £7100 a year for my living costs which probably won’t even cover my rent. I am perfectly willing and eager to get a job at university but Falmouth isn’t huge and I’ll be competing with loads of people for jobs that have good student hours, and I know I could be looking for a job for a while. Basically just asking how people coped during uni financially without daddy’s money, how long it took you to get a job, any grants/bursaries people know about, etc!

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Hi there,

Starting university can be both exciting and challenging, especially when it comes to managing your finances. But it’s great that you’re proactive about exploring options to cover your living costs.

Your £4767 student loan is a great starting point, even if it may not fully cover your rent, it can still contribute significantly to your living. Additionally, considering your accommodation, try to budget carefully; for example, explore meal plans, cycling or carpooling to save costs.

Moreover, like many other universities, Falmouth offers paid roles as Student Ambassadors. As an ambassador, you can help with open days, connect with prospective students and share your experiences. Also make sure to consider roles like student content creator.

Remember that Falmouth has plenty of local or independent businesses, thus you will often find hospitality work (cafes, pubs or restaurants) as well as shops that offer flexible hours that fit around your schedule.

Lastly, Falmouth University offers awards and bursaries to support their undergraduate students. These are separate from government grants and loans so make sure to reach out to the university's finance team to explore the options based around your cincumstances, course and pathway.

Remember that many students face similar financial challenges and there are numerous resources available to help you. Don’t hesitate to seek advice from Falmouth University’s Student Support Team.

I hope I managed to help!

Best of luck,
Melanie
LSBU Rep
Original post by Shark1234
I’ve done a gap year and I’m heading off to Falmouth Uni in September. I’ve got a bit of money saved up from my job this year but I’m going travelling with it (non refundable now lol).
I get £4767 student loan. You don’t get a choice in Fal accom, it’s a ballot system (with preferences).
It’s looking like my rent is going to be about £6000-£7500 a year if I’m lucky, but could possibly be stuck with a higher rent accommodation/one far away that means I’ll have to spend lots of money on buses etc.
My parents can afford to give me £200 a month (firmly, they can’t do any more) which I am super grateful for but I am aware that means I will have around £7100 a year for my living costs which probably won’t even cover my rent. I am perfectly willing and eager to get a job at university but Falmouth isn’t huge and I’ll be competing with loads of people for jobs that have good student hours, and I know I could be looking for a job for a while. Basically just asking how people coped during uni financially without daddy’s money, how long it took you to get a job, any grants/bursaries people know about, etc!

Hello, first of all congratulations! For me, my maintenance loan just about covered my rent and with my gap year savings I was fairly sorted for first year. However, in second year I definitely don't have those savings any more!! I personally work for the university as a student ambassador, its minimum wage and not always the most consistent form of income (i.e. some months I will work 20+ hours others I may only work 4 or 5). Some of my friends have more consistent forms of income through the university by working on campus, such as in cafes or bars or for events/catering. You won't make the most money working for your university but it is flexible around your degree which is useful for deadline season. I also know people who work in town, they have more consistent hours and sometimes get paid more, however the hours are more intense and less flexible. So it really is a toss up between what your uni offers and how much flexibility you need for your course, extra-curriculars, social life etc.
Some universities have a low income bursary/grant but you would need to provide evidence to be eligible, if you don't qualify for maximum student loan you may struggle to receive these.
Another job option would be tutoring online, which I haven't done but from what I've heard it is well paid and the hours are flexible if you are willing to put the effort in (and have the grades). There are usually adverts for tutoring services on LinkedIn, or you could ask your university careers department when you get there in September.
Best of luck with the future!
-Kat (2nd year psychology undergraduate at Lancaster University)
Might need to look at local private rents in house shares to find something cheaper? Bear in mind you don't need to sign a year long lease - you're only at uni part of the year if you don't have a job to make it worth staying in the city over the summer etc.
(edited 1 month ago)
Original post by Shark1234
I’ve done a gap year and I’m heading off to Falmouth Uni in September. I’ve got a bit of money saved up from my job this year but I’m going travelling with it (non refundable now lol).
I get £4767 student loan. You don’t get a choice in Fal accom, it’s a ballot system (with preferences).
It’s looking like my rent is going to be about £6000-£7500 a year if I’m lucky, but could possibly be stuck with a higher rent accommodation/one far away that means I’ll have to spend lots of money on buses etc.
My parents can afford to give me £200 a month (firmly, they can’t do any more) which I am super grateful for but I am aware that means I will have around £7100 a year for my living costs which probably won’t even cover my rent. I am perfectly willing and eager to get a job at university but Falmouth isn’t huge and I’ll be competing with loads of people for jobs that have good student hours, and I know I could be looking for a job for a while. Basically just asking how people coped during uni financially without daddy’s money, how long it took you to get a job, any grants/bursaries people know about, etc!

Hey @Shark1234
Hope you have enjoyed your gap year and looking forward to starting uni. Great that you have been able to save a bit for uni which will help!
I wasn't fortunate to have family who could help finance so I understand how much uni costs and the balancing act of uni and work. I took out a student loan (Government one) which I used towards my rent and bills. I chose to not get a bank student loan as I didn't want to get into debt with them. For everything else (Food, travel, social, sport) I used savings, spent within my means and budgeted, and worked. I encourage not overloading with work because although it is money it is also your time and uni is full time. Holidays ( especially the long summer) I worked and it can be good to look out for opportunities well in advance as it is good to have peace of mind that something is lined up.

In terms of where to look for jobs keep an eye on general job sites, university/union advertisements and also in shop windows/ word of mouth. Grants and bursaries are often on your universities website but there should also be people at your university that you can contact who will be able to provide assistance.
All the best and hope you enjoy uni ! Catherine - University of Strathclyde Student Ambassador
Sharing an apartment is a first step to save some cash Find any job, which can help you to get through those difficult times. I had some nice shifts few times a week in a local restaurant. That was intense of course, so i got some help with the essays https://academized.com/cheap-essay. Managed to do it for couple of months and made some good cash during those times. Not sure i would do that again, but that is definitely an experience.
(edited 1 month ago)
Original post by Shark1234
I’ve done a gap year and I’m heading off to Falmouth Uni in September. I’ve got a bit of money saved up from my job this year but I’m going travelling with it (non refundable now lol).
I get £4767 student loan. You don’t get a choice in Fal accom, it’s a ballot system (with preferences).
It’s looking like my rent is going to be about £6000-£7500 a year if I’m lucky, but could possibly be stuck with a higher rent accommodation/one far away that means I’ll have to spend lots of money on buses etc.
My parents can afford to give me £200 a month (firmly, they can’t do any more) which I am super grateful for but I am aware that means I will have around £7100 a year for my living costs which probably won’t even cover my rent. I am perfectly willing and eager to get a job at university but Falmouth isn’t huge and I’ll be competing with loads of people for jobs that have good student hours, and I know I could be looking for a job for a while. Basically just asking how people coped during uni financially without daddy’s money, how long it took you to get a job, any grants/bursaries people know about, etc!

@Shark1234

I think one of the best ways to budget for university is to work during the holidays e.g. the summer. You said you were off travelling, but if there is time post your travels to do some summer work that will hopefully make things a little bit easier for you at the start of term when there can be lots of expenses : (

In terms of other advice, try to pay your rent and mobile bill straight away and check if any arrangements can be made with the university on the timing of accommodation payments if this will make things easier. You might also like to see if you can change your mobile plan to reduce the money each month.

Avoid direct debits as much as possible. It is easy to sign up to lots of things but It all adds up! Try to save some of the money you receive from your parents or work rather than seeing it all as money to be spent.( The little of bit of money you save could make a huge difference mid-term, if you face an unexpected expense or if you have struggled to stay within your budget.)

Avoid takeaways and try to avoid buying lots of ready meals. Try and buy food and cook meals that will provide you with at least two meals e.g. buy pasta, rice, potatoes and make spaghetti bolognese, fried rice, jacket potatoes etc Try not to obsessive over money, but do keep an eye out on where it's all going e.g. buying lots of junk food midweek when you don't feel like cooking or a growing reliance on takeaway coffee. Finally, if Falmouth is far from home, but you already know you want to visit home during term time, then get into the habit of booking trains/coaches in advance or invest in a coach or railcard to get discounted fares.

Hope that helps,

Oluwatosin 3rd year student University of Huddersfield
Original post by Shark1234
I’ve done a gap year and I’m heading off to Falmouth Uni in September. I’ve got a bit of money saved up from my job this year but I’m going travelling with it (non refundable now lol).
I get £4767 student loan. You don’t get a choice in Fal accom, it’s a ballot system (with preferences).
It’s looking like my rent is going to be about £6000-£7500 a year if I’m lucky, but could possibly be stuck with a higher rent accommodation/one far away that means I’ll have to spend lots of money on buses etc.
My parents can afford to give me £200 a month (firmly, they can’t do any more) which I am super grateful for but I am aware that means I will have around £7100 a year for my living costs which probably won’t even cover my rent. I am perfectly willing and eager to get a job at university but Falmouth isn’t huge and I’ll be competing with loads of people for jobs that have good student hours, and I know I could be looking for a job for a while. Basically just asking how people coped during uni financially without daddy’s money, how long it took you to get a job, any grants/bursaries people know about, etc!

Hey @Shark1234!

First off, it's great to hear you're going to university, and congratulations on accepting your place at Falmouth! Admittedly, whilst university is a fantastic way to meet new people and open yourself up to new job opportunities, it can be quite expensive.

The main thing I'd recommend is setting a weekly budget and trying to stick to it. This way, you can work out your total weekly expenses and see where you are in comparison to your income. Rent will obviously be your biggest expense, but make sure to factor in food, transport and the occasional going-out/takeaway cost. If your outgoings are greater than your income (which unfortunately, for many students, they are), calculate how many hours you'd have to work part-time to compensate for the deficit: you might have to work less than you'd initially expect.

Take a look at Falmouth's Student Funding/Financial Support pages; there could be some form of scholarship/grant available for students who need a bit of extra financial support, or a university employability service who could help get your CV in shape to get a job that bit faster.

Best of luck! 😁
Eve (Kingston Rep).
Hey!

I am currently at uni, with a similar financial situation. You are definitely not alone in worrying about this, many people are in the same situation.

For me, I used my loan to cover my accommodation and then any other sources of income for living expenses. It can be difficult to find jobs, which is why i woud recommend trying to get a job on campus. Many unis offer student part time, uni-friendly hours which is a great way of earning some money to support yourself and make friends with other students while working together. For me, I do ambassador work for the uni and work as part of the student union. I also own a small business which can be a good source of side income if you have a hobby you can profit from! I would also recommend working during your holidays to save money for the next academic year. It can be comforting to know you have some savings you can fall back on if needs be 🙂

While at uni, try to find a balance between saving money and having fun! Maybe make a spreadsheet of your income and expenses so you can see where you need to allocate money too and can create a budget. I know for me, using a Monzo banking account was beneficial to separate my money into different spending pots, depending on my budget for that week.

I think someone else may have mentioned this, but making lunch at home can be a great way of saving money so make sure you have a lunchbox 🙂 You can also contact your uni to see if there are any bursaries available. Santander also do free railcards with a student account which can help to save money. They also frequently do giveaways for students, even if you don't bank with them. Some other bank accounts also do student bonuses, so keep an eye out for that.

All the best,

Lucy
2nd year languages student
Tbh most students live places a lot cheaper, plenty of people working would also struggle with 700 odd a month rent themselves
Hi,

Congratulations on getting a place at Falmouth and I hope you have a fab time travelling!

I was able to get a bursary of £800 and I also got a scholarship of £1000 each academic year. This really helped me when general living costs. Most universities will have similar funding opportunities, but normally you’ll have to fit a certain eligibility criteria to apply for it. YSJ also has a student support fund, which is available to all students, so maybe Falmouth offers something similar?

It’s amazing that you’re thinking about your financial situation now, as it means you’ll be less stressed at the start of term, as you’ll have already have a plan. I would highly recommend that you consider applying to be a student ambassador. I’ve been a student ambassador since my 1st year, (I’m currently a 4th year masters student), as I’ve found it to be such a great part time job that I can easily fit around my studies. It’s normally paid higher than minimum pay as well, which is always a plus, as most student jobs are minimum pay but it really depends on where you live and what jobs you’re applying for.

As Student Loan will be paid in 3 payments (normally September, January, April). If you could save enough money, if it’s possible for you, to cover your rent and expenses for September - December, it will help you out when your first get to uni as you’ll have one less immediate stressor. This will help you settle into university and the city that you’re living in.

If this isn’t possible, I would recommend you make sure your CV is up to date over summer, and start applying for student jobs before you go to university. Most first years don’t usually apply for jobs until they get to university, so by doing this over summer, you’ll be ahead.

Most employers, especially when they normally employ students, understand that face-to-face interviews aren’t always possible; and may offer you an online or over the phone interview instead.

Have you looked at the cost of 2nd year housing? In York and I think in many university city’s and towns, students will start looking into getting their deposits on their 2nd year housing before Christmas. Yes, it’s really early, but it’s normally the houses with the best deals and locations that go fast. I would recommend that have a look, and see if that’s something that happens at Falmouth. So you know in advance if you will need to prepare, to also pay a deposit on your 2nd year housing. You may also find that as you’ll have more options, in 2nd and 3rd year that you’ll save money. Although it’s not financially beneficial for this academic year, it’ll be one less thing to worry about next year, if you find something that fits your budget.

University can be overwhelming but it’s also such amazing time, to try new things and meet new people. I have absolutely loved my time at university. You’ll have a great time. Good luck!

I hope this helps!

Suzan - Student Ambassador
Original post by Shark1234
I’ve done a gap year and I’m heading off to Falmouth Uni in September. I’ve got a bit of money saved up from my job this year but I’m going travelling with it (non refundable now lol).
I get £4767 student loan. You don’t get a choice in Fal accom, it’s a ballot system (with preferences).
It’s looking like my rent is going to be about £6000-£7500 a year if I’m lucky, but could possibly be stuck with a higher rent accommodation/one far away that means I’ll have to spend lots of money on buses etc.
My parents can afford to give me £200 a month (firmly, they can’t do any more) which I am super grateful for but I am aware that means I will have around £7100 a year for my living costs which probably won’t even cover my rent. I am perfectly willing and eager to get a job at university but Falmouth isn’t huge and I’ll be competing with loads of people for jobs that have good student hours, and I know I could be looking for a job for a while. Basically just asking how people coped during uni financially without daddy’s money, how long it took you to get a job, any grants/bursaries people know about, etc!

Just finishing up my 4th year, coming out of university without any debts at all and I can tell you it was actual hell.

I worked 60 hours a week for a year and a half before I started and managed to save £15,000. I worked full time every summer and Christmas break. In addition, I worked roughly 20 hours a week during term time. I lived in a share house to keep my rent costs lower, I bought cheap food and barely went out. In addition, I applied for all the grants I could get my hands on and managed to get about £7,000 in grant money.

So, if you want to do college without any debts, I'm proof that it's doable but only just. You'll have to work enough during term time to cover all your rent, food, transport and other living costs. You have to work all the holidays and save that money to pay for the fees.

My advice to keep costs low is avoid student accommodation. If you can find a good house share, you'll make great friends and save money. Buy food and prepare meals in bulk. Avoid little costs like buying coffee every day and save it for bigger things (so you can go drinking once a fortnight or whatevs). Definitely try and get a part time job. Working in a bar or club is great because they don't clash with college hours. Work during the holidays. Try to borrow money from your parents rather than a bank, if you *must* borrow money (the interest can cripple you otherwise). Apply for every possible grant even if you don't think you're eligible (I got one for rent that I was convinced I wouldn't get, worth a couple of hundred).

And my final bit of advice would be: Try not to stress too much about it. It's not worth your mental health, or not enjoying your college experience because you're penny-pinching. If you end up owing money, and you really don't want debts, you can pay it all off within a few years of graduating once you're working full time and saving.
Original post by Shark1234
I’ve done a gap year and I’m heading off to Falmouth Uni in September. I’ve got a bit of money saved up from my job this year but I’m going travelling with it (non refundable now lol).
I get £4767 student loan. You don’t get a choice in Fal accom, it’s a ballot system (with preferences).
It’s looking like my rent is going to be about £6000-£7500 a year if I’m lucky, but could possibly be stuck with a higher rent accommodation/one far away that means I’ll have to spend lots of money on buses etc.
My parents can afford to give me £200 a month (firmly, they can’t do any more) which I am super grateful for but I am aware that means I will have around £7100 a year for my living costs which probably won’t even cover my rent. I am perfectly willing and eager to get a job at university but Falmouth isn’t huge and I’ll be competing with loads of people for jobs that have good student hours, and I know I could be looking for a job for a while. Basically just asking how people coped during uni financially without daddy’s money, how long it took you to get a job, any grants/bursaries people know about, etc!

Why is your loan so small? It should be based on parental income and parents are supposed to top it up. If they can only afford £200 their income must be small so your SFE loan should be larger. Have they submitted income info?
Reply 13
Original post by Muttley79
Why is your loan so small? It should be based on parental income and parents are supposed to top it up. If they can only afford £200 their income must be small so your SFE loan should be larger. Have they submitted income info?

My household income is just under £80,000 a year. They have a mortgage and their own expenses to pay for, and I think asking for £200 a month from my parents to “top up” my loan as an adult is still a lot when I’m not giving them anything in return! I think it’s quite privileged to assume that just because my parents have a high income on paper that’s all disposable and they’re able to just throw money at me, I dread to think how people with the same loan and lesser income are coping.
Original post by Shark1234
My household income is just under £80,000 a year. They have a mortgage and their own expenses to pay for, and I think asking for £200 a month from my parents to “top up” my loan as an adult is still a lot when I’m not giving them anything in return! I think it’s quite privileged to assume that just because my parents have a high income on paper that’s all disposable and they’re able to just throw money at me, I dread to think how people with the same loan and lesser income are coping.

They won't be feeding you or heating your room or washing your clothes etc. They'll save more than that by you not being at home. I know our food bills halved when our son went to uni!
Reply 15
Original post by Muttley79
They won't be feeding you or heating your room or washing your clothes etc. They'll save more than that by you not being at home. I know our food bills halved when our son went to uni!
They have told me they can not and will not be able to give me any more than £200 a month. Was just posting here to ask if anyone had any suggestions of other ways to make some money, that’s all 🙂
Original post by Shark1234
They have told me they can not and will not be able to give me any more than £200 a month. Was just posting here to ask if anyone had any suggestions of other ways to make some money, that’s all 🙂

Then they need to read this: "Based on your household income, your child will only get £4,767 from the government towards their living costs this year. So, to get up to the minimum, you would need to contribute £5,460. Unless your income changes, you'll be expected to make contributions of a similar scale each year your child’s at university."

https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/students/university-living-costs-calculator/
Reply 17
Original post by Muttley79
Then they need to read this: "Based on your household income, your child will only get £4,767 from the government towards their living costs this year. So, to get up to the minimum, you would need to contribute £5,460. Unless your income changes, you'll be expected to make contributions of a similar scale each year your child’s at university."
https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/students/university-living-costs-calculator/

My parents cannot afford to do this!!! Hence me making this post!!!
Original post by shark1234
My parents cannot afford to do this!!! Hence me making this post!!!

Well the rules are that they should have planned for it like most families do. They will save £200 a month from you not living there so on £80K they are deemed to be able to support more than this like every family. Show them the article- this isn't new.
(edited 1 week ago)
Reply 19
Original post by Muttley79
Well the rules are that they should have planned for it like most families do. They will save £200 a month from you not living there so on £80K they are deemed to be able to support more than this like every family. Show them the article- this isn't new.
The point of me posting in this forum was simply to ask what other forms of income people had/budgeting tips during their time at university, not telling me to simply ask my parents for more money. I know this isn’t new but I’m not going to be showing them this article as I know they can’t afford more than £200 a month and I don’t want them to feel any more guilty for my financial hardships at uni than they already do, it was my choice to go not theirs. I highly doubt they will save over £200 on bills when I am gone either, but that’s irrelevant.

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