Student Finances

‘Living in London doesn’t have to be ridiculously expensive’


...but it may seem that way, especially at the beginning. Budgeting is the number one concern for many new students. This page has advice and links to further information on:


Managing Your Money

  • Despite the temptation of suddenly having a lump sum in your bank account when your student loan is paid, don’t spend it all at the beginning of the year.
  • Pay for your essential expenses first, extras second. So, pay your rent or halls of residence fees, buy your books and stock up your kitchen before buying a new mobile phone or booking a holiday.
  • Cut your bills as low as you can. Make sure you are getting a good deal before you sign up for anything by doing some research on websites like MoneySavingExpert.
  • The UCL Union has information about hardship funding, employment and tax, as well as many other issues that may affect you while you are a student.

Eating and Shopping

  • If you are in self-catering accommodation, shopping and cooking for yourself saves a lot of money compared to eating out all the time.
  • Shop at markets for some of the cheapest and freshest food. It can also be fun. Berwick Street market is only 15 minutes walk from UCL.
  • Check out the UCL and UCL Union shops, cafes and bars for reasonably priced food, drinks and other items like newspapers and art supplies.
  • Markets also have lots of other bargains like clothes, household items and secondhand books.
Tips from UCL Students

‘Bring a packed lunch- it's not nerdy and it helps!’


‘Supermarkets often reduce food just before closing, so that’s a good time to do the shopping.’


‘Make the Time Out Cheap Eats Guide your bible so that way you save money and have a scrummy meal at the same time. Also, if you don’t drink a night out becomes even cheaper.’


‘Take advantage of living in London with the January sales, Easter sales, Summer sales etc. Look around as there are student discounts absolutely everywhere.’


' has good discounts for students and some of their profits go to charity'



  • Go to Student Union activities and social functions, including those run by Clubs and Societies, for cheap entertainment at student prices.
  • Find out when local cinemas have discount nights or two-for-one deals
  • Check out Time Out magazine (cheapest to buy in the UCL Union shop!) for free listings, and discount coupons for events, attractions and restaurants.
Tips from UCL Students

‘For free things to do, visit the museums UCL has, such as the Grant Museum and Petrie Museum. The British Museum is only a couple of minutes away and is a fantastic place to visit on an empty afternoon. There are parks dotted about- a nice place to spend a lazy afternoon.’


‘Look on websites like and search Google for cheaper tickets for music gigs, galleries and the theatre. It does pay off. You can get the very best tickets for less than half price.’



  • Use public transport to travel to UCL and within London. If you drive to UCL, you’ll have to pay the Congestion Charge of £8 a day, and parking will be very expensive (if you can find it at all!)
  • Full time students are eligible for a discount to travel on London public transport: see the Transport for London site
  • Full time students are also eligible for a Young Person's Railcard which entitles you to a third off rail fares - really worthwhile if you regularly travel by train

Part Time Jobs

Many students have part time or casual jobs while they are studying. This can be a good way to supplement your income, give you some extra spending money, and help develop skills for your CV.

However, it is important to remember that working too many hours outside your academic commitments could hinder your progress in your degree. Your degree is your first priority so make sure you fit your part-time work around your classes, not the other way around!

Getting full-time work during your summer vacation is one option to help you save money for the following academic year.

If you’re looking for a job, visit the UCLU JobShop for part-time or vacation job opportunities.

If Things Go Wrong

Act quickly! Don't hide the bills and think they'll go away on their own. Financial worries rarely go away on their own, so please visit one of the support services at UCL.

Student Funding Team

The Student Funding Team offers a drop-in counter service from 10am-4pm Mon-Fri at the Student Centre (Chadwick Building). For complex and sensitive issues, you can also book an appointment with the Student Funding Welfare Adviser.

Student Union Rights and Advice

A free, confidential and independent advice and support service. Trained and experienced case workers are available to give advice on a range of topics such as housing, employment and immigration. There are multiple drop-in sessions during the week, at the Bloomsbury Building, or you can arrange an appointment using the contact form.

Financial Assistance

UCL Student and Registry Services - Under 'Fees and Financial Support' there is a list of the various forms of financial support available. The Student Funding Team offers a drop-in counter service from the Student Centre in the Chadwick Building.

UCL Union - Provides information about Access to Learning Funds, Housing Benefits, Emergency Loans and more

Student Finance England. This site also includes specific information for part time students, students with children and students with disabilities.

You can also search for funding sources on Student Money (a database of awards and scholarships) and StudentCashPoint, (a free website to help you find funding).

Financial Support for Students with Disabilities - If you have a disability there is a range of financial help available: Student Disability Services at the Student Support Centre on Level 4 of the Institute of Education has all this information.

Page last modified on 07 nov 16 14:33