31 July 2017

Getting ready to start uni?

Change of any kind can be a bit nerve-wracking. Here's how to make starting your new life as a student feel a bit easier.

University Checklist

  • Celebrate
  • Open a current account
  • Find somewhere to live
  • Check if you need home insurance
  • Sort out a student loan

Open a student current account

Whether you're relying on loans, getting a part-time job or simply selling off one of your least favourite Picassos, you'll need an account to manage your money.

Student accounts generally offer good deals and it's a good idea to open one as soon as you can so you're ready to set up your income and payments and do useful things like plan your budget.

You can open a FlexStudent account with Nationwide two months before you start your course (and up to two months after you start). FlexStudent is totally fee-free and you get a range of features to help you stay on top of your money, not just in your first term, but throughout your course and after you graduate.

To be eligible, you just have to be over 18 and been accepted on a full-time UCAS course running for at least two years at a UK institution.

Find somewhere to live

If you’re accepted to your first choice university you should have accommodation sorted by now. But, if you’re going through clearing or don’t get the grades you need to get into your first choice university, applying for accommodation should be at the top of your to-do list. You should find an online application form for university accommodation on your university's website.  

You might not have a choice, but think about where you'd ideally like to live and what your priorities are. A room on or close to campus could save you on transport costs and commuting time, but might be more expensive than a room slightly further away.  

If your university doesn't offer its own accommodation, their housing office should be able to help you to find somewhere.

Check if you need home insurance

Home contents insurance can cover you if you suffer loss or damage to your valuable items as a result of theft, fire or floods while you're at uni.

With any luck, your parents' home insurance policy will cover you. For example, if your parents have Nationwide home insurance, cover for student belongings comes as standard. Home Insurance Essentials can cover student belongings up to £5,000 and Home Insurance can cover up to £10,000. A quick phone call to the provider will confirm whether you're covered and also any limits or exclusions that may apply.

Some halls of residence and other university accommodation include home contents insurance in the rent. Check with their housing office to see what's covered. If you don't have it, or need extra coverage, you can look into taking out your own policy through a specialist student home contents insurance provider.

Sort out a student loan

If you're studying in the UK and starting this year, your university tuition fees will cost up to £9,250 a year. And then add to that your living costs: all your outgoings from food and entertainment to books.

If you don't have that money, you can take out a student loan with Student Finance. You'll be able to apply for a tuition fee loan (just for university fees) , and a maintenance loan (to cover your living costs) at the same time. You've probably already applied for your loans, but if you haven't it's not too late, although the money may not arrive until after term starts. And, if you thought you could manage without a loan and find yourself struggling to get by, you can still apply for a loan up to nine months into your course.

Visit the UK government Student Finance site for more info and how to apply.

Once all that's all out of the way, you'll have less stuff to worry about and more time for getting excited about what is going to be a fantastic adventure.

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