Money can be a major cause of concern in students, especially those who have never had to balance their own books before. Hopefully the following information will be of some use in preventing money problems before they get too serious…
UK students can apply for a student loan, which is currently set at a maximum of £6,475 for the year 2008/9 if you’re living away from home. How much of this loan you qualify for depends on your status, taking into account whether you are an independent student, have dependents, and whether you are eligible for any other awards. The loan is also dependent on the number of weeks you spend at university per year.
You will not need to start paying it back until you have left university and are earning in excess of £15,000. You should have already applied for your student loan in advance of arriving here, but if you haven’t, you will need to contact your Local Authority who will send you the appropriate paperwork.
For Home students, all three years of Physiotherapy and Radiography, years 2, 3 and 4 of the 4-year MBBS course and the 5th year of the 5-year MBBS course, the fees are paid by the NHS Bursary unit. These students are also eligible for a bursary, but like your student loan, this is affected by your personal financial situation.
For all of those Home students on undergraduate courses who are not eligible for an NHS Bursary, the fees for the academic year are £3,070. A complete breakdown of fees including those for international students and postgraduate students is available from the Student Centre.
Student Bank Accounts
It is likely that you will already have a bank account prior to coming to St. George’s, but before you automatically upgrade your account with your current bank, take a look at what others are offering. There are many different things you need to consider, not just the freebies! You need to consider things like overdrafts and the location of the bank.
There is a Natwest in the medical school foyer, which is open Monday to Friday, from 11:30am to 2:30pm. They only offer simple services such as bill payments and paying-in facilities. Anything requiring approval, e.g. overdraft applications, need to be taken to the main branch in Tooting. However, don’t underestimate how helpful this is to pay in cheques, pay bills etc. Although Tooting High Street isn’t that far away, it can be when you’re rushing for a lecture, and need to pay a bill.
Other banks offering specifically-student banking facilities are:
Many students rely on overdrafts for an extra source of funding, and they can be especially handy towards the end of term, when the grants and loans are wearing a bit thin on the ground! It is important to remember that they do have to be paid off though, and if you end the year £500 in the red that means that £500 of your next instalment goes straight into paying that off, making it more likely that you’ll end the next year further overdrawn. Many banks increase your overdraft limit as you progress through university, but make sure you know your current approved limit and stick to it... Banks think nothing of charging you every time you go over your approved limit! If you find yourself temporarily short of dosh, then contact your bank and ask for a temporary extension with an approved cut-off date, as this will save you not only the charges and also prevent you getting a bad name with your bank, which will make it more likely for them to increase your overdraft in the future.
As a full time student you do not have to pay council tax. You will need to request a letter from the Registry which will state that you are a registered full-time student, which you will then need to send to the council in order for them to process your case. If you are living in Halls, this is automatically done for you, but it is important to remember for next year when you may look into renting accommodation.
Some students need evening or weekend jobs to support themselves at university. There are some more student-friendly jobs such as working behind the George’s bar or medical secretary work. Many students in the earlier years of study choose to get some employment during their holidays, but remember that most of our terms finish later than other universities, so you will need to apply early to ensure you do not miss the boat.
As a student you do not have to pay tax on your earnings, up to a certain ceiling amount. Ask your employer for the appropriate forms.
Access To Learning Fund
If all attempts at budgeting fail, you may need to apply for Access to Learning Funds (ALF). ALF is allocated to the medical school by the Government to assist Home students in severe and genuine financial difficulty. Only certain students are eligible. ALF is not to be used for the payment of tuition fees, or to make up for a shortfall in assessed parental contribution.
To be eligible, students should have applied for their full entitlement of Student loan. Help will be given in the form of a non-repayable grant from the Medical School. For more information, collect guidance notes and an application form from the registry.
You can go through a budget plan for your year by clicking here
For more financial help and advice, click on one of the links below:
Hot Courses - Student Money
Please contact Jude O'Brien, Student Finance and Records Assistant (email@example.com or on 0208 725 0962 or internal number x0962) for further information or if you have any financial difficulties at all during your course.
TOP TIPS FOR SAVING MONEY!
- Make a weekly budget and stick to it! Remember to allow for big one-off expenses such as birthdays and the George’s Balls!
- Take advantage of the discounts offered to you as holder of an NUS Extra card – and don’t miss the online discounts!
- Don’t impulse buy – go away and if you still want it after a week… go back and get it!
- Student Oyster Cards (available online) and Young Persons Railcards (have been known to come free when opening up a student bank account) are the only ways to do travel…
- Nowhere in Tooting is that far away, walk or cycle instead of taking the bus.
- Look out for economy brands and special offers in the supermarket, and whatever you do, avoid Marks and Spencers!
- Bring lunch from home or go to the school shop most days and have lunch at Eddie Wilson’s for a treat at the end of the week.
- Shop at Primark for both fancy dress and real clothes – nowhere is cheaper and you will look super cool as well!
- Get a boyfriend/girlfriend who can cook – they might buy all your food for you and it’s cheaper than takeaways!
- Drink in the George’s Bar instead of pubs for a cheaper night out. Why would you ever want to go anywhere else anyway?!