Going to University is difficult for a number or reasons. For many it will be the first time they have lived away from home, the first time they live with other people and have full responsibility over their own life, health and finances.
Add to this that being in full-time education means most are reliant on a student loan to get them through their University years and this time also becomes the first time they have struggled with money and living on a budget.
Student loans are given out in order to cover tuition and living expenses, and are calculated to give the student enough to get by, but very little besides. Tuition fees have consistently risen year after year, putting them at an all-time high and crucial living expenses such as food, rent and petrol have also reached a high, meaning students are trying to live on a basic student loan, in a financial climate that seems impossible to those struggling with money.
Cash strapped and no-one to turn to?
Living with other students means that no one has any spare cash to lend out or cover other housemates’ costs, and landlords and utilities providers will still need to be paid in full and in a timely fashion.
Universities can occasionally provide hardship loans and grants to students who can prove they have a significant financial problem, but for most their situation will not be deemed drastic enough for this extra form of help. So what can students do when money is tight and they still need to pay rent, buy books or equipment, or simply get through the month before their next student loan comes through?
Working while at university
During university holidays it may be necessary to get a full time summer or Christmas break job, and bars and restaurants are always looking for temporary staff who can cover these busy periods. However, during these times it can be tempting to spend everything you earn on enjoying yourself during your break.
As you are in University full time during term time, a student may feel that they deserve to enjoy the extra cash that comes from living back home for a little while and having a regular income. One way to get around this is to put a strict budget in place, allowing yourself a little extra cash for treats, but putting everything else away in savings, meaning that when Uni starts up again you have some money put aside for your first rent payment, or for living expenses in the first few weeks.
You could also get a part time job during term time, although this is more feasible during your first and second years as by the time your dissertation year comes around you may be working more hours than you can handle as it is. Universities often have job boards and student advice centres which will offer student-centric or one off jobs which won’t interfere too much with your studies.
Bridging loans for students
If your financial need is a one off situation it can be tempting to look into a loan. For the most part students have more trouble than anyone else when applying for loans, as they are deemed not to be financially responsible yet.
However cash loans, particularly those that are more student-centric, can be the perfect bridging loan between loan payments. If an expense such as books or equipment comes up, or should you need a little extra for living, it is a small and manageable loan which can get you used to larger financial commitments.
Where many students find themselves misusing their student loans in their first years – such a large amount of money appearing in your account for the first time can be a heady experience – borrowing a short term loan may help to teach students how to be serious in their borrowings.
This is debt so be careful
A payday loan is an immediate debt, that needs paying back in a far shorted space of time and will have a higher interest/fee than longer term loans. If you can manage to pay back this loan (and in this situation it would be critical to pay it all back in time to avoid penalty), then it can teach how to make more serious decisions about long term debt such as credit cards or large loans.
As with any loan, it is important that you only borrow from a lender if you are certain you will be able to pay it back in full by the time stated in the agreement. On your first step into borrowing and independent living, though, it can be a handy and simple way to learn how to manage your finances, as well as keeping you afloat during a difficult time.