As a student, and throughout my time in education since the government announced the £3,000 increase in student fees (and the additional £250 for most institutions), I have always wondered where my £9,250 actually goes. It is important to note for any non-UK readers that this money (thankfully) doesn’t come out of my own pocket, it comes out of the governments’. However, I do pay this back through a “graduate contribution scheme” where part of my paycheck every month goes straight to the government. The average ‘debt’ of a graduate in 2017 was roughly £50,000 after the already high-interest rate was raised. This ‘debt’ consists mainly of your student fees of £9,250 a year and up to £8,700 in maintenance loan - what the government give to you to pay your rent and eat with, and the amount will change depending on things like your family income.
But where does it go? It is automatically assumed that your fees will go to the cost of your lectures, seminars and workshops, exam entries (surprisingly, these aren’t free!), and the cost of your actual course. Some people believe that tuition fees should be lowered if your course doesn’t cost as much (for example English students should pay less than Geography students who may go on a lot of trips abroad) and this is something quite highly debated at the minute. But whether you agree with this or not, there are a lot of other things your tuition may actually go towards that you might not think of.
If you are concerned about what your tuition fee goes towards for any particular university that you are studying at or thinking of studying at, the best place to check is their website. Most universities have this information published, though you may have to search a bit. If you still can’t find it, definitely email or phone the university and hopefully they would be happy to help you.
Hi guys! First of all I want to say thank you for the warm welcome from the writers team as I am new! I’m incredibly excited to start writing and working with all of you!
I am a first year studying Media, Communications and Cultural Studies at the wonderful Newcastle University. I absolutely love university, however I just can’t overlook the stress that student finance has brought me.
Before I even start, my first piece of advice is to START YOUR FINANCE APPLICATION EARLY. Very early, as soon as humanly possible as I often wonder if all the messing around with them could’ve been avoided if I didn’t put off my application to the last few weeks.
First of all, my background is incredibly complicated. My parents surnames do not match up, I was born in Ireland so my birth certificate is in Gaelic, and I had no photographic ID (such as a passport or a driver’s license). I thought I was a British citizen when in fact I was an EU citizen, and knowing that from day one would’ve made my process so much easier.
Student finance sent back my evidence and completely rejected my application and asked for documents from the Irish embassy (which I couldn’t get as I didn’t have an Irish passport either). I explained this on one of the first of many phone calls to their advisors. I was told to get a British passport as I was eligible for one. This is £100 that my single dad with 2 kids relying on benefits just didn’t have. Alas, I sorted the passport, sent a form off to SF and hoped for the best. At this point, university was fast approaching, results day was incredibly close and I was out of my mind with nerves.
They then told me I needed to prove that my mum and dad were divorced. Fine, okay, I sent the forms off and went to university. I then waited 6 weeks for them to process everything, with nothing coming of it. At this point, I was massively short of money and relying on my boyfriend who I live with for everything. I then found out they sent back my documents without knowing! So I sent them back again, and then again once more until finally I got that blessed text telling me my money was on its way!
My biggest piece of advice other than starting early would definitely have to be try to make sure you have all the documentation you need before even sending them away to be processed. Calling their helpful staff will be useful however be aware that every phone call I made I was told different things, so maybe call up a few times! The stress can be massively overwhelming, combined with that of your year 13 exams and results day, and maybe moving cities for university, so please take my advice if you are applying!
To anyone starting sixth form, or university this year, enjoy it! I regret not being more organised, as well as not making the most of those 2 years. Good luck!
Dealing with loss at Christmas can be so heartbreaking. You feel as though something is missing, something just isn’t there that’s supposed to be. Almost like leaving the house with the feeling of forgetting something, but you can’t quite figure out what.
I lost my nan about a year and a half ago, and Christmas has been a difficult time since, which is weird because Christmas is supposed to be about happiness and fun. Knowing that there’ll always be that seat empty at the table at Christmas dinner, or one less gift to buy and wrap is so so difficult, I would think for everyone. I am still grieving for her, and I will be for quite a while and that’s okay!
Everyone has their own way of grieving, and the process of grief can be made all the more difficult by the festivities at Christmas, the constant reminders of family and sharing and love, but I think it is important to know that no one is alone in this. No one should ever feel alone due to grief, especially at Christmas when many people focus on family.
Giving advice to someone who has lost a loved one is hard, because like I said, everyone grieves differently. One piece of advice many people give is to try to remember the good times you had with your loved one, and talk about those memories! Through Twitter, a private blog for yourself or talking to a friend, just talk to someone! Don’t rush yourself through the grieving process, remember that it’s okay to cry and be upset and just miss that person for a while, as it is all part of what you’re supposed to do.
I will put a link below to a page from the charity MIND about bereavement as this is a page I found quite useful in working out just what I was feeling and a healthy way of dealing with it all.
To anyone grieving at Christmas, or missing a passed loved one, please remember that it is okay to not be okay! I will be thinking of you, and I do understand the feelings you may be going through. Merry Christmas x
https://www.bereavementadvice.org/ - a useful charity that has a helpline that you can call if you don’t feel like you can/safe enough to talk about your personal feelings.
https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/guides-to-support-and-services/bereavement/#.XAwOtWj7RPY - the page is not very detailed but lists the effects of bereavement as well as useful contacts you can go to depending on your situation.