In the UK, it can be difficult getting by with so many costs in life if you are a student, as there is for everyone. The student maintenance loan is there to cover a student’s day to day livings costs, but many students find this is not sufficient to get by.
The maintenance loan is means tested. If your parents earn more than £62,187 you get the minimum £3,928 per year, which will not go far!
Even the maximum loan of £8,430, for household income below £25,000 could be a struggle if you are living away from home in the UK. Studies have shown the average cost of student accommodation to be £87 per week. This equates to £3,480 per annum for lodgings alone. Add to that food, books, travel, and other daily expenses and most students, even with a full maintenance loan, will struggle
The maintenance loan amount is based on parental income. This is because it is assumed parents will support their child financially through higher education studies. However, this does not mean they always will. For many parents this level of support is not possible. Thus, the student is left to make up the shortfall between the loan and the actual cost of living at university.
We’ll cut to the chase and suggest that no, other alternatives should always be examined first. Now student loans are of course the obvious first option. They will provide lower rates of interest and will not have to be repaid until a certain wage is achieved. However, there are options other than loans of any type.
Short term loans should not be employed by students unless an absolutely final option before more funds arrive. The interest charges that will be part of the repayment total will not help those living on a limited budget.
Universities employ student money advisors, and they are naturally a great source of advice. Seek them out if you are struggling to get by. Seek out temporary employment to help top up your budget. Most degrees leave enough spare time for this to be viable.
Scholarships, grants and bursaries help thousands gain degrees every year. Check if you qualify for one. Get thrifty, and try and make your money go further. Also, if you must use overdraft facilities, find a bank that offers you an interest free deal so that it does not cost you.
If you are struggling to get by, always seek advice as a first port of call.