Preparing to Pay for School
When trying to estimate the cost of higher education, a number of factors will need to be considered in order to determine what the cost to you and your family will be. This final cost will be contingent upon the course you will be studying as well as the institution you will be attending. Additionally, the household family income will not only determine what funds you can allocate toward continuing education, but family income will also impact the amount of funds you will be eligible to receive from the government.
To help finance your education, loans and grants are available from the government. Additionally, bursaries and scholarships are available to those demonstrating greater need. These funds will help to cover the cost of tuition and fees, as well as the costs of living. Costs of living can include textbooks and class materials, the cost of accommodation, food, travel, etc.
The monetary amount of the student loan is dependent upon income and where the course of study will be taking place. For example, the maximum amount to be borrowed if attending school full-time in London is £6475, whereas the money borrowed if studying at university full-time while living with parents is £3580. Grants are based fully on financial need, and any amount a student receives is based solely on family income.
Additionally, the students attending university or college part-time are entitled to a Fee Grant of a maximum of £1180 if they are studying at a rate of 50% or more of equivalent to full-time courses. This grant is not repayable, and the amount is linked to household-income as well as the intensity of course work. Also, an additional grant is available to aid in financing the cost of additional course material such as textbooks; the grant is payable up to £255. This grant is also based solely on income.
In creating a budget for your academic year, it is important to factor in all the debits and credits that you will incur throughout a given week, month, and therefore year. In this way, you can determine how much outside help will be necessary for financing higher education.
Examples of Weekly Debits:
• Utilities (Gas, Water & Electric, Trash, Cell phone, Home phone, Internet Service Provider, Television)
• Tuition & Fees
• Study Time and Cost of Materials (time spent in and out of class studying, stationary, software & equipment, printing and photocopy)
• Travel (getting home & how you will get there)
• Time & Cost of Commute (bus, train, bike, walk, cab)
• Food (groceries and cooking, meals with family, meals at uni canteen, meals at restaurants, takeaway meals)
• Spending (basics of toiletries; clothing; laundry and cleaning; etc)
• Social (time spent visiting mates; cost of clubbing, films, TV, student union, cafes, sports and gym, music, and holidays)
*Live on campus and with roommates to bring down your cost of accommodations.
*Being green is hip, and it can save money! Turn down your thermostat by one degree, replace light bulbs with energy efficient ones, and do not place furniture in front of radiators.
*Travel in the off-season to save money.
*Shop and cook together in bulk, freeze what you do not eat. This will save on food cost. Try to eat out as little as possible, or go to inexpensive venues and share.
*When budgeting for leisure details, give yourself a reasonable amount to spend per week. If you give yourself too little, then you will never stick to it.
*Buy used textbooks from the bookstores or from Internet sites to help save money.
*Shop around for the best mobile phone plan that will accommodate your usage. Overage charges will cost you.
*Get insurance to cover your personal possessions. Thieves target students. Also, see if it is still possible for you to be on your family insurance plan while away at uni.
Examples of Weekly Credits:
• Loans & Grants
• Bursaries & Scholarships
• Employment (salary & weekly hours)
• Help from Family and Friend
*Apply for Bursaries. Nearly 50% of full-time uni students qualify.
*Earn and spend at the same rate, be careful to not spend money before you have made it.
*If there are any loans you receive that you find yourself not needing immediately, put those funds in a high interest saving account.
*Beware of credit cards; in the long run the interest paid on items purchased can make the cost of unnecessary purchases an outrageous final amount.
*Make sure when finding employment to set aside enough time to not only work, but also for your studies. A steady work schedule can help a student budget time appropriately.
Student Finance Direct, “What Support is Available?”, http://www.studentfinancedirect.co.uk, copyright 2004, site visited September 3, 2008.
UniAid, “Student Calculator,” http://www.studentcalculator.org.uk, copyright 2007, site visited September 3, 2008.