Five Top Tips for Completing Your Student Finance Application

Hi everyone, since Student Finance has opened, I thought I would use this blog to provide five top tips for completing your application!

 1. You don’t need an offer to apply

If you are still waiting for offers, no problem, you can still apply! Complete your application using your first preferred university and course, and if this changes you can update your application later on.


2. Make sure your application details are correct

Have your UCAS course code to hand and choose the correct academic year and mode of study i.e. full-time – this is very important if you don’t want your loan delayed.


3. Provide any supporting documentation quickly

You might be asked to send original documents with your application, if you are, send any documents requested from Student Finance by recorded delivery and track the delivery as you definitely won’t want them to get lost in the post.


4. Do your research and don’t be afraid to ask questions

Lots of support and guidance is offered by Student Finance themselves in the Student Finance Zone – scroll down to the bottom of the page for links to your correct student finance as they are different depending on where you live in the UK. Just make sure you apply before the deadline to get your money on time.  In my case I applied through Student Finance NI. Additionally, if you still have any questions you can email think@edgehill.ac.uk


5. Enrol promptly to release your funding in September

Your first payment is usually made around 3-5 working days after you are registered on course and the Uni has confirmed your attendance with Student Finance so it is important you complete your enrolment. Details are sent out to firm choice students over the summer so look out for that.

Thanks for reading and good luck 🙂

 

 

 


Edge Hill University and SUSI – An Irish guide to applying for finance at Edge Hill

Satellite picture of Ireland and England.

Satellite picture of Ireland and England.


Before we begin I want to point out that this blog is intended for those applying for finance from Ireland (Republic of.). This is my first blog, and for good reason. Applying for finance is daunting at the best of time but try setting your heart on studying at a university only to be told ‘Oh, you will struggle with money because the student loan company wont give you maintenance”. That’s exactly what happened to me. But don’t worry, I am living proof that it is possible.


Student Loans CompanyLogo
Student Loans Company UK

So the first thing to do is not panic. If you have just been told that you wont get money from the SLC (Student Loans Company UK) ignore everything they have said. For a start you will get a fees loan from them, assuming you qualify, just like any other student. The money you wont receive is the maintenance, but we will cover that in the next section. For now the first thing to do is get on the right track and get the EU student application pack (Here!). Fill them out and if you need help have a parent or guidance councilor sit down and look through them with you. Get on that early! If accepted that will be your fees sorted.


SUSI logo
Student Universal Support Ireland

Next it’s onto money to live. This is where I freaked out. No one knew what was going on, and I couldn’t find anyone that had gone through this process before. After calling and calling to different organizations the solution turned out to be easier than I thought. SUSI, or Student Universal Support Ireland, will still pay for students attending school abroad. If you currently attend an Irish secondary school your guidance councilor can help you apply or you can take it on yourself (Here!). And to top it all off SUSI is a grant. That’s right, a grant. Not a loan, you don’t have to pay it back. So just go ahead and apply like a regular student and if eligible SUSI will deliver your grant money once a month.


So its as simple as that, you get your fees from SLC and your maintenance from SUSI. Knowing is always half the battle.

Here are a few extra tips from me:

  • Apply early. Get it done and out of the road. SUSI may also require your parents to do taxes early so be prepared for that.
  • Dont lie. Be honest, they will catch you out.
  • If SUSI ask for a letter describing the loan you will receive from SLC you need to wait for your SLC loan to be approved before they can issue it.
  • SUSI will only pay into an Irish Euro account so make sure you keep one open.
  • Remember the exchange rate plays a part in how much money you have when you spend it here.
  • If in doubt call! SUSI: +353 (76) 1087874. SLC: +44 (141) 243 3570
  • You can check if you are eligible for a SUSI grant and how much you will get by using the reckoner – (Here!).
  • If you do find yourself here for an open or applicant day, check out the student finance stand. It’s usually in the hub.

That’s all from me and I hope this blog can help some of my Irish fellow students. If you have any other questions about Edge Hill then feel free to email think@edgehill.ac.uk for free advice and answers to your questions, or leave a comment below this blog and I will get back to your personally.

Slán go fóill,
Sean M. – Edge Hill Student

Student Bank Accounts

Hey everyone!

Hope you are all doing well and enjoying summer.

In the past I’ve written a few blogs about budgeting and student finance, today I wanted to focus on money again and give a few tips about Student Bank Accounts.

Some of you may have already set up a Student Account (I know my mum advised me to get it done fairly quickly so I wouldn’t have to worry about it later.)

If not, don’t worry! It’s a really easy process, and definitely worth it in the long run.

I set up my Student Account the summer before I started uni, and the great thing about some Student Bank Accounts is the incentives they offer.

My Student Account offered a free 16-25 rail card, which saves me 1/3 on train fares. That has served me very well over the last two years of uni.

As I travel home on the train every reading week and at the end of the semester, I’ve saved an unbelievable amount on travel without having to buy a rail card myself.

A lot of other accounts offer different incentives. From the research I did before I started uni, some banks will throw in an Amazon Gift Card when you open your account (which may be useful for buying some things from your reading list!)

Of course it’s not compulsory to open a specific Student Account, but I would recommend looking into whether it would help you.

The free perks can actually be super handy throughout your time at uni and even beyond. Now it’s summer I’ve used my rail card a couple of times, for days out and to visit uni friends. It’s always nice to be saving money, especially as a student!

Student Bank Accounts also tend to come with interest free Overdrafts, with no charge for using it.

Although overdrafts can be quite useful, I would definitely say be careful with them! Just because you have a £1500 overdraft doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be careful about how much money you spend.

I treat my overdraft as a back up. It’s there in case there are any problems, a safety net if I’m coming towards the end of my Student Loan. It’s definitely put my mind at ease to know I have my overdraft in case of an emergency.

I hope you found this useful, and if you have any questions don’t hesitate to leave me a comment!

Next week I’ll focus on something a bit more fun, the famous Freshers Week.

Quote for the day: ‘Money, money, money.’ – Mr Krabs

Until next time!

Becki 🙂

The wonderful world of Student Finance!

Hello all, hope you’ve had a great week.

I wanted to make a post about possibly one of the most important things (in my opinion) surrounding university life: Student Finance and funding options! If you are living on campus or even if you think you’ll struggle with course and travel costs, Student Finance is something I’d definitely suggest. This is a funding board put together by the government for current studying students.

There are currently two different loans on offer for new students:

  • Tuition fee loans: these pay for the price of the course you want to study. Even if you are staying at home and aren’t wanting extra funding because of this, the University still charges a fee for being on the course. You have to pay this back after Uni, however, this is once you begin to earn over £21,000 a year (https://www.gov.uk/repaying-your-student-loan/overview)
  • Maintenance loans: this is the loan you might want to apply for if you are living on campus or need help with anything such as travel fees, course books and necessities and food during your time on campus etc. You also have to pay this back, however, the same rules apply as with the tuition fee loan.

The application process can seem daunting, especially if this is your first attempt at applying for any kind of funding for anything, but if you follow what is said during the application process, you’ll be ok! Your parents/guardians are also required to fill out an application of their own so that they can gather information on their income and also get confirmation on the information you’ve given them. You are required to send certain documents as proof of what you’ve said and ID, but this is all clearly explained, so don’t worry!

Once your application has been processed, you will get a clear confirmation email and will eventually be told how much you are entitled to.

I found the Student Finance process to be quite daunting, so here’s a few tips:

  • Don’t panic! You’ll be ok just as long as you stay organised and listen to what you are being instructed to provide and mention in the application process.
  • Don’t keep putting it off. Especially if you need funding for rent or food! You don’t want to be caught out by deadlines or risk not getting paid when you need the money.
  • Read the guidelines and criteria provided. This will stop you getting caught out by anything that might mean your application doesn’t get accepted or is stalled.

Most of all, just remember the top tip I’ve provided!

Click here for a link to the Student Finance page and some information on how to apply and what you need to know.

Money Makes the World Go ‘Round: Budgeting for Students

Financial troubles are one of the biggest causes of stress for students and it’s not surprising. Since a lot of students go from living with their parents, not having to pay for much, to fending for themselves and probably having a lot less money than they are used to, they find it a struggle to stick to a budget. I thought I’d share with you a few tips that I’ve found useful in saving and managing money during my time at uni.

Draw up a budget and stick to it

The best way to keep track of how much money you have is to create a budgeting document. This highlights all the ingoing and outgoing money and from that you can work out how much you have spare to spend each week. I find that the most effective way of doing this on a word document but if you’re feeling it you can transfer it to an excel spreadsheet that you can colour code to easily refer back to. I get very excited over spreadsheets…

After you have drawn up a budget the biggest challenge is sticking to it! What I find helps to combat that is to keep track of everything you spend – I do this on the notes app of my phone – and then you won’t have any nasty surprises next time you check your bank balance. It will also prompt you to make smarter choices if you see what you are actually spending all your money on.

Shop smarter

A great way to save money is to try and go for cheaper shops such as Aldi or B&M. Finding cheaper alternatives to things you can afford to scrimp on will save you a lot of money. I tend to do my weekly shop in Aldi for around £15, whereas in first year I was spending nearly £30 a week in Morrisons! It also helps if you plan out your meals for the week and draw up a shopping list from there so you know exactly what you are getting, rather than aimlessly browsing the aisles.

Be harsh

To save money you have to be super harsh with yourself. If money is tight begin to really question whether you need something before spending the money on it – if you get into the habit of assessing the worth of what you buy you will begin to realise what you actually use and what is a waste of money.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help

If you find yourself knee deep in your over-draft don’t just suffer in silence, speak to someone who may help you lift yourself out of it. Asking your friends and family for financial help may seem daunting and I don’t entirely recommend it but of you are in a really sticky situation the best thing to do is tell someone and they may be able to give you the help you need, whether that is a loan or some advice. Never go to loans companies above people you trust, it won’t end well!

Futures and Funds

So getting a job is probably the last thing on your mind right now… well a full-time job anyway! However in just over three years you’ll have nearly finished your degree and if you’re lucky enough you may have already landed yourself a job! So this is really something you need to bear in mind because the next few years will fly by and you don’t want to be panicking!

Ensuring you have a plan and you’ve chosen a degree that opens doors to a career that you will enjoy is absolutely essential! Otherwise you are wasting your precious money and time, you are best of speaking to the course leader of the course your applying for and seeing what is in store for you! Sometimes, as you might find with college, uni is tough so making sure you thoroughly enjoy the subject is vital.

Other things to look at is the money aspect of your chosen career, can you work your way up to a managerial role? Firstly though you will have to apply for Student Finance, although it is not open yet, it is worth taking a look at what you need in order to apply. The Government have provided a really useful webpage that states exactly what you need (found here), so it may be worth gathering these things now so you are prepared!

Edge Hill also provide a great resource (here) around money you may be entitled to as an undergraduate on a full-time course (bursaries, scholarships, loans), which again you need to look at to ensure you have exactly what you need to begin University on the right foot!

Best of luck, if you have any questions please feel free to ask!

Applying for Student Finance Top Tips

As I’m sure you are aware Student Finance England is the organisation that most students apply for in order to help pay their way through university, and will help to pay for things like your tuition and living costs. However, I know that there are plenty of people out there who end up applying for finance very late on and often have issues trying to get the application complete before they start in September, so I would strongly recommend trying to get it sorted out as soon as possible so you can concentrate your time onto other things!
There are 4 stages to the application, and it does take a little bit longer to gather information and fill in details than you may initially think so make sure you are prepared early! The stages go as follows:

1. Registration
When you register you’ll be given a unique Customer Reference Number and be asked to create a password and secret answer. Keep these safe as you’ll need them to log into your account to check the progress of your application and re-apply for student finance next year.

2. Before you start your online application, you should have the following to hand:

  • your valid UK passport, if you have one;
  • your university and course details;
  • your bank account details;
  • your National Insurance number.

If you want to apply for finance that depends on your household income, they will ask your parents or partner to give us information about their household income and their National Insurance number. This is the bit that could take a little more time than you might think so make sure you have all this to hand before you start!!

3.Evidence
Not always but sometimes student finance will ask you to provide evidence of your house hold income, so this could include your parents p60 form to show what they earn for the last financial year, so make sure you ask them in advance to have a look for it just incase!

4.Declaration form:
Finally you will be asked to print and send of a signed declaration form which will need to be processed before student finance can pay you so don’t forget to do that!!

If circumstances change and you need to change your application, this can also be done and you can find out more information about that : Here 

I really hope this post is helpful, I had lots of trouble trying to get my application sorted in time so I was highly recommend trying to sort it out early!

Money Matters!

Budgeting is definitely a life skill that we all would benefit from having! Thankfully one of the skills that uni teaches you is the ability to manage your money…. or at least there’s an opportunity to learn anyway!

By this I mean that it is all well and good coming to uni with the best intentions; to study and not spend an excess of money of food, going out… basically everything that’s unnecessary! However it is easy to get sucked into the lifestyle of eating rubbish (take-aways!) and going out, especially when you get your big lump sum of money from student finance!

So my advice is to work out much money you will have left from each term’s payout and split this into how many weeks you need to make this money last by! Hopefully you’ll have enough to see you through- and if not you can make the necessary precautions before you come to uni so you don’t have to worry about money. I did this before I came to uni and set up a direct debit to my current account from my student bank account so I knew how much money I had a week- sort of like giving myself an allowance!

I would definitely advise you open a student bank account, there’s lots of information via this link which advises which account is better depending on what your needs are.

Finally, remember to apply for your student finance, you can make an account here– this will guide you through what you need to apply.

Good luck guys- have a lovely Easter!

Student Support

Edge Hill has a lot to offer in the way of a support network, but I always find that when in doubt it’s best to start at the Student Information Centre. The Student Information Centre is on campus, right next to the library, and it is a great place to get advice. I’ve actually been having council-tax-related-trouble this morning, so I rang up the Student Information Centre and they advised me over the phone. Here are some of the things they can help you with:

They can help you if: 

…you need to talk to a one-on-one counsellor- If you’re struggling and need somebody to talk to then a counselling session can be arranged. Read more HERE.

…you are struggling to find work- The Student Information Centre includes the Careers Centre. In the Careers Centre the advisors are on hand to assist students in getting jobs and to help students with their employability. They can look over your CV and arrange voluntary work. Read more HERE.

…you need financial advice- Today, after over an hour of calling various people at Liverpool council, googling things that I’d never understand and tearing my hair out I called the Student Information Centre. They advised me on how best to proceed and put my mind at rest. They can also help with budgeting and funding information. Read more HERE.

…you need childcare support- Edge Hill assist where they can in making it as easy as possible for parents to attend university. They can give information and advice on childcare and can also give information regarding financial support. Read more HERE.

Click HERE for more information on the support offered to students.