Budgeting as a student

Being able to budget and plan your money is incredibly important as a student. It may be your first time receiving money where you have specific things you’ve got to pay for such as rent, food, sports memberships as well as the extras such as going out with friends wherever that may be to.

You should start by working out how much money you have coming in. This could be through Student Finance or from a part-time job that you are currently working. You should then make a list of all essential outgoings such as rent, bills, travel costs, course materials, food, toiletries, clothes and insurance as well as any extra study expenses which are expected for your course.

The next step is to work out how much you can afford to spend on each of these areas. Remember to save some money for optional extras such as entertainment as well as unexpected expenses and future savings. There are also often bigger occasions to save for such as holidays, Christmas and birthdays.

You should then look for ways to make savings. This could include buying your food from a cheaper supermarket or bulk buying certain items with the other people you are living with. You could also try having no spend days which can help keep your costs down considerably. If you are paying bills, take a look to see if there is a cheaper provider for the services you are receiving. Student discounts such as student rail cards, bus passes and the NUS card can also help you to save a little extra.

Finally, you should always keep track of what you are spending and review this regularly. This will help you to know whether you can afford to make certain luxury purchases or whether you should wait. You could keep a list or use an app or programme such as Blackbullion.

If you aren’t currently working but need a little extra money, you should consider a part-time job. The careers centre at Edge Hill are incredibly friendly and helpful and can check over your application or CV to help you get a job which is suited to the skills and experience you already have. Working whilst at university helps to improve your skills such as time management and communication and can also be a great way to network with other professionals in the area you hope to study in after you graduate. The money advice team at Edge Hill are always happy to help with any questions you may have about budgeting or funding.

Applicant Visit Days Ahoy!

With the beginning of February comes the Applicant Visit Days, typically held between now and March/April, non-interviewing applicants will soon receive notice of these wonderful days – maybe you already have! Although I personally did not attend an applicant visit day for Biology, I have worked for the Biology Department as an Applicant Visit Day Helper, therefore I know a little something about what goes down on one of these visit days.

The Edge Hill University Biology Department is home to many sub-disciplines, from ecology to human biology – despite this, students from different courses will certainly overlap both in the common first year and in shared modules. In account of this, the Applicant Visit Day has an introductory talk given to the cohort as a whole, as well as area specific activities with a focus on either ecology, human biology, or genetics, for example. When I worked the Applicant Visit Day last year, I supervised the ecology taster session – and introduction to invertebrate ecology and identification, using keys and microscopes. Also part of the Biology section on Applicant Visit Days is the building tour, where you get a better look at the labs and equipment available to use once you begin studying with us. With the opening of the Tech Hub and the top floor lab, there’s even more space and equipment to use!

Facilities
The Biosciences building for Biology at Edge Hill

I have also worked for the Money Advice Team on applicant visit days, as a Money Buddy, positioned in The Hub. The Money Advice Team hold presentations on student finance, as well as budgeting – particularly from a student’s point of view (hence the Money Buddies). My role was to speak to potential future students about financial help offered by EHU as well as budgeting advice.

The Tech Hub

One of the pros of attending an Applicant Visit day (other than getting a better feel for your course and department) is getting to meet other students. If you’re worried about meeting new people at university, your course is the best place to start, and Applicant Visit days give you a head start. I hope you’re able to attend one and take advantage of this opportunity!

Student Finance and the Money Advice Team

With Student Finance applications opening soon, money may be on the mind. Edge Hill University does a lot to help ease money woes and provides numerous services and opportunities. On such resource is the Money Matters website, which has useful information on loans (which I have briefly detailed below), grants, bursaries, scholarships, and more!

There are two loans available from the government for undergraduate university study:

Tuition Fee Loan:
This is something you largely don’t have to worry about. You can borrow enough to cover the tuition fee for your course and is not means tested. This will be paid directly to your university – I didn’t worry about it once I had applied.

Maintenance Loan:
To help with food, accommodation and travel, this loan will depend on a variety of factors: household income, whether you’re living at home or away, the exact location of your residence, and more. The maximum amount able to be received is £8,700, or £9,916 if you qualify for the increased Maintenance Loan. This will be received directly, usually in three instalments, to your bank account or building society.

Managing the money from your maintenance loan might seem like a challenge. Typically, you receive roughly a third per term and will have to budget your money to last appropriately, accounting for rent, food, other essentials and any left over for spending (i.e. social events, shopping).

This is where the Money Advice Team can help. Available for drop-ins Monday and Friday, 10am-1pm, and Tuesday and Thursday from 1pm-4pm, they can lend a hand in keeping your finances on track, providing budgeting tips and techniques as well as information about the Student Support Fund and part-time job opportunities.

Not only are there a number of jobs on campus available to Edge Hill students (such as open day helpers and library staff), the Money Advice Team can help you find jobs in the surrounding area such as St Helens, Preston, and Liverpool.

EHU’s Money Advice Team

Edge Hill University is well known for its student services, being voted 3rd in UK for Student Support in 2017. In my experience, this holds true. The IT support, Careers Advice, and Counselling services at EHU really are great. But today I want to tell you about the Money Advice Team.

I’ve worked for the Money Advice Team in the past, as a Money Buddy, presenting to and answering questions for prospective students on Open Days and other events. The Money Advice Team also informed me of the Student Opportunity Fund, which has helped me to spend my sandwich year in the United States!

The Money Advice Team are open for drop-ins Monday and Friday, 10am-1pm, and Tuesday and Thursday from 1pm-4pm. They offer a range of services for different purposes – if you’re worried about finances, they can help you. All queries from budgeting to funding are supported. A resource that many students might not know about is the Student Support Fund, which can help students who “have serious financial difficulties or whose access to higher education might be inhibited because of financial reasons.” There is an assessment process, but if you are eligible, you won’t have to pay back the money you receive.

The Money Advice Team is currently situated in the Student Information Centre (SIC) and can also put you in touch with Edge Hill Works, who can help you find a part-time job. There are numerous on-campus jobs, but of course, there are more in Ormskirk and the surrounding area. Even Liverpool (particularly Liverpool ONE) has some part-time jobs that are available for Edge Hill Students.

Also of use is the Money Matters website, which has information relating to the above, as well as tuition fees, bursaries, scholarships, etc. So if you’re unsure of the difference between the maintenance loan and your tuition fee loan, check it out! A particularly useful tool is the Scholarship Calculator, which can inform you, after five short questions, if you are eligible for a scholarship.