Funding and budgeting

If eligible for funding through the Government you will only get enough to cover your basic living costs.

Top tips

Here are some useful tips to help get you through.

Getting your funding in place normally takes between 6 to 8 weeks once you have successfully completed the application and provided all relevant information.  It can, however, take a lot longer depending on your personal circumstances and the time of year.

When you apply, just put down your first choice at that time.  You can update/change this on your online account online up until 1st September, after that we will be able to it for you.  Just contact us and we will let you know what you need to do.

For more information on what funding you should be applying for and how much you should be eligible for you can check out our Financial Support pages or at Student Finance itself.

NOTE: not applying for funding until your course has been confirmed could delay receipt of any money until a few weeks, or sometimes longer, after your course has started.  

Hopefully you will already have applied to your funding provider (normally Student Finance (England, Wales, NI or SAAS in Scotland)) and you may have already received your notification of entitlement letter. 

If you haven't, don't panic! 

If you require any help with this the University has a pre-entry advice team based in our Gateway who can help.  Just give them a call on (01902) 321032 or email and they will do their utmost to help

Once you have been fully assessed by Student Finance they will tell you how much you are entitled to for the coming academic year.  This will have specific dates tied into payments, the first of which will probably say the start date of your course.  

This 1st instalment will not be released by Student Finance until your institution has confirmed with them that you have fully enrolled on your course.

We only confirm that you are indeed registered once your course has officially started and we cannot let them know you are here until you are FULLY enrolled.

Don’t assume you will automatically receive your money on that date, assume you won't. 

Once we do your confirmation of registration to Student Finance, even if your funding has been sorted for months, it will take them at least 72 hours to put the money into your account. 

Hopefully, everything will all go smoothly but, by making sure you have enough money to last at least a couple of weeks at the beginning you’re giving yourself a financial safety net.  

This will also give you plenty of time to come and speak to either our Students' Union or Funding Support Team (contact details at the bottom of this webpage) to help get it sorted, if needed.

‌You already know how much income you'll have so why not sit down and work out a proper budget?  There are plenty of online budget planners out there:

The Money Advice Service

Financial Services Compensation Scheme

If you'd rather do it yourself, here's a downloadable document: Budget planner (Word doc 39k)

There are also plenty of apps out there but here's Which's 2018 guide to the best ones at that time: The apps revolutionising your budget in 2018 or Which? has their own tips and help on everything financial, including student loans.

They also have a Student Budget Calculator that you can tweak depending on your personal circumstances to get a monthly breakdown of how much you’ll roughly need to live on.

Read more: - Which?

Identify and be realistic about your income/expenditure and don't let other people influence you. Also, remember to plan for the unexpected. 

If someone was to hand us a £100 each today we can guarantee that out of 10 random people they would each have their own idea about what they'd spend it on.  Your money is your money and no-one can say that how you're spending it is wrong as it is right for you.  BUT - don't forget to include the good extra things too.  It's no good saying 'I'm going to stop eating chocolate' so you can include the money you would normally spend on that into your budget if, realistically, you are going to still have chocolate.  Maybe just cut down a little, budget it in so that you know you can have some but don't end up spending what little budget you have on that "I need chocolate now!" craving that you know will hit at some point!  

Whether it's chocolate, or wine or whatever your personal crutch is (we all have one), be kind to yourself.  Coming to University is hard enough without giving up those things that get us through as well.

Don't forget to include the following in your plan:

  • housing costs
  • utilities 
  • council tax 
  • insurance
  • phone
  • TV licence
  • food
  • debts
  • clothing
  • travel costs social/hobby
  • health costs
  • books and stationery

and anything else that you regularly spend money on

With all the new technology that gives you instant access to your money it is just as easy to keep track of it as it is to spend it.  If you use an app to keep control of your money look into getting one that can link all your accounts together and check it regularly.  They can help set limits on how much you are spending and keeps you in complete control.

If you're less tech savvy or just don't feel comfortable trusting an app with so much of your personal financial information then why not just use cash?  Set yourself a weekly or daily budget and only have the amount on you for that particular day. 

However you do it, keep a track of what you spend and control your costs.  That way you are in control of your money and not the other way around.

We know you're adults and that you are more than capable of budgeting yourself but when you receive that 1st instalment of finance it will look like a lot of money.  Remember the loan you receive at the beginning of the term has to last the whole term, don't spend it all at once.

If you've already split the entire amount into 12 you'll already realise that it really isn't that much.  While money is tight, as it will be while you're at University, you will need to make your money go a long way.

Remember - money for tomorrow's needs is more important than today's wants.

Once you have sorted it the notification you get will show the maximum amount you will be receiving and also show you that it will be split in three equal instalments as follows:

  • 1st instalment in September (once enrolled) - 14 weeks
  • 2nd instalment in January - 16 weeks
  • 3rd instalment in April - 6 weeks

The number of weeks correlate to the how long that particular instalment is supposed to last.  The 1st one also includes Christmas!  The last one, although it looks great, is the last amount of money you will receive from them until the next academic year (September).

If you are a January starter, obviously the dates and weeks will be slightly different:

  • 1st instalment in January (once enrolled) 
  • 2nd instalment in April 
  • 3rd instalment in September

If you split the entire amount you will be receiving into 12 equal payments that will tell you how much you will be expected to live off per month from September to September, or January to January.

Useful information:

TOTUM, the new name for the NUS extra card, brings you over 200 UK student discounts and comes with 1-year FREE ISIC unlocking over 42,000 international discounts.

Get your TOTUM card now.

1, 2 or 3-Year Cards

Choose from a 1-year card for just £12, a 2-year card for £22 or a 3-year card for only £32. Many discounts are online only so you can’t get them without your TOTUM card.

Over 200 UK discounts on the brands you love and local independents.

As a student there are lots of fun things that are available to you but one of the most useful ones is being able to have a student bank account.  You can just speak to the bank or building society that you are already with but we would always suggest you compare what various different ones can do for you.

Most of them will offer a free overdraft but each one may have other different benefits and so shop around to find the best one for you.

Also, one additional benefit, once you have graduated they will convert your account into a graduate account and they would normally give you around 12 months to pay off any overdraft without charging you (check with them about specific time limits).

If you are a full-time student you are exempt from council tax.

If you are a student living in a household with no other adults (any other adults in full-time education are also exempt so don't count) then you are completely exempt from paying any council tax for the duration of your course

If you live in a house with 1 other adult who is not exempt from paying council tax then the house is eligible for a 25% discount.

If you are part-time or live in a house with 2 or more adults who are not exempt from paying council tax then, unfortunately, there is no discount.

If you need to prove that you are exempt from paying council tax then once you have fully enrolled you can request an exemption certificate through your e:Vision account which you need to give to your council and they will recalculate any council tax.

If you are moving here to study, whether that's from just up the road in Birmingham or you've travelled from the other side of the world, one of the first things you'll need to do, once you've settled in, is to register with a local doctor and dentist.   

All you need to do is go to the NHS England website (opens in new window) and put in your postcode and it will show you all the doctors and dentists closest to you that are currently accepting new patients.

Another thing to remember is that, as a full-time student, you are not automatically exempt from NHS or dental costs.  You will need to apply for an exemption certificate from the NHS called a HC1 form.  You would apply as a "low income" goup.  Again, you can find this via the NHS England website at NHS Low Income Scheme (LIS)

Once you have applied you may have to pay costs upfront and then send off any receipts and you should be at least partially reimbursed.

Also health related, make sure you are immunised against Meningitis (opens in new window)

If you are not eligible for funding, an employer is paying for you or have decided to fund it yourself, there are various ways of paying for your course.

Check out our How to pay page.

Don't forget to top up your printing credit!

In the University you can print, scan or copy using any of the Multi-Function Devices (MFDs) located on the University Campuses. To use an MFD you will need:

  • Your University ID card
  • Enough credit in your print account to pay for your printing.

For more information, including how to add credit to your account, visit:

Rather than wasting time, money and paper by photocopying, you can scan your work and documents to be sent straight to your email at a low cost.

Whether you’re a student, a parent or you provide student accommodation, find out when a TV Licence is needed and how much it costs.

The law still applies to students. You must be covered by a TV Licence to:

This could be on any device, including a TV, desktop computer, laptop, mobile phone, tablet, games console, digital box or DVD/VHS recorder.

A TV Licence costs £154 a year

You can pay in one go, or spread the cost weekly, monthly or quarterly. You can buy and manage your licence online. And if you don’t need your licence for a full 12 months, you could apply for a refund.

For more information go to: TV Licensing - Students

Whatever you are looking for it is always worth shopping around for the best deal, whether it's insurance or baked goods, you will almost always find a student discount that would work for you.

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