Managing your money at university

This webpage contains advice about managing your money whilst you are studying

Most students have a limited budget and will need good money management skills in order to pay bills and budget effectively for food and leisure. The key to managing money effectively is budgeting and living within your means. Your university may offer programmes to help develop money management skills. If you find yourself in difficulty with debt, you could see our help with debt website page, or contact us for debt advice.

This page gives information about:

Bills and budgeting

Living away from home means that you are responsible for paying your own bills. Below are some of the costs you will need to factor into your budget.

Council tax

Full-time students are exempt from paying council tax if they live in a student hall of residence, or in a house where everyone is exempt, for example, where all the residents are students. For further information about council tax eligibility see the government website.

TV licence

Anybody who watches or records live television using any kind of device, including laptops or mobile phones, is required to have a television licence.  Students living in halls of residence are covered for televisions in communal areas but would normally require a licence for a television in their own room. Students who live in shared accommodation with a joint tenancy agreement may only need one licence. Students whose accommodation is self-contained may still need a licence for their own TV. Students who move out of their term-time address over the summer can apply to TV Licensing for a refund. For further information on whether you need a licence and how to get one see the TV Licencing website.

Student travel

One of the biggest costs to any student can be travel.  However, many travel companies offer discounts to students or young people which can save them a lot of money.  Some will require you to buy a card or pass upfront, like the 16-25 railcard for discount on rail travel or the Young Persons Coach card for National Express journeys. For further details, contact the relevant public transport provider.

Money Helper

Money Helper offer free and independent advice on managing money. The website has a section on student and graduate money management, and offers useful tools such as a budget planner to help you identify where you might cut back on spending or ways to make your money go further. For further information, see the Money Helper website.

Student loans, bursaries, and scholarships

There are a number of different of ways in which students can get financial support to fund university courses and living expenses. Students may be entitled to a student loan and/or a grant depending on their individual circumstances. For further information, see the Student Loans Company website. Most universities have a hardship fund; however funds are limited and are only available to those in most need. Check with your student support services for information about any bursaries, scholarships and fee waivers that your university may offer. You can also take a look at the Student Loans Company website.

For further information on student funding providers, including those specific to pharmacy students, see our Finding funding guidance.

Mature students

Mature students are defined as any student aged 21 or over at the start of their studies. UCAS have a useful guide for mature students containing information about funding your studies, help with your UCAS application and the practicalities of preparing to study. Depending on individual circumstances, mature students may be eligible for additional financial assistance. For further information, see the government website.

Students with children 

Students with children may be able claim a childcare grant. Additional financial help in the way of a grant or benefits and/or tax credits may also be available. For further information on possible entitlement, see the government website.

Students with dependent adults

Students with dependent adults may be able to claim the adult dependents’ grant. An adult dependent can be:-

  • your husband/wife or civil partner
  • a partner you live with as a couple if you are aged 25 or over
  • another adult who depends on you financially.

For further information, see the government website.

Disabled students’ allowance (DSA)

DSA is available for students with a disability, long-term health condition, mental health condition or a specific learning difficulty such as dyslexia. Funding is awarded according to disability, not income. For further information, please see the government website.

International students

International students will need to show that they have enough money to support themselves whilst studying as part of the visa application. Many universities now ask international students for payment in advance for tuition fees and accommodation costs. For further information on fees, funding and support, see the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) website.

Pharmacy as a second degree

Students who are doing pharmacy as a second degree may not be eligible for student finance. For further information on what financial help might be available see the UCAS website.

Pharmacist Support bursaries and hardship grants

Student hardship grant

A one-off payment of up to £1,500 per academic year can be made available to students facing unexpected hardship, due to unforeseen circumstances such as ill-health, bereavement, or loss of income. NB Payments cannot be made towards tuition fees.

Find out more about the Student Hardship Grant

Pharmacist Support student bursary

The Pharmacist Support bursary will make awards to students who can demonstrate exceptional qualities to overcome an on-going adversity and financial hardship. Students must also be expected by their school of pharmacy to make a positive and excellent contribution to pharmacy in Great Britain. Most fully accredited schools of pharmacy in Great Britain are participating in our bursary scheme.

Students should check with their individual university for further details. Applications for the bursary are only accepted once a year and will have to be endorsed by your Head of School.

Find out more about the Pharmacist Support Student Bursary


This webpage was last reviewed in December 2023.

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Finding funding for students

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