How do students pay for accommodation?

by Dan Roberts

With rent one of your largest outgoings whilst at university, a key consideration for many is: how do I pay for my student accommodation?

As a student paying for your accommodation comes from financial support such as maintenance loans for full-time students, Bursaries – a monetary award, and Scholarships – financial aid for talented students, as well as earning money through a part-time job or access to savings.

The realisation coupled with taking responsibility for paying your rent and bills can be daunting to many, wondering how you are able to pay them whilst studying full-time. Thankfully, there are a range of practical resources- from governments, universities, institutions so here is some solid ongoing advice and tips that will help students to pay their accommodation costs.

Are there any loans to help me pay for student accommodation?

Absolutely! The UK government offers a maintenance loan for full-time university students. It is a repayable loan that helps cover accommodation and living costs and is paid directly into your account three times a year, usually around the start of each term.

It’s important to note that the amount you are entitled to will depend on your household income. Calculating your income and outgoings will allow you to easily understand how much you’re eligible for and figure out how much of your rent will be covered.

Is there any financial support available, which I don’t have to pay back?

There is! Those are bursaries. But eligibility depends on a variety of factors.

Firstly, if you’re studying for certain medical, social care, or teaching courses, there are some government bursaries available to help with accommodation, tuition or living costs.

If you’re not studying for these types of courses, you can apply for a bursary directly from your university, outside of your government loan. Your university’s website will have more details on how to apply.

If you don’t qualify for a bursary, there are also scholarships available for students who excel in a certain subject, sport or even music (although they can be very competitive!).

What if I am not from the UK- are international students eligible for UK student loans and financial support?

 In short, yes. The UK Government offers loans and additional financial support to EU students.

If you’re a student from outside the EU, and not eligible for financial support from the UK Government, it’s best to research your country’s financial support schemes for students studying abroad as they vary a lot.

Scholarships (financial aid for talented students) are also a great way to help pay for your studies in the UK. There are so many out there, that your best bet is to check out a scholarship database like International Scholarships.

The great news is that some UK universities even offer their own financial support for international students. Not surprisingly, this varies depending on the university, too, so check out your uni’s website for more information.

Can a part-time job help pay for my accommodation?

Depending on university schedules, and course workload, getting a part-time job while studying is a great way to help earn some extra money. Most universities have a ‘University Job Shop’, run by the Student Unions, which advertises ah-hoc employment in the area. You can visit these centres in person, or register online and receive regular newsletters that update on the latest vacancies.

Don’t worry if you don’t have much experience, as for a lot of part-time jobs it’s no necessary for you to have previous work in a similar role. A lot of employers are more interested in finding passionate and enthusiastic students who have transferable skills- such as good organization, teamwork, initiative, and communication. These skills, honed during your studies, are invaluable for part-time job interviews.

What are the other options or ways for students to pay for their accommodation?

 Save! This might be difficult but is a long-term habit that will help make your time at university a little easier – no matter how much you put away each month. Sure, it may not be enough to pay your entire rent, but even small amounts put away will eventually add up to a handy resource to chip away at bills or expenses.

Trust us when we say that the sooner you nail everyday budgeting, the better. It takes a bit of organisation but it’s invaluable at a time when you’re having to be strategic with your spending.

Try using budget planners- some university websites even offer virtual budget planners which can help you break down average living costs in your area, and there are some great budgeting apps out there. If you aren’t sure about your study expenses yet, take example figures from the university website and pop it into a budget planner, which will help you get started!

Make sure you take advantage of the bounty of sweet student discounts available to you! There are so many brands that offer amazing discounts for university students- from food, to clothes, to experiences. Make sure you subscribe to the mailing lists of your favourite brands, as some, like ASOS, even offer a double student discount at certain times.

For more tips on how to budget while studying, check out the Money Advice Service.

 When do I pay for my student accommodation?

This is dependent on your university or the accommodation provider you will be renting with. There are usually different payment options, such as annual, monthly, or scheduled payments.

You can start researching this as soon as you have accepted your place, and rent is usually due at the start of each term. Some accommodations will even send you notifications to remind you when your rent is due!


Written by Dan Roberts
MD and Founder of Mystudenthalls.com

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