12 things you probably didn't know about student finance
Wow your friends and attract your preferred sex by dropping these nuggets of knowledge into conversation...
1. By the time they graduate, the average debt of a student starting this Autumn is likely to be around £25,000.
2. At some unis, the cost of living is more than twice as much as at others. Last year Teesside was the cheapest and the Royal Academy of Music the most expensive. Meanwhile, studying in London is almost 50% more expensive than studying in Wales. So, choose your uni carefully.
3. From September 2010, the maximum tuition fees that unis can charge to UK students are rising from £3,225 a year to £3,290 a year. And if unis have their way, we may see them continuing to rise for quite some time.
4. The cheapest regular pint of beer at a student bar (not on a promo) is the University of Liverpool which charged £1.30. The most expensive was £3.15 at St Mary's University College, Twickenham.
5. If your parents earn less than £25,000 a year, as well as money to cover your fees (or most of them), you’re probably entitled to a grant of £2,906 to live on. That’s money you never have to pay back. If they earn less than £50,000, the grant will be smaller, but there’ll be a loan too. Beyond that, you can get the loan, but that’s all.
6. If your parents are divorced, they usually only count one parent’s income when they calculate what you can get. (So, if they’re still together, now’s the time to have a quiet word…) Click here for more on applying for grants, loans and bursaries.
7. Hundreds of thousands of pounds go unclaimed every year in bursaries, scholarships, prizes, all sorts. Most universities don’t bend over backwards to tell students, so it’s worth asking about them as you could be able to pick up anything from a few quid to a couple of thousand pounds.
8. Last year, students earned an average of around £3,000 doing part-time jobs and working in vacations.
9. You'll start repaying after you’re earning over £15,000. As of this year 'repayment holidays', which allowed you to put off the payback process, are no longer available. But don't panic, there are plenty of ways to deal with debt.
10. Last year the Government will spend £5 billion on student grants and loans. If they spent the same amount on Mars Bars, they could line them up on the equator and go round the earth two and a half times.
11. Befriending your bank is a good idea. Wining and dining them probably isn't necessary but at least return their phone calls. That way, they’ll trust you if you need their help. What’s more banks almost never make a profit out of student accounts – they run them at a loss to attract customers who’ll earn more in the long run. Okay, so they’re not charities, but no evil corporate monsters either.
12. It's worth it in the long run. As a graduate, on average you cut your chances of ever being unemployed in half, you’ll find a job twice as quickly in the first place and, over a lifetime, you’ll earn more (estimates range between £54,000 and nearly £400,000) than people who give up on education earlier.
Beware the small print. There are all sorts of ifs and buts when it comes to finance, so please don’t assume the numbers above apply to you without checking elsewhere on Push.co.uk. That’s particularly true if you don’t live in the UK, if you’re in Scotland or Northern Ireland, if you’re over 21, if you have a disability, if you're studying part-time, if you’re studying to be a teacher, if you have kids, if you’re living with your parents, if you’re living in London, if you like to carry fish in your pocket and shout ‘wibble’ at strangers, and so on.