A-level year is a busy one filled with fears of upcoming exams, impending results and the possibility of not receiving the offers you want from your chosen university and plundering UCAS Clearing like a bargain bin. Then, once you arrive at university you have some time where you can forget all those worries and settle in to life as a student. But, before you know it those fears come flooding back again with exam season. However, as a student, your biggest worry isn’t always your exams. More often than not it’s money. After all, without money you would not even be in your course.
Money is probably the biggest barrier in your way as a student. From the ridiculous rent prices often asked by landlords to simple things such as heating, electricity and general household items that you have probably never had to buy before. And not to forget the main tuition fee payment which is forgotten about from time to time because you never actually see the money.
Despite all of this we have our good friends at the Student Loans Company who cover all of this for you. They will pay your tuition fees directly to your university, they can provide you with loans and they can give you non-repayable grants – the amount of which is determined by your household income. So, during the course of one year you could have in excess of £6000 to live off. Once you deduct all of the essentials you still have a hefty sum of money, which is only helped by part time work and the various bursaries offered by Queen’s. However, before you go spending all of your “disposable” income, there is something you should know. A piece of information that is often left out of any talks you attend at school and in careers class about moving to university, your course and financing your degree. The Student Loans Company do not help with funding for postgraduate courses. Yes, there are bursaries awarded to students that can help with this. But not every student can be the highest achiever in their discipline and so the majority are left without secure funding.
So what do the rest of us do?
Well, this is one of the reasons why many students end up taking a gap year. While some decide to travel, others use this as an opportunity to find the money to finance their course. This is an issue which not every undergraduate student is aware of, and many only find this out at a late stage in their undergraduate course. So, if you think that you might want to move into a postgraduate course, it would be wise to set aside a little money every so often.