This is one of the main things that I wanted to know when I was contemplating university. We all know that university is not cheap, the nine thousand pounds a year tuition fee is a huge amount in itself never mind your accommodation and living costs as well as travel (if your living at home or your accommodation isn’t close to your uni) it all adds up and it can be daunting.
So, can you actually make it through university without a job living purely off your student loan and maintenance grant? Well, the answer is different for everybody. It all depends on how much of each you are entitled too and this depends on the income of your parents/household. For a lot of students this doesn’t seem fair as your parents salary should not affect how much money you receive as they are not always in a position to aid you financially regardless of their income. Unfortunately, this is not how our brilliant government looks at it. In theory, if your parents are on a decent salary they should aid you in your studies hence why you receive less in your loans and grants. Those parents who do not earn a lot and are perhaps on benefits or jobless cannot aid their children and that is why those students receive more in financial support. Yes, none of this seems fair and it is not, but that’s just the way it is.
Back to the questions, is it possible to survive purely on your loans and grants? The answer is probably not!! Regardless of how much you get, you can get far more than your friends from student finance (i know this from personal experience as i find myself in this position) but this still doesn’t mean it’s enough for you to live off. University accommodation is expensive, especially if you like to have your own ensuite and a double bed!! It can be very pricey, but even accommodation that doesn’t offer an ensuite is still not cheap and the majority of your money goes on rent!! You also have to remember that you receive your student finance once every term and there are only three terms, September, January and April, the rest of the time you have to find money some place else.
The couple hundred pounds that you have remaining after paying your rent is not going to stretch over 2/3 months, you have to remember that you are paying for food, cleaning things, bathroom essentials, bus fares, trains fares to and from home and of course being a student you like a good night out!! The only option for many students in this situation is to get a job and that is exactly what I had to do. Honestly, my timetable is fairly relaxed as I am only in my first year so having a job and my studies isn’t proving to be too stressful, but for someone who is in their third year or has a full timetable a job is simply not manageable. So tell me, how is that student suppose to survive without the aid of his/her parents and only on student finance? In my opinion it’s very hard and almost impossible.
I am by no means bashing student finance haha, I just want to point out that university is simply too expensive! I have experienced this first hand, the accommodation I live at currently is not cheap and next year it is going up in price by over twenty pounds per week!! That to me is crazy, they will be offering the same things as they are offering right now so why are they upping their price so high? I simply don’t understand it, have some consideration! Personally, I think student finance should modify their way of calculating how much is entitled to each applicant because even if your parents are earning fifty thousand a year that doesn’t mean that they are in a position to pay for your studies, they could be fostering children and that money could be going on them (as I know this is the case of one of my friends).
To wrap this up, I definitely don’t think it’s impossible to survive of your loans and grants but then again I don’t think it is easy, it’s actually a big, big challenge. I understand that not everyone is in the same position and some students are very fortunate to have parents that are able to pay for everything but for those of us who have to rely on the services of our government, it’s hard and it sucks.