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Navigating student finance for the first time can feel intimidating...

Whether you’ve just left secondary school, you’re a returning postgrad or are a mature student heading to uni, navigating student finance for the first time can feel intimidating. Here’s some advice and guidance about the ins and outs of student loans and other types of financial support you can get while studying...

 

How much money am I entitled to?

This varies massively person to person, and is dependent on how many years you’re studying for, where you’re living in halls or at home, your parents’ income, plus lots of other factors. 

The money you’ll get will be split into two parts, regardless of your situation. You’ll be given a tuition loan to pay your university, plus a maintenance loan to help you pay rent and so on while you’re studying. Check out the official Student Finance website to find out how much money you can apply for.

 

I’m scared that I’ll never be able to pay my loans back!

I know, right? Taking out a loan this big is an intimidating prospect, but necessary for most students. Fortunately, you don’t need to worry about student loan repayments until you’re making over £21,000 per year AND have left your course. 

If you’re a postgrad or mature student studying alongside a day job, you won’t start repaying the loans until your degree is over even if you’re earning a salary of more than £21,000. Plus, student loans are written off after 30 years anyway, regardless of how much you’re earning. 

 

Taking out a big loan will mean that I can’t get a mortgage, right?

That’s not the case. Student loans basically function like a graduate tax, rather than a private loan. They don’t affect your credit score, and won’t stop a mortgage lender from letting you borrow money for your first property provided you meet all of the other conditions. 

In fact, using your student loan to make payments into a savings account, or Help to Buy ISA if you have one, is a good way of accumulating a bit of interest that you can later use for your down payment (if you can afford to do that - we know it’s a huge ask, especially in London!)

 

I’ve got a health condition which is likely to have extra expenses while I study

Don’t worry - we know that living with a health condition can be expensive, and that stress can negatively affect you. 

The Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA) is available to students with mental health problems and learning difficulties, as well as long-term physical conditions, to help mitigate this as much as possible. The Disability Service at Goldsmiths can help you apply for DSA if you need one - we’ve got you covered!

 

I’m financially responsible for childcare while studying

You’ve got a couple of options for financial support here. First off is the Parents’ Learning Allowance, which provides students with some cash to help out if they have dependent kids.

You can also apply for a Childcare Grant, which is exactly what it sounds like - a grant to help you pay for a childminder fee or nursery fees. Both these options are included in your student finance, so you don’t need to do anything but add the relevant info to your application - easy!

 

Should I get a job as well as applying for loans?

London’s an expensive place to be. It’s important to find a balance between feeling as financially secure as possible, without working so much that it interferes with your ability to do your degree!

If you’re currently job-hunting in London, why not apply for one of our student staff roles here at Goldsmiths SU? We’re currently recruiting for student bar and cafe staff and supervisors, and we pay at least £10.45 per hour!