Starting at University and living away from home can be a little daunting for new students but there is lots of information available to help you plan how much you are spending. It’s important to understand what income you have coming in and how much you are spending to avoid getting into debt. You need to prioritise tuition fees you may have to pay, rent, heating/electricity bills, materials for your studies, travel costs and food. If your expenditure is greater than your income, see if you can spend less money on things like socialising and clothes. You also need to make sure you are meeting payment deadlines to avoid unnecessary additional costs. If you feel you need more help with budgeting, a one to one session can be booked with one of the Advice Service advisors.
A part-time job is an excellent way of getting some extra money and also developing your skills outside of your studies. Visit the CareerZone in the Forum and speak to the advisers who can help you find part time work. You can also search for jobs online by logging into MyCareerZone.
Make sure you shop around for a Student Bank account that’s right for you. Don’t be enticed by free gifts unless they will genuinely be of use to you. Many accounts offer interest free overdrafts, so sign up for one of these if you feel you will need to use your overdraft. This is a much safer way of borrowing money than from a loan company with high interest rates. See http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/students/Student-bank-account
for further information.
Most full-time students aren’t eligible for any welfare benefits, but those who have children or who have a disability may be entitled to some support. The Advice Service can give you basic information, and if necessary refer you to a specialist adviser.
If you only work during the University holidays and won’t exceed the tax free personal allowance, you can apply to be paid without having tax deducted. If you work in term time you may end up paying tax during the year but not earn over the threshold in which case you can claim the tax back. Income tax starts at 20% once you reach the threshold. The current personal tax threshold for 2020/21 is £12,500.
Full-time registered students are usually exempt from paying council tax. If you are living in private rented accommodation, you should notify the local council when you move into your house of all people who are living there. If you are living in a shared house and one person stops studying on a full- time basis they will need to pay Council Tax. There is a 25% reduction if only one resident of the property has to pay, and if you have had to interrupt your course you should still be exempt. If you are a full-time student and live within the Exeter City Council area the University will automatically confirm these details with the Council on your behalf. If you live in any other council area you will need to get a Council Tax exemption certificate from the University’s SID desk in the Forum - log an enquiry via SID Online