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students Cost of Living

With the current cost of living crisis impacting so many of us, we are committed to ensuring our students are aware of all the help available. We want our students to be able to focus, stress-free, on their studies and enjoy their time with us. A few initiatives that are already available at our main campuses include microwaves and fridges for you to use, lockable charging stations and free period products.

Money & Housing Advice Team

Our Money & Housing Advice Team are available to contact about any issue related to finances or housing.

  • Support with any problems you encounter with your student funding
  • Provide information and advice on budgeting
  • Advice on additional sources of income and funding
  • Help to identify ways you can save money
  • Advice on any entitlement you may have to welfare benefits and how student income affects benefits
  • Advice on your rights and responsibilities as a tenant
  • Provide help on dealing with issues with your landlord

You can contact the Money & Housing Advice Team by email at [email protected]

The team have also curated key resources as part of National Student Money Week 2024, which you can find here.

Hear from Money and Housing Advisor Steve Eagle about budgeting for university, tips and tricks to save money and what financial support is available for students.

Scholarships, Bursaries and Hardship Funds

The University provides a wide range of scholarships, bursaries and hardship funds for both undergraduates and postgraduates to help with the cost of your degree. See our scholarships and bursaries page for more information.

Our hardship funds also provide support to students in financial difficulties. Each fund has different eligibility criteria, and full details, including how to apply, can be found on our student platform,

The Study Support Fund is designed to help with unexpected financial difficulties you may experience during your course. The maximum payments for students in the 2023/24 academic year are currently:

  • £1000 on a full-time course
  • £500 on a part-time course

The Digital Hardship Fund provides help towards buying essential IT equipment for your course (e.g. laptop, printer, noise-cancelling headphones) in the form of store credit with the John Smith Group. To be eligible for help from the Fund, you must have a household income of below £43,000 a year (2023/24) and demonstrate that you cannot afford to buy such equipment yourself.

The Graduation Support Fund provides financial assistance to students who need help with the costs of attending graduation in May or November 2024. You may be able to receive help with the costs of:

  • Graduation gown hire
  • Up to two guest tickets
  • Up to £50 towards travel costs to your ceremony.

The DSA Equipment Top-Up Fund reimburses the £200 contribution to students who are eligible for assistive technology through Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSA) and have to pay for such technology.

The Employability Service offers two financial support funds:

  • The Volunteer Bursary: a bursary of up to £500 to offset some of the financial burden of volunteering
  • The Opportunities Fund: a bursary of up to £200 to cover the cost of employability or employment enhancing activities

To eligible for the support you must be an undergraduate student who pays ‘home’ fees, with a household income of below £42,875 a year (2023/24).

This Fund provides short-term financial support to international students who experience a significant disruption to their funding whilst on their courses at the University, due to an unexpected crisis or emergency situation. This could include natural disaster, civil unrest, conflict or some other emergency situation that means you are no longer able to receive funding from your home country.



We offer all our students a membership to Blackbullion. They provide digital financial education that helps to develop money confidence, knowledge and skill. It also empowers better financial decision making and can enable you to become money-smart before you graduate.


Managing your money and budgeting effectively can be challenging. Here are some useful tips and resources to help get you in control of your finances.

The most helpful thing you can do to feel more in control of your money is to draw up a budget. A budget in its simplest terms is a list of your income and your expenditure. However, for a budget to work, it needs to be a realistic. Once you have an overview of your income and expenditure, you can look at ways of making sure you don’t have more money going out than coming in.

There’s great information out there to help you with this – a good place to start is the .

To get an idea of how much you'll roughly need to live on during your time at university, the Which? is a great resource to help you work out your budget.

It’s really important to look at ways of decreasing your expenditure – particularly if your expenditure is bigger than your income.

is an independent website with lots of useful information about how to do this. There’s a whole section of the site for , as well as other really useful pages such as:

  • The
  • The help page
  • You may also want to  

Other ways to reduce your expenditure include:

  • Cancelling any unnecessary subscriptions such as Amazon Prime or Spotify Premium

Student bank accounts operate in the same way as non-student accounts, but with some key differences. Banks may offer a range of incentives to open a student account with them, such as a free railcard or mobile phone insurance, and they usually offer an interest-free overdraft facility*. Banks have different offers and interest-free overdraft limits – compares all the main student bank accounts.

After you graduate, your student account will usually turn into a graduate account. Depending on the bank, your interest-free overdraft may continue for a few more years but the interest-free limit will usually decrease over that time, and then turn into a more generic current account.

*Remember that a bank is not obliged to offer you an interest-free overdraft. Whilst we do not encourage students into any more debt than absolutely necessary, an interest-free overdraft can prove extremely useful.

Increase Your Income

Here you’ll find some advice on helping you boost your income whilst studying and things to be aware of.

We appreciate this sounds obvious, but the best way of increasing your income is to work alongside your studies.

If you are subject to immigration restrictions on your leave to enter and remain in the UK (for example, if you are in the UK on a Student Route Visa), always check what employment you are allowed to take, if any, and what hours you are allowed to work.

Our Employability Team can help in finding employment, and you are welcome to speak to a member of the careers team at your campus. Whether it is just a quick question, you need your CV reviewed, are nervous about an interview, or would like to know about reputable job searching websites, they are there to help.

If you do work remember to check you’re on the correct tax code, so you don’t overpay tax. Remember you can request a refund, reclaim or fill in a P50 (online or paper form). To find out more about student tax visit the .

Make sure you’re getting the correct amount of student funding. It is not unknown for the Student Loans Company/SFE/SFW/SFNI/SAAS to pay you less student funding than you are entitled. The Money & Housing Advice Team can check that you’re getting all the funding you should, and they will advise you on what to do if, for example, your household income drops significantly during the academic year- if you are an undergraduate you may be able to get your student funding reassessed.

Most full-time students cannot claim means-tested benefits such as Universal Credit, although there are some exceptions to this, for example, students with dependants and certain students with disabilities and limited capability for work. However, part-time students do not face the same restrictions and may be able to claim Universal Credit and Council Tax Reduction (if you are liable for Council Tax). The Money & Housing Advice Team can let you know if you can claim benefits and check that you’re getting the right amounts. The is also a really helpful resource to give you an idea of what you may be able to claim.

There are a range of charitable trusts and grant-making organisations that you may be able to apply for financial help, depending upon your circumstances. A good place to look for these is on the .

Generally speaking, as mentioned above, you need to apply for scholarships and bursaries before you start your course, but it can still be worth checking. The is a good place to start.

There are alternative ways to earn some extra cash or get freebies, we've listed some below:

  • Survey Sites: , , and .
  • Product Testing: , and
  • Task based apps: and


Finding ways to boost your savings can feel daunting, so here are some things to consider that could help you save money.

After tuition fees, rent is likely to be your biggest expenditure. Rents have increased recently, and although it may be easy to feel powerless in the face of this and the wider societal issues around housing in the UK, there are ways you may be able to reduce some of your expenditure on rent.

For example, you may be interested in . These are where you live in an unused property (to ‘guard’ it) usually for a lower rent than you would expect in ‘standard’ accommodation. Be aware though that you usually have fewer housing rights under these schemes and can be required to move out at short notice.

Another alternative to living in the privately rented sector is to live in a . A housing cooperative is a group of people who manage and control the housing in which they live. Each person is a member of the housing cooperative and has an equal say in decision-making. No member individually owns or makes a profit at the expense of another. All members are expected to take an active role in providing and managing the accommodation and the level of rent the tenants pay reflects the cost of managing the housing.

Now might not be the time to change energy providers (although you might want to take the opportunity to switch to a green energy supplier), but you can make small changes to your energy use that could make a big difference to your bills.

There is lots of really helpful information out there on more sustainable energy use - whether that be ways to reduce your bills or what you need to know about green energy tariffs and suppliers.

  • Check out the excellent resources about cutting the cost of energy, energy saving myth-busting, and their guide to green energy tariffs and suppliers.
  • The have great advice on energy efficiency when renting a home.
  • also have great tips for saving money on energy bills
  • The National Union of Students features a range of tips for those living in rented accommodation, even if the cost of utilities is included in the price of your accommodation.
  • Also check out the related website for practical and achievable advice for student renters, and what you can do to campaign to make your accommodation more sustainable.

If you are under 19 and in full-time education, you still qualify for free prescriptions and full help towards certain health-related costs. Once you turn 19, you may still qualify for full or partial help with NHS charges for prescriptions/dental treatment/eye tests/glasses etc through the NHS Low Income Scheme.

For further information see the .

Please note that for prescription charges you either receive a full exemption, or you have to pay the full cost. However, if you have regular prescriptions and have to pay for them it can work out cheaper to buy a prescription prepayment certificate (PPC) - a prescription currently costs £9.35 per item (as of March 2023), but a PPC costs £30.25 for 3 months or £108.10 for 12 months. For further information see the on the government website.

There are lots of ways that you can reduce your travel costs. Save the Student is a mine of helpful information on ways to reduce travel costs and travel deals.

Another great resource for information about all things travel is . Host is a student accommodation provider who provide useful information about the 18+ Student Oyster Card, 16-25 Railcard (even if you are over 25 and not officially a ‘young person’ you are still eligible for a 16-25 Railcard or a Young Persons Coachcard if you are on a full-time course), Young Persons Coachcard and International Student Identity Card (ISIC) in one handy place.

Alternatively, a great way to cut travel costs is by asking yourself if you really need a car. For many students living in places well-served by public transport – or living within reasonable walking distance of campus - a car is a ‘nice to have’ rather than a ‘need to have’. Even leaving aside the environmental impact of fossil fuel use, a car can be a significant drain on your finances, with the cost of repairs, insurance, MOT etc. If you are in an area where it is possible, you could always consider investing in a bike, or using a bike share scheme. has great information on their site on all aspects of cycling and has a helpful guide to public bike share schemes.

If you are on a full-time course you are generally exempt from council tax liability. Your local authority will want to see proof that you are a full-time student – you can request a council tax exemption letter from your Student Information office that you can send to your local authority.

Whilst students on part-time courses are not exempt from council tax, if you are on a low/no income you may be able to claim some help towards your council tax through your local authority’s .

There are lots of ways to reduce what you spend on your shopping and even earn whilst you shop.

By signing up to cashback sites (which should be free to do) you can get paid for your purchases. The sums range from pennies for groceries to more than £100 for some mobile or broadband contracts. Check out and .

We’d also suggest having a look at to learn more about how cashback works.

You can also find top coupons, vouchers and cashback available through the following pages on Money Saving Expert, which are updated regularly:

also offers great discounts on experiences, eating out to everyday essentials.

Another good app to check out is , which allows you to buy food from local cafes, restaurants etc. that might otherwise end up wasted.

When doing your food shopping it could be a good idea to shop around as some supermarkets are cheaper than others – you can find out which supermarkets are the cheapest by checking out the

You might also want to check out the which offers tips to help you reduce your grocery bill further.  

Cooking your own food can generally be a lot cheaper than eating out or ordering a takeaway – if you are not confident about your ability to cook there are plenty of websites that can help, such as .

You can also find lots of great resources to explore through

We've partnered with , the UK's top student discount card and app, to give our students a one year Student+ card (RRP £14.99) for free when they enrol with us. You'll gain access to hundreds of offers on food and essentials, beauty, fashion, travel, tech and so much more. Your TOTUM card also acts as an accredited proof of age ID.

Some other student discount sites and apps to check out would be , and .

Save the Student


Get more ideas on budgeting, savings and making money whilst studying from Save The Student.

Additional Resources

Here are some additional resources that you might find helpful during this time.

- Martin Lewis’ website is perhaps the best money advice website out there, particularly in terms of ways to save money.

- fantastic resource specifically for students.

- Stepchange is a free debt advice charity. They can help you negotiate with creditors (people and organisations to which you owe money) and have great information on dealing with debt.

- another free debt advice charity with great resources.

- information on grant-making trusts and charities and a great benefits calculator.

Wellbeing and Mental Health Support

If you have concerns about your own, or someone else's mental health, here are some further support services to help you.


Spectrum.Life currently provides mental health and wellbeing support to members and employees of over 2,000 organisations across Ireland and the UK, with a total of over 4 million active users of its EAP, Total Mental Health, SAP and Wellbeing Platform services.


Togetherall is a safe, online community where people support each other anonymously to improve mental health and wellbeing.

Support Services

Our Student Support and Wellbeing Services support students to overcome concerns and difficulties, contribute to positive mental, financial and physical wellbeing, and help students to achieve their full potential.

Discover more

National Student Money Week 2024 Resouces

As part of National Student Money Week 2024, we have pulled together some practical advice and guidance to help you make informed financial decisions and budget effectively.

The best thing you can do to gain control of your money situation is to draw up a budget – basically a list of your income (money you have coming in) and your expenditure (money you have going out).

Crucially, it needs to be a realistic budget – and then, once you have a good idea of your real income and expenditure, you can look at ways of trying to ensure you don’t have more money going out than coming in.

There’s great information out there to help you with this – a really good place to start is .

This site, as well as explaining the basics of how to draw up a budget, also gives links to a number of free student budgeting apps and spreadsheets, and budgeting top tips - some of our favourites are:

The money mantras

Before spending anything, ask yourself: Do I need it? Can I afford it? If the answer to either of these questions is ‘no’ don’t buy it. Check out the Money Saving Expert's .

The Demotivator tool

Enter items like takeaways, daily coffees/snacks etc and it’ll tell you how much you spend per year. Then print out the results and stick it to your wall or fridge as a constant demotivating reminder. Access

The Boost your income guide

You'll find some ingenious ways that could help you to increase your income in the Money Saving Expert's guide to

Sometimes what may seem like a harmless habit can start to turn into something more serious and can start to spiral out of control. Gambling and gaming are easily accessible; research shows that 79% of students have gamed, whilst 47% have gambled in the last year.

It can be easy to be drawn into trying to win money or using gambling and gaming as an escape from the pressures of studies and life, but if you are worried about whether or not you might need to make changes to your approach to these, or if you would like advice, you can contact , an organisation with in-depth information especially for students.

There is also lots of information on Gaming and Gambling on the which is aimed at lots of different levels of participation and has both self-help materials and a cost calculator to help students understand the real cost of a habit.


Many students are becoming increasingly interested in the world of cryptocurrency and there are many resources which provide information and education on this and what the potential dangers are.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) give an understanding into the basics and risks, and Save The Student have useful “what’s it all about” articles:

Adult work

Some students choose to undertake adult or sex work as a way of making an additional income, and whilst this may be a positive experience for some, it can also impact negatively on mental health and studies. If you are affected by this, you can always talk to your campus Wellbeing Team or Mental Health Advisor who can provide a confidential and safe space for you to seek appropriate support and advice.


You might feel tempted to send a deposit to reserve or secure a property before viewing, especially if it looks great online. But it’s safer to view the property and make sure it lives up to these expectations before sending any money.

There are now limits on what landlords and letting agents can charge for holding deposits, the max you should pay is 1 week’s rent.

We’d say avoid sending a full deposit before you’ve received a tenancy agreement and are serious about taking on the property. Remember for most fixed term tenancies, once you’ve signed, this is legally binding and it can be very difficult to get out of this contract, so it’s best to feel comfortable it’s the right move for you. Again, there are limits on how much deposit you pay, this should only be equal to 5 or 6 weeks of rent.

End of tenancy

When you’re coming to the end of your tenancy, make sure to take videos and pictures of the property before you leave. This might be useful if you need to challenge your landlord on deductions they’ve made from your deposit.

It's also a good idea to take lots of pictures when you first move in and ask your landlord for an up-to-date inventory. This will help you evidence the standard of the property when you first moved in.

It's also key to check your deposit has been protected correctly, for most private renting tenancy agreements, your deposit needs to be protected in a government approved scheme. This helps keep your money safe if you don’t agree with some deposit deductions at the end of your tenancy.


Unfortunately, housing scams do exist so it’s really important to look out for signs to avoid them.

A key sign might be ‘too good to be true’ rent prices. If you’ve been looking for a while and suddenly spot a property with much lower rent than the average price in that area, it’s worth being cautious before sending any money.

We’ve already flagged not sending money before a viewing, if a landlord is pressuring you to do so alarm bells should be ringing. Likewise, if your landlord says they don’t need to complete any checks like right to rent or credit checks, or that you don’t need a guarantor, this might suggest the property is not legitimate.

If you’ve found the property on Gumtree or Facebook, we’d suggest taking extra precautions. Searching on Rightmove, ULaw Student Pad or letting agents’ websites are best for finding genuine rental listings.

In the UK, fraud makes up 41% of all crime and around 80% of fraud offences are enabled through computer technology.

More than one in ten 18-24 year olds have been the victim of a phishing attack, double that of those aged 55+.

How to spot a scam

Scam emails (known as ‘phishing’ emails) are often sent in bulk and are unlikely to contain both your first and last name.

Check the quality of the communication - misspelling, poor punctuation and bad grammar are common signs of bogus emails or text messages.

Fraudsters will try to create a sense of urgency as a way of pressuring you in to giving your personal details. For example, they’ll say things like ‘failure to respond in 24 hours will result in your account being closed’.

A scam which we see increasingly being used against students involves a fake job offer. Check out to help you better identify them.

How to avoid these scams

Keep an eye out for any emails, phone calls or SMS messages you think are suspicious.

Always ensure that you’re using a secure website when submitting sensitive information online and don’t post personal info on social media pages.

If you receive a phone call/email/text that you’re suspicious about, don’t feel pressured in to giving the requested details.

Remember, if something sounds too good to be true it probably is!

What to do if you've been scammed

If you've already responded to a scam, end all further communication immediately.

Call your bank as soon as possible, explain the situation and cancel any payments that haven't yet been made. For speed and ease, you can call the 159 hotline instead – this will connect you directly with your bank.

Report cybercrime and fraud in the UK to Action Fraud:

  • Online -
  • By telephone - 0300 123 2040.
  • If you are deaf or hard of hearing you can use textphone 0300 123 2050

You can also find some good information in the article on the Money Saving Expert website.

One of the best ways of reducing the risk of financial hardship is to not be tempted by Buy Now, Pay Later offers and short term borrowing, which could have an impact on credit scores and increase the risk of slipping into debt. Save The Student has an article on which explains the risk of schemes such as Klarna, Clearpay and Paypal Credit, and the potential impact it could have on your finances.

Buy Now Pay Later lacks some vital consumer safeguards which you should be aware of.

You might also want to check out the from Money Saving Expert which tells you what to look out for.

PayDay loans and credit

Short term or ‘PayDay’ Loans often have greatly inflated interest rates and repayments which can be difficult to keep up with, but it is very important to keep making debt repayments, even if the temptation is to bury your head in the sand during challenging times. An alternative to this type of loan could be a loan from a Credit Union, which is generally thought to be more of an ethical alternative to the for-profit sector, and are also able to help with savings schemes services, such as for Christmas or holidays. Find a near you.

If you are struggling with debt there are several free, independent debt advice charities which can help:


It is important to have insurance! There are many companies which will provide insurance for students, but do compare what each one offers before taking out a policy - for example, find out what excess (if any) there is on a claim, and what discounts might they offer for students.

You might also want to check out the Save the Student guide to to learn what to look out for.