The budget was announced this week and a lot of people are angry about a lot of this. One thing that people I know are annoyed about is the fact that grants aren’t going to happen any more (from 2016/2017). I suppose the removal of grants puts us all in the same (albeit pretty awful) boat in terms of debt.
So, here are some ways to make money whilst at university or before you go:
- Before you even apply check out which universities offer bursaries and scholarships. As an English student few universities I liked even offered scholarships for my course – there were the standard 3As scholarships, but other ones tended to surround the sciences. That doesn’t mean that you won’t find a university that you like the look of that has scholarships for being an expert basket maker ( you never know).
- Start saving now. Most of my summer job money from last year was spent on clothes, food, books and god knows what. I still have some left over, but I’m pretty sure that that will all be gone
come September (and I don’t even get my loan until 10 days after moving in, so I really am going to be a starving student). It’s so easy to spend this money that you work for, because you earn the right to buy nice things when you’re doing a job you hate for minimum wage on the weekend, but, you don’t want to go to university and have to do another equally crappy job. So, put half of that money into a savings account and don’t touch it (unless there is a REAL emergency, and I’m not talking about a Topshop sale here).
- Get a job. Yeah, I know I said that you don’t want to take a crappy job along side university, but you might just have to. At least you’ll be 18 or over and get a marginally better minimum wage than when you were at college. It depends on your situation really, you might be able to spend all of your loan on expenses other than your rent, which is great, but if that’s not the situation your loan might not even cover the cost of your rent.
- Learn to love a budget. Because that’s the only way you’re going to make it to your next loan installment without eating pot noodles. It’s pretty easy, have a plan for each term, put some money straight into a savings account when your money does come in (again, use it for any non-clothes sale emergencies, but only if you really have to). You might have to cut back on the vodka shots but you’ll be a)sober and b) have money for summer. Ask your parents for help if you really don’t know how to plan, and then when you get to uni write down EVERYTHING you spend.
- Ask for help. It might be from your parents – perhaps you can work out a deal with them that if they pay your rent you’ll pay for everything else? The university – they often have small loans they can give you if you really do run into trouble financially.
- Apply for more money. Although grants are being done away with, the highest amount of loan is increasing. This means more debt if there really is no other way to fund university, at least you’ll be at university, and if the current repayment system stays in place then it’s unlikely you’ll repay all of the loan within the 30 years.
Remember: University is an investment in your future, all of this debt, stress and hard work puts you in a great position to get a job at the end of it all.
The fact is that this is the first time many of us have ever had to do this on our own, and we probably will screw up and end up with a grand total of £5 in our bank account in the middle of term, and that’s fine, as long as you can dig yourself out of that hole without digging yourself into more debt. See budgets and finances as another bit of preparation for the real world, because whilst this is the time to mess this stuff up, you don’t really want to – it’s kind of like turning all of your clothes pink in the wash,it’s not fun being dressed like a barbie doll, but as long as you learn something it’s not all bad.