Money matters can be a big concern for many of our students, but you don’t need to worry. Our expert team can advise you on all kinds of financial issues, helping you to budget, plan ahead and get the support to help you afford your time at college.
Our Careers & Welfare team can help you understand any costs associated with college and discuss any finance or funding opportunities available to you. You can find out more information on financial support for courses on our Fees, Finance and Funding page. We can also give you advice and guidance on budgeting, dealing with debt and general money-saving tips, as you’ll see below.
Understanding student loans
You might be applying for the Advanced Learner Loan or higher education Student Finance Package, and even though the idea of starting a new course is exciting, it’s important that to take the time to stop and reflect before you make a commitment. Take a closer look at how studying may affect your income, and if you can manage on reduced working hours. You should also ensure you’re eligible for a student loan. If you’re in doubt about anything, speak to us, or seek advice from Money Advice Service on 0808 800 0118 before completing a student loan application.
Getting a bank accounts
There are a number of different types of bank accounts available, including basic, low interest, student and budgeting. Take a look around and compare your different options. With a student account, you may benefit from special offers including railcards, high street discounts and extended overdrafts, so decide which is best for your lifestyle.
Don’t forget if you are studying on courses at levels 1, 2 and 3, a student account will not be appropriate as this is designed for university level students and you should be looking at other types of accounts such as basic bank accounts.
If you struggle with planning and organising, you may want to look at a budget account, where all your direct debits and standing orders are paid separately from your current account, meaning you can easily see how much money you need to pay bills, and how much you can spend and save.
Using an overdraft
Overdrafts can give you an extra buffer whilst you’re waiting for loans, grants or wages to be paid, but be careful you’re not charged any fees for going into your overdraft – whether it’s planned or unplanned.
If you’re considering opening a student account with an overdraft facility, you will require a UCAS offer letter and documentation such as passport, birth certificate as proof of identity.
The importance of budgeting and planning ahead
If you’re receiving student maintenance loan payments, grants, or any other form of funding, you might only receive money at certain times of the year. You’ll need to plan how to use this money carefully to afford bills, food, toiletries and clothing throughout the year, and not spend it all in the first few months.
You’ll have expected costs – such as rent, utilities and food - which you can plan ahead for you, but you also need to be prepared for something unexpected too. You might also want to travel during your study breaks, buy a car, or get a deposit together for a home when you graduate. To do all this, you’ll need to budget your outgoing costs, and save money where you can.
If you don’t budget effectively, you may find that you miss payments, which can result in expensive late fees, a poor credit rating, you falling into arrears, and even losing your property. It’s important you are aware of the consequences of a commitment, and what happens if you miss a payment.
Save where you can with a rainy day fund
Savings accounts can be a useful way to separate your savings for day-to –day spending with money set aside for future plans or emergencies. Online banking is a great way to manage your accounts and setting up a rainy day fun can provide a safety net if you need money urgently, perhaps for a lost phone, an outfit for an interview, or a bill you forgot about.
Don’t forget, you can try and make savings every day too. Use your NUS card for discounts, barter/haggle where possible, use price comparison websites for anything you need to find the best price, and recycle or re-use whatever you can!
Don’t bury your head in the sand
According to The Money Charity, 50% of students say that fears over their finance could affect their studies. If anything is bothering you, even if it’s the smallest thing, it’s vital that you seek help and avoid common mistakes before any debt you might have spirals out of control.
We can help you recognise any money problems and make a realistic budgeting plan. Using credit to pay credit can just results in more problems, and ignoring letter & demands for payment will not make the problem go away. You may need to speak to your creditors to come up with a solution, and our team can help you do that.
Book in with our advisors
All our advisors are fully supportive and will not judge you at all, no matter what your circumstances might be. They are experienced in money matters and trained to help with sensitive issues such as financial hardship. Our team can help you with a range of welfare support, and connect you to an organisation who can help further, such as groups who may be able to speak to you debtors and arrange a payment schedule. Just speak to reception at your campus, or call the Careers & Welfare team on 03333 222 444.
Extra help from specialist organisations
As well as our Careers & Welfare team, you can also get specialist finance advice and debt support from a range of organisations and charities. These include:
- Step Change Debt Charity 0800 138 1111 www.stepchange.org
- National Debt line 0808 808 4000 www.nationaldebtline.org
- Debt Support Trust 0800 085 0226 www.debtsupporttrust.org.uk
- Local Citizen Advice Bureau 03444 111 222 www.citizensadvice.org.uk
Helena Kenedy Foundation
The Foundation provides support to students whose personal and financial circumstances make progression to higher education difficult. We provide vital financial support to our award winners, but we know that worries about money are only part of the story. The HKF award is a package of financial, personal and practical support and opportunities designed to support transition into higher education, enhance the student’s experience at university and improve chances of employment after graduation.
To make a new application click here
For Saving and returning to an application click here
Please note a student can start an application, save and return later to complete. However changes cannot be made once the final submission is made.
Applicants do not need to indicate which award they are applying for, but if their personal circumstances, HE or course choice match the criteria for any of the awards it is important that they include this information in their personal statement so that we can match them to the available awards.
Your college can submit up to five applications unless it is part of the College Badged Bursary Scheme and if your student is successful they will usually receive a bursary of up to £2,250 together with ongoing support, mentoring and training to help them achieve their potential.
Cost of living
We understand that things are difficult for many families. So, we have put together some information to help you get the support you need.
Remember The Manchester College offers a range of support via Access to Industry which can be found at https://www.tmc.ac.uk/study-with-us/fees-finance-funding/
As the weather starts to get colder, we are focusing on heating bills, but information on welfare matters including mental health and wellbeing can be found at https://www.tmc.ac.uk/student-life/support/useful-contacts/
The main discount schemes for heating are Warm Home Discount and Cold Weather Payments. You may also qualify for the Winter Fuel Payment. Individual energy suppliers will also provide information and support. If you are struggling to pay, they have a legal responsibility to help you to get an affordable solution. Details of each of these below along with information on how you can save money if you have a combi boiler.
Nesta’s Money Saving Boiler Challenge
Innovation charity Nesta has launched a campaign, supported by Which?, Octopus Energy, EDF Energy, E.ON Next and Energy UK, to help 1 million people save around £112 per year and cut their carbon emissions by 172kg by changing a single setting on their combi boiler this winter. You can find more by clicking on the online tool here:www.moneysavingboilerchallenge.com
Warm Home Discount
How much is it? £140 off your bill over the winter.
Who qualifies? Those getting the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit. Those on a low income who qualify against their supplier's criteria. The scheme opens for applications from November.
More information at: www.gov.uk/the-warm-home-discount-scheme, from your energy supplier, or call the Warm Home Discount scheme on 0845 603 9439.
Cold weather payments
How much is it? £25 for each seven-day period where the temperature is below zero (on average) between November 1 and March 31.
Who qualifies? Qualifying people should get the payment automatically, but if you get Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance or income-related Employment and Support Allowance, and you have a baby or a baby under 5 comes to live with you, notify your Job Centre Plus or you will not get the payment.
More information at: www.gov.uk/cold-weather-payment
Winter fuel payments
How much is it? Between £250 and £600 to help with the cost of heating bills.
Who qualifies? People born before 25 September 1956. Those getting a state pension will get automatic payment, or most social security benefits will get the payment automatically, but if you do not get either of these, for example, if you have deferred your State Pension, you may need to make a claim. If you have been living overseas recently, you may need to make a claim too.
More information at: www.gov.uk/winter-fuel-payment
Support from Energy Suppliers
British Gas: support includes the British Gas Energy Support Fund for customers, and the Individual and Families Support Fund, which doesn't require you to be a customer. These are for people with existing fuel debts. More information on the grants can be found here, and more information on their support if you are struggling to pay can be found here. You can also call them on 0333 202 9804.
EDF Energy: have a customer support fund which helps vulnerable customers. You can get advice and support here, and more information about their customer support fund here.
SSE: if you're having trouble paying your bills, get more information here. They also partner with charity Charis who provide grants and support to customers suffering hardship, more information can be found here.
E.ON: call 0345 052 0000 for advice and support paying bills, or get more information here. They also have a support fund: you can get more information here, or call 03303 80 10 90.
Octopus Energy: customers struggling to pay their bills can get more information here, including information on their support fund.
OVO Energy: provide information and support to customers struggling to pay their bills here.
Scottish Power: as well as help to pay if you are struggling, a hardship fund is available for some customers. You can find advice on helping to pay your bill here, and on their hardship fund here.
Shell Energy: provide information and support to customers struggling to pay their bills here, and information on their support fund for customers here.
Priority services register
All UK energy companies offer a Priority Services Register. The Register is a free support service to help people in vulnerable situations. It can include help making your bills clear, free gas safety checks, free meter relocation if you struggle to reach it currently. Get in touch with your energy supplier to see if you qualify. Open to those who are: aged over 65; with children under 5; have a disability or medical dependenc;, are living independently for the first time; recovering from hospital treatment; or have recently been bereaved, had a break-up or job loss.
Advice and support with payments and debt
National Debtline gives independent advice on any debts – call them on 0800 808 4000.
StepChange are a leading charity that will help if you're struggling with bills. Call them on 0800 138 1111 or visit their website.
Money Helper is a government advice service – check the website or call 0800 138 7777.
Citizens Advice have a dedicated page on their website for advice about energy issues at www.citizensadvice.org.uk/energy. There is also a free web chat at the website. Call 0808 278 7803 for advice, or to book a local appointment (for example, at Lees Library Hub).
PayPlan provide free debt advice, visit www.payplan.com or call 0800 280 2816.
The Debt Advice Foundation are a specialist debt charity offering free, confidential advice on any aspect of debt - visit www.debtadvicefoundation.org or call 0800 043 40 50.