The Student Room Group

Maintenance loan isn't enough- how do / can i afford uni?

To start off, i am a self-diagnosed autistic due to long term suspicion and througout school i struggled getting a diagnosis due to school not providing proper evidence and communication on their end, and i didn't make any progress of diagnosis in college (in college i was given extra support despite not having an official diagnosis which really helped). I want to get a diagnosis but im now on the brink between cahms and adult services, so i would need to continue this whilst in university.
Because of my suspected autism and how it affects me, i really struggle in alot of work environments (mainly that i get overwhelmed easily, i learn slowly, im bad at speaking to people, and nobody seems to want to accomodate anything at all) and since my last place of work closed i haven't had a job and so i have no savings.
I got my finalised student finance and my maintenance loan covers roughly 3/4 of my accomodation- leaving me the rest of my accomodation money, and money to support myself with food and other basic living expenses throughout the year. My mum doesnt earn a whole lot (therefore obviously can't give a whole lot) so i was hoping i would get more but i haven't and i dont know how im going to be able to afford uni. I'm so stressed and upset because i was really looking forward to uni as a chance to be more independent and get me closer to being able to have a proper career.
Is there anything i can do? is there anyone with similar experiences? do i take a gap year? give up on uni entirely? I'm so lost
Original post by tillafox
To start off, i am a self-diagnosed autistic due to long term suspicion and througout school i struggled getting a diagnosis due to school not providing proper evidence and communication on their end, and i didn't make any progress of diagnosis in college (in college i was given extra support despite not having an official diagnosis which really helped). I want to get a diagnosis but im now on the brink between cahms and adult services, so i would need to continue this whilst in university.
Because of my suspected autism and how it affects me, i really struggle in alot of work environments (mainly that i get overwhelmed easily, i learn slowly, im bad at speaking to people, and nobody seems to want to accomodate anything at all) and since my last place of work closed i haven't had a job and so i have no savings.
I got my finalised student finance and my maintenance loan covers roughly 3/4 of my accomodation- leaving me the rest of my accomodation money, and money to support myself with food and other basic living expenses throughout the year. My mum doesnt earn a whole lot (therefore obviously can't give a whole lot) so i was hoping i would get more but i haven't and i dont know how im going to be able to afford uni. I'm so stressed and upset because i was really looking forward to uni as a chance to be more independent and get me closer to being able to have a proper career.
Is there anything i can do? is there anyone with similar experiences? do i take a gap year? give up on uni entirely? I'm so lost


I'm sorry that you are in a difficult situation. I'm tagging @Jess_Lomas to see if they can offer any advice regarding getting a diagnosis and possible additional support.

I am aware that it is not always possible, but parents are 'expected' to make up the difference between the maximum loan and your award. Bearing in mind that your mum's household expenses will likely reduce when you go to uni, can you ask her to give you £30/£40 per week to pay for your food while you are away? Can you look at alternative, cheaper accommodation? Often private halls can be cheaper than the uni-run halls - search for Student Roost, IQ Students, Unite Students, etc. Have a look on your uni's website for bursaries - you might qualify for some. Don't give up on uni now - talk to your mum and work out if you can go this year or if it is worth deferring your place so that you can try to get a job and save for next year.
So depending on the university they will provide support based on a working diagnosis (this is normally evidence that you are on the waiting list for the assessment). DSA normally requires an official diagnosis unfortunately

The uni might be able to things such as exam adjustments (these can normally be done without any diagnosis and have a separate assessment for these that the uni will fund).
They might also have something like extensions without evidence, adjustments in group work. As well as just making the staff aware of difficulties you face and making it known that it is a legal requirement so if your finding lectures overwhelming then they would understand why attendence is lower . Some uni's also have social groups for autistic students that you can attend with a working diagnosis.

It isn't clear from your post whether you are on a waiting list for an assessment at the moment but my first bit of advice would be get on a waiting list so you can get some support
Let me know if you have any specific questions
Reply 3
Hi There,

There are probably a few options you could look into.

1. Talk to your university and see if there are any grants or bursaries you could apply to once you are there.
2. Take a gap year to save up.
3. Look at a university closer to home. I know this isn't an ideal option, but it may be a lot cheaper to go to a university that you can commute to. Also, most universities offer local bursaries or discounts.
4. Talk to Mum about the financial situation and discuss your options together.

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