Before starting uni, I panicked at the prospect at navigating the student grant system in order to finance my degree at Newcastle. Tuition fees are currently £9,250 for a three-year course, which is pretty standard across the country. But it’s a remarkably simple process! An online application to Student Finance England website was quickly dealt with. The money gets paid direct to the University, term by term, and you get a notification when this has occurred.
The University’s team at Student Services were really helpful, both on the phone before I arrived, and now that I’m studying here. They explained the living allowance (a maintenance grant), that works in the same way as the tuition grant, except the money gets paid into my nominated account. If you are living in halls, the rent for that also gets paid direct to the Uni.
BTW my friends here from Scotland tell me the process for loan and grant applications is a bit different if you live there (and in Wales and Northern Ireland), but basically the same system applies.
As for utility bills – electricity, etc – they are included in the room rent in halls for first year. I’m now in my second year and I share a house in Jesmond with three other Newcastle Uni students and we set up a four-way payment on a fantastically useful website called Bill Hub. It splits the bills between everyone in the house for you, preventing any arguments about who owes what. We pay our rent to the landlord separately, by direct debit on a monthly basis.
I lived in Castle Leazes Halls in my first year. It was a great place to be when you don’t know anyone as you’re side by side with 1200 other undergrads so you’ll quickly make friends. There’s a kitchen on each floor if you choose the self-catering option, which I did. If you’re not handy with a whisk you can budget ahead and buy a catering package opt-in.
So how am I going to pay it back? Well that all starts when I get a job and reach a certain income threshold. I’ve decided to worry about that later . . .