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At a glance: How to manage money when you are a student.
Reading time: 2 mins
This summary covers England and Wales
For a version of this summary that covers Scotland, please click here.

How can I make the most of my money?

There are lots of things you can do as a student that help you manage your money well. These include making a budget, choosing the right bank account, and finding out what financial help is available. Most students have some sort of debt. It’s important to understand which types of debt can cause problems.


Work out a budget to include your income and expenditure while you are studying. Decide what period the budget covers. For example, term-time or including holidays. You can use our Digital Advice Tool to work out your budget.

Bank accounts

Most major banks offer student accounts. When choosing an account, consider:

  • The amount of interest-free overdraft you can have.
  • The charges and interest on overdrafts and loans.
  • How long you can use the same account after graduation

Student loans

Student loans help to pay for tuition fees and living costs. How much you can get depends on:

  • When you started university.
  • Whether you are a full or part-time student.
  • Whether you live in England or Wales.
  • The type of course you are studying.
  • Your personal circumstances.

Other types of financial help

  • Disabled Students’ Allowance

    This can help with the costs of attending your course. It is available to full and part-time students.

  • Childcare Grant

    This is money to help you pay your childcare costs while you are a full-time student.

  • Adult Dependants’ Grant

    This is extra help if you are a full-time student and have an adult who depends on you financially, who is not an adult son or daughter.

  • Parents’ Learning Allowance

    If you have dependent children, you may be able to get help with the costs of studying.

  • There are trusts and charities who may provide financial help to students.
  • If you are a single parent or have a disability, you may be able to get certain welfare benefits.
  • Your university or college should have access to money they can give as a grant or a loan in cases of hardship.
  • You can get some paid employment to help you manage.


Going to university may involve getting into some sort of debt. Not all debt is problem debt. It is important to know when you might need help to deal with your debts and what your options are.

There can be serious consequences for not paying priority debts, such as losing your home or having your electricity disconnected. Priority debts include:

  • rent arrears
  • council tax arrears (if you have not applied for a student exemption)
  • gas or electricity arrears with your current supplier.

With non-priority debts creditors do not have extra powers to make you pay. Common examples include:

  • credit cards
  • bank loans
  • overdrafts

Learn more about this topic

If you want to learn more about this topic, you can read our in-depth guide.

Read in-depth-guide

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