So, picking up from last time, the next step in my university endeavours was to apply for student finance. Even if you are staying at home for university, and won’t need to take out a loan for maintenance (accommodation and living costs), you will still need a tuition loan. This is really important to remember, as you hear the debt-crippling stories of people who didn’t realise that they still need to pay £9,250 a year if they want to be taught at a university.
Applying is super simple; just like UCAS, it is all run through one website, Student Finance England, and has step-by-step guides to applying. You can choose to apply for just tuition fees, just maintenance, or both. You can apply for up to £8,900 a year for maintenance, however dependant on your household income, you may not get the full amount. I found the website very easy to use, and despite being told it would take at least three weeks to find out what finance I’m eligible for, it only took around 10 days to received my entitlements. The earlier you apply, the quicker you will hear back from them.
After this, you are all set to apply to accommodation, if you need to. I deeply recommend waiting to find out what your loan will amount to before applying for accommodation in case your loans come back lower than anticipated and you are stuck with accommodation you can’t afford. Believe me, student accommodation is NOT CHEAP, by any means. Therefore, I recommend applying to services such as UNIDays and NUS cards to get exclusive student discounts, making all your other expenditures less painful. Joining a Facebook group for your university and posting a message asking for second hand textbooks is also a great way to save huge amounts; I got seven responses within a day, and everyone was selling their books at fantastic prices!
Accommodation was very easy to apply for, however this may vary depending on your university. Thankfully, University of Surrey was very straightforward, but as long as you stick to the application deadline, you should be fine. Now, by the time results day comes around and your place is hopefully confirmed, everything should be set in place alongside your offer!