The Cost of being a Student

According to the NUS Website, the average annual University Student Expenditure is £22,189, this is broken down into:

£10,133 Course costs

£12,056 Living costs (which broken down is);

  • £4,834 Rent
  • £1,956 Food
  • £316 Household goods
  • £42 Insurance
  • £2,074 Personal Items (clothes, laptop etc)
  • £1,524 Travel
  • £1,310 Leisure

(NB. Doesn’t include socialising – may come under personal items/leisure)

However, the average student income from a student loan is £14,370, therefore £7,819 short!

This is also based on average, therefore if you get carried away with spending towards personal items or socialising the cost can be even higher. Use our useful Budget tool  to help keep  a track of what you spend and see our top tips under how to Earn, Budget and Save.

So what are your options? Part-Time Job, Savings you have got together prior to University, a Maintenance Loan, or Support from Parents.

Know your Facts about Student loans

Full-time students only need to start repaying their living costs loan in the April AFTER they graduate (or leave) at the earliest, no matter how long your course is.

What you repay solely depends on what you earn after university. In effect this is, financially at least, a 'no win, no fee' education. Those who earn a lot after graduating or leaving university will repay a lot. Those who don't gain too much financially from going to university will repay little or nothing.

Once you leave university, you only repay when you are earning above £1,750 a month (equivalent to £21,000 a year) and then it's fixed at 9% of everything you earn above that. Earnings mean any money from employment or self-employment and in some cases earnings from investment and savings.

Even if you've started repaying the loan, but then lose your job or take a pay cut, your repayments drop accordingly.

You stop owing either when you've cleared the debt, or when 30 years (from the April after graduation) have passed, whichever comes first. If you never get a job earning over the threshold, it means you won't have repaid a penny.

It's one reason those who are near retirement, who don't have a degree and want one, find it very appealing as unless they've a huge pension, they know they'll never have to repay.

Maintenance loans are available to cover living costs

The maximum annual loan for living is £4,375 for those who live with parents, £5,500 if they live away from home (£7,675 in London or £6,535 overseas). These also only need repaying when a student earns £21,000 a year, and they also wipe after 30 years (see the Student Loans 2012 guide for more info).

Maintenance grants, which don't need repaying, may also be available. Students can get up to £3,250 a year, depending on household income. The maximum loan entitlement falls for those who get a grant. 

For more information on Student loans and grants at the University of Birmingham visit https://intranet.birmingham.ac.uk/as/studentservices/funding/funding-available/student-loans-grants.aspx

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