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UCL Financial Advice and Support
One of the most important things you’ll learn as a student is how to manage your money. Knowing that your finances are under control means you can relax, concentrate on your studies and enjoy your time here at UCL.
If you’re from the UK, your student
loan and perhaps a maintenance grant, scholarship or part-time job will support
you while you’re at university.
If you’re from overseas, you still maybe eligible for some of the funding mentioned above. However managing your finances is even more important when you’re living away from home. And remember, when you’re budgeting you need to take into account your tuition fees and your living costs.
For more information about the cost of coming to the University and your funding options, take a look at the following pages:
Before you can go ahead and budget your weekly/monthly expenditure it is only sensible to have a rough idea of how much it will cost to attend University College London in the first place. Below we have provided an estimated guidance for cost of attendance. Please note this is only a approximate guidance and can change depending on individual circumstances.
A total cost of around £322 per week is considered to be a reasonable average over a 39-week year for a undergraduate student and 52 week year for postgraduates. (this includes the 30-week UCL academic year plus Christmas and Easter vacations).
Estimating ‘average’ costs is difficult because there’s no such thing
as an ‘average’ student – it all depends on factors like your accommodation, course and which part of London you are living in, plus your personal
circumstances, for some students this will influence the grants, loans and benefits you’re
The estimated costs below are for students living and studying in London for the 2014/2015 academic year. You should expect your total average living cost to be £12,558 each academic year. This breaks down as follows:
Per week (39 weeks)
Books and Equipment (Includes laptop)
*Travel can vary according to where your accommodation is located. This is the price for a weekly zone 1 Student Oyster pass.
These estimates are based on research such as the government’s Student Income and Expenditure Survey 2011/12 and UCL Access to Learning Fund guidelines 2013/14.
If you’re an international student considering study in the UK, take a look at the international student calculator to help you work out how to manage your money and build a budget for living and studying in the UK. It’s important for you to ensure you have sufficient funds before leaving home.
|Type||Occupancy||Average Cost Per Week||Length of Tenancy||Catering*||Inclusive Bills|
|UCL Halls||Single||£177||39 weeks||Breakfast & Dinner from Mon - Fri||Internet & utility|
|UCL Halls||Twin||£136||39 weeks||Breakfast & Dinner from Mon - Fri||Internet & utility|
|UCL Houses||Single||£144||39 weeks||Self Catering||Internet & utility|
|UCL Houses||Twin||£105||39 weeks||Self Catering||Internet & utility|
|ULU Halls||Single||£168||39 weeks||Breakfast & Dinner from Mon - Fri||Internet & utility|
|ULU Halls||Twin||£130||39 weeks||Breakfast & Dinner from Mon - Fri||Internet & utility|
|Private Shared Home (Based on 3 sharing)||Single||£130||52 weeks||N/A||Bills are not included (Average bills £20 per week)|
Please note the figures above are only a guidance for students. For more details regarding exact costs and the full variety of all UCL accommodation including en-suite accommodation please visit the UCL accommodation webpage.
*35 weeks excluding Bank Holidays and six UCL closure days.
The Budgeting Calculator
It may be tempting to spend your student funding straight away, but remember each payment has to last a whole term and it’s important to work out, and stick to, a budget. Students from Scotland receiving funding from the Student Awards Agency for Scotland will be paid monthly, but you’ll still need to budget carefully to get through term time and holiday periods. Plan ahead to make sure your course fees and living costs are covered and don’t forget you can have a separate loan to cover your tuition fees. If you’re from Wales there may be some grants to help with fees as well. Think about how long your student funding has to last you, and what your rent and other expenses are, such as utilities or phone bills and transport costs, so you know what money you have left. You may also want to think about protecting what’s valuable to you while you are a student by ensuring you have the appropriate insurance.
Why not try out the student budget calculator and see how well you manage your money: The Budgeting Calculator
General Money Saving Hints and Tips
sure you have checked that you are receiving all the relevant financial support
available. For example student loan, tuition fee loan, bursary, scholarship,
tax credit, and grants. If you are unsure you have everything you are entitled to contact the Student Funding Team.
•Use a budget planner to work out your incomings and outgoings. The Budget Calculator can help with this.
•Set up a student bank account with an interest free overdraft. Ensure not to exceed the overdraft limit as you will be charged. Where possible set up direct debits to avoid late payment of bills etc.
•Get a part time job. Working whilst studying can make all the difference to your financial needs. For more help with looking for work check out the part time job page below.
•Try not to buy items you don't need and be sure to take advantage of student discounts. Check out the NUS website for details.
•Shop around for the best deals on services, e.g. mobile phone contracts. We recommend using the pay-as-you-go option.
•Most importantly, don’t ignore financial difficulties; communicate with friends, family, tutors, student union or the Money adviser.
•Avoid the temptation to resort to using 'payday' loans. Payday loans are short-term lending often used by people to tide them over (to fill the gap until payday) when they have no other option. The typical APR offered by one of these companies is 4,200%, which means if you were to borrow £100 over 30 days you would have to repay approx. £136.72 (including interest and transaction fees).
•Whilst the pressure of managing your finances can be great, there are a range of support services available at the University to help you, and if you do find yourself in financial difficulty, you can always make an application to our Access to Learning Fund.
•Make sure you register with a local doctor or with the UCL health centre; if you’re taken ill you won’t want to discover that you can’t access the support you need.
Look after yourself too –
eat sensibly and pay attention to advice about diet, drink, drugs and sexual
health. For more information take a look at the UCLU Lifestyle webpage.
•When you go out leave your bank card at home - just take a set amount of cash for the night and stick to it.
Accommodation Hints and Tips
•Don’t wait until it’s too late; find out what accommodation is available to you and what conditions are attached. If you want halls, shared house or flat, start your search early with the university accommodation office.
•Most halls will have 42 week contracts with bills and internet included in the rent. Even though it is often cheaper to rent privately, remember that contracts are for 12 months and do not usually include utility bills or internet.
•For private accommodation, a deposit will be required, and some landlords or letting agencies will deduct an administration charge from your deposit. Therefore make sure there are no hidden charges that may come back to bite you.
•Remember to read contracts thoroughly and make sure you understand everything, including the “small print”, especially if you are renting a private house or flat and have to deal with a landlord or agency. Whenever possible try and secure single tenancy contract, instead of a joint contract, otherwise, if one of your friends moves out, you will have to pay their share of the rent if no-one else moves in.
•If you live in private accommodation, you should always check that there’s an up-to-date gas safety certificate too. Take care of your own security – keeping doors and windows locked, being aware of the local area, and making sure that you have some insurance for your belongings. You may need to check with your halls if they provide contents insurance.
•When you move into private accommodation in your second year, you may be placed on a provider's 'standard‘ utilities tariff. This is rarely the cheapest tariff to be on, so have a look at comparison websites such as mystudentbills to find the best deals offered by a range of suppliers.
•It is always a good idea to notify your utility suppliers that you and your housemates are new tenants when you first move in to ensure you are not left paying for someone else's usage.
•If you are responsible for utility bills, all tenants will be jointly responsible for payment. Make sure that you decide amongst yourselves how you are going to pay before a bill arrives.
•Remember that it is a criminal offence not to have a license if you watch or record live television programmes. A colour license costs £145.50 - see www.tvlicensing.co.uk for more details.
live in University accommodation, or in a house where everyone is classed as a
full-time student, you'll be exempt from paying Council Tax. To ensure your
council knows you are a student, download a council tax self
declaration certificate form.
For lots more useful tips about living in London visit the UCL accommodation website.
Food, Travel and Course Hints and Tips
•Try to cut down on takeaways and cook with your housemates to lower the cost.
•Make your own packed lunch - it's cheaper than buying food on campus.
•The website mysupermarket helps you find the best deals on products from across four major supermarkets.
•Give economy value brands a go - supermarketownbrandguide lists independent taste tests on thousands of economy products, giving you the prices and a score out of ten.
•If you have generous parents, ask them to get you a supermarket 'meal ticket' - your parents can load up the card and make sure you always have funds to buy your food and groceries. Ask at your nearest major supermarket for more details.
•16-25 Railcard: Costing £28 for a one-year railcard or £65 for the three-year option, the 16-25 Railcard gives you a third off rail travel in the UK, as well as other partner discounts. It's also available to over-26’s who are in full-time education.
•Student Oyster Photo card:
If you're studying full-time in London, you may want to buy a discounted
version of the Oyster card, the Student Oyster Photo card. Costing £10, it gives
a 30% discount on Travel card and
Bus Pass season tickets (covering periods of between one week and one year).
However, it does not offer discounts on Pay As You Go (PAYG) fares.
•Young Persons Coach card: National Express offers a Coach card to anyone aged 16 to 26, as well as to full-time students over 26. It gives a third off standard fares (excluding Eurolines) and costs £10 a year (plus £1.50 postage and packing).
•Use the excellent UCL libraries on campus - it's free and there is a comprehensive short-loan section. The library service offers a range of services and gives you the opportunity to renew your books by logging into your UCL account from anywhere.
•Discuss your reading list with tutor to identify the key textbooks you are likely to need.
•Research the internet for the cheapest prices for books and equipment. Remember, places such as eBay and Amazon may offer some of the books on your reading list and equipment at a competitive price.
•Remember that you will need to pay for any photocopying or printing that you do. Credit can be applied and used from your University ID card using the charge terminals at the main library, science library, DMS Watson building and even online.
•It is not essential that you buy a laptop, as the University has over 750 PCs in 30 computer workrooms across campus that will allow you to access a wide range of network resources.
Welfare and Support Team
At UCL we aim to provide excellent welfare support for both home/EU and international students. The welfare and support team consists of various experienced professionals who can support students with a range of issues.
You can contact any of the services listed below if you find yourself in need of support.
All services are totally confidential.
•UCL Union (UCLU) Rights & Advice Centre
•Life in London (Keeping safe, traveling and entertainment)
Being a student, whether an undergraduate or postgraduate, can be a stressful time.
You may have worries about your studies, financial concerns, problems with relationships or the difficulties of living in a big city far from family and friends. The Student Support team can help students deal with more personal issues such as the ones mentioned, but also issues with drug and alcohol, loneliness, anxiety, bereavement, depression and much more. For more information please visit UCL support pages
The welfare and support team
website also provides links to internal and external supporting websites:
•UCL - Harassment and Bullying
•UKCISA - Health Guide
•National Union of Students (NUS)
•Citizen’s Advice Bureau
•National Debt Line
•London - Night Line
•UK Department of Health
Part Time Work
The most common reason for part time work is to have a little extra income. But remember working part time can also provide you with vital work experience, which is great to add to your C.V. It will also give you the opportunity to build up your transferable skills, such as working in a team and working with the general public. Don't forget working is also a great way to meet new people and sometimes make lifelong friends/useful contacts and it’s a nice change from university life. Whether it is paid or unpaid work you do, you will always be increasing your list of references.
The University recommends that full-time undergraduate students do not work for more than 15 hours a week during term time.
The national minimum wage for an 18-20 year old is £4.98 per hour; for those aged 21 and above it is £6.19.
International students who wish to know if they can work in the UK under their student visa can get advice and guidance from the UKCISA working during your studies in the UK website.
Remember most students will have to pay income tax and national insurance.
For more information on tax and tax rates, visit HMRC income tax website
For more information on national insurance, visit HMRC National Insurance website
For general information regarding tax as a student visit Tax Guide for Students
The UCLU job shop offers an easy-to-use online jobs list for current students interested in seeking one off, part time or vacation work UCLU jobshop
- A shortlisting service through UCL Talent Bank
- Temporary positions
- Part-time / vacation work or other work experience opportunities
- Internship / placement programmes
- Full time graduate level jobs
- PhD studentships
UCL careers services can also
provide student support with job applications, interviews and
a professional C.V.
Working doesn’t necessary mean getting paid. Voluntary work is a excellent way of trying out difference things and offering your services free of charge. Like part time work, volunteering is a good way to gain new skills and experiences, and to meet new people. It is also satisfying to give your time and energy to improve the quality of life for others.
The Volunteering Services Unit (VSU) is UCLU’s dedicated facility for students who want to get involved with volunteering projects in the local community
Other useful websites to look for voluntary work across London are:
Choosing to study for a postgraduate qualification is a big commitment. As well as being time-consuming and hard work, it can be expensive. But help is available, whether through loans, bursaries, scholarships or charities. Explore your funding options here.
- For UK citizens the most popular and common form of PG funding is the Professional and Career Development Loans (PCDL). However this usually just covers the tuition fee's with a little left over for maintenance.
- The Alternative Guide to Postgraduate Funding Online is all about alternative sources of funding - especially charities - which can make awards (fees, maintenance, research costs) to any student regardless of subject, or nationality. The Alternative Guide Online contains a huge database of funding opportunities, comprehensive guidance, and numerous tools to help you prepare a winning grant application. UCL has purchased a licence to the Guide, and so it’s free for all students and staff to use! Login Now! If you are a prospective student who has applied to the university, please email to get an access PIN.
- Consult the following directories, which you're likely to find at the university careers service, library or council for voluntary service.
The Directory of Grant-Making Trusts (Directory of Social Change)
The Grants Register: the Complete Guide to Postgraduate Funding Worldwide (Palgrave Macmillan Ltd)
The Educational Grants Directory (Directory of Social Change)
- Don't forget to check out the Research Council grants. You may be eligible for awards from government agencies.
- If you are an international student searching for financial information about studying in the UK, please visit the UKCISA website.
- Remember to ask or even convince your employer to see if they can sponsor you to attend a PG course. Especially if your further study will help the company in the long term.
Access to Learning Fund/Hardship Fund
The Access to Learning Fund (ALF) and student Hardship Fund are both non-repayable discretionary funds.
These give students, facing hardship, extra financial support to access, and remain in, higher education. More specifically the funds can be used to:
•Meet specific course and living costs (not tuition Fees) which are not already met from other sources
•Assist if students are in financial hardship
•Provide emergency payments for unexpected financial crises
•Help students who may be considering giving up their course because of financial problems
The funds are administered by the Student Funding team. The Funds have a common assessment process but allow administrators to take a flexible approach and exercise discretion where appropriate.
It is easy to borrow money these days - and even easier to get into debt. Don't give up if you are having trouble managing your debts. There are always options available to you and people that can help you.
Tips to managing debt.
- Act fast – if you know you will struggle to make a payment, inform the person/company straight away. This will control the debt and stop it from getting bigger.
- Seek Help - There is nothing to be ashamed of. You will not be the first nor the last student who is having debt issues. Speak to professionals within the university such as tutors, the student union or the money adviser who can help guide and advise on how to manage your debts better. You can also speak to external professionals like the Citizen’s Advice Bureau, Step Change or the National Debtline.
- Pay in instalments - Many organisations understand that students can have issues with payments and fall into debt; Hence why they are flexible with setting up direct debit repayments of small amounts. They feel more happier knowing they will get what is owed to them eventually, rather than not getting it at all.
- Know your balance – its easy to continue to spend money without knowing the actually amount of money in your account. Online banking is a great way to keep track of your incomings and outgoings. If you find you need a credit card, look online for the best deals with the lowest interest rates. Be careful with credit, though, and always have a plan to repay it.
- Prioritise - Some debts are more important than others, so sort out any which could have serious consequences, such as not paying your rent, which could put you on the streets.
- Spend money wisely- Avoid impulse buying. It's easy to spend quickly, but much harder to pay off any debts you build up. It can take months or years to pay off an overdraft or credit card, or even longer if you have store cards or a loan as well. With careful budgeting you can avoid creating a difficult debt situation for yourself. Do a budget plan; having a budget plan will help you have a better understanding of your incomings, outgoings and what's left over, should mean you won't end up with huge bills you can't pay.
- Manage any debts you already have - If you do run into problems, try to lower your outgoings. Figure out what you can do without so you can make savings. Don't get another loan – you might just end up paying more interest. Instead, set up a realistic payment plan so you won't have to worry about it and you can focus on your studies instead.
- Dealing with personal finance issues is one of the most valuable lessons you'll learn as a student. So if you get into trouble, deal with it and learn from the experience. You'll put yourself in a stronger position to manage your financial health in your post-student life ahead.
Student Funding Welfare Adviser
At UCL we understand students can face a range of financial issues and we aim to help and advise you as much as possible, so you have a more control over your own financial situation. We offer information online and one-to-one support through appointments and a drop-in counter service to discuss any questions you may have. We can advise on a range of issues including budgeting your money, banks accounts, hardship fund, access to learning fund, student loan company funding, loans, bursaries and more.
The Student Funding Team offers a drop-in counter service which operates from G19 of the South Wing, Mon –Fri 10am-4pm. You can email the student funding team on firstname.lastname@example.org For those students who would like to discuss or ask a question over the phone please call 020 7679 0004.
Students with a more complex or sensitive circumstances can make an appointment with the Student Funding Welfare Adviser who can offer an appointment service every Tuesday between 2pm–5pm and Thursdays between 9.30am to 11am. This service aims to help students discuss any confidential financial problems they may have in person. The adviser can also help with the basics of financial management and budgeting as well as point you in the right direction should you require specialist support.
Appointments are held throughout the year at 4 Taviton Street which you can find using UCL's interactive maps website. You will need to buzz to enter the building. Please remember to bring your student ID card with you.
UCL offers a range of scholarships, grants and bursaries for Undergraduate and Postgraduate students, which we would advise you to explore.
All information accurate at time of publication
This article is provided by the Money Advice Service.
Useful links and Guides
General support with finances from external agencies – Please note UCL does not endorse the following links. We believe the links below maybe useful in supporting students during their time at UCL.
The Money Advice website is
excellent for all round student support. It has a very good budget planner as
well as other very useful tools, such
choosing a student bank account, and a
link to some useful guides from The National Association of Student Money
Advisers. The guides for 2013/14 are to
follow in the coming months.
The UCAS website has some basic money advice tools on figuring out a budget, balancing your work and studies and Managing debts.
Step Change previously known as The Consumer Credit Counselling Service (CSSS)
The Which website offers a comprehensive guide to university finance.
This is Money has an essential guide to help students manage their money better whilst at University.
Page last modified on 10 feb 14 12:29 by Mitesh Vagadia