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At a glance: How to manage money when you are a student.
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This summary is not relevant in England and Wales
For a version of this summary that covers England and Wales, 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. 

Tuition fees

If you live and study full time in Scotland the Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS) may pay your tuition fees. The SAAS uses several factors to decide how much it will pay. These include: 

  • Your age 
  • Your family situation, for example if you have any dependent children 
  • Where you study 
  • If you have taken any previous courses 
  • What course you will take. 

Student loans and bursaries

You can apply to SAAS for a loan to help with living costs. The help you get depends on your household income, the type of course you are studying and whether your course is full or part-time. 

You can also apply for a bursary to help with living costs. This is in addition to your student loan. The amount you get will depend on your household income. You do not have to pay a bursary back. 

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.  
  • Lone Parents’ Grant  
    This is extra help if you are a full-time student and are bringing up children on your own. It depends on your income and does not have to be paid back if you complete your course. 
  • 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.

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