So they’re in. Their place has been confirmed, they know when and where they’re going. How can you help your student in their preparations?
Once your student has confirmed their place at university, there are a number of things you can do to help them get ready for student life.
Keep on top of deadlines
Make a note of all the key university deadlines.
There are a number of practical ways that you can help your student prepare for their life at university, for example:
- being confident in safely using different forms of public transport
- know how to use a washing machine/launderettes
- understand their bank account and ensure they have funds to cover their living costs while they wait for their first student loan payment
- learning some basic cooking skills and recipes
- making sure they have had vaccinations for MenACWY (meningitis) and MMR (your current Doctor will be able to arrange these)
- check they know how to find and register with a dentist and doctor (Bath Spa has a University Medical Service your student can register with during their registration with the University)
- make sure they know how to do an online shop, or maybe you can arrange for a regular delivery - parents and supporters tell us they like arranging this, as it helps to ensure their student is eating a balanced diet!
- helping your student understand how to plan a basic budget for living costs and have a conversation in advance about the ways in which you may be able to financially assist them
Even if you’re not the world’s best chef, you’ll still be able to offer some useful tips on cooking. Make sure they at least know the basics and have a few meals that they are comfortable preparing.
By now, you and your student should have a good idea of their budget per term. If this is the first time your student has had control of their finances, it’s worth taking time to talk through with them the basics of budgeting.
UCAS will send your student a status code in their newsletters which can be used as proof of status as a future student. This makes opening a student account quick and easy.
All the major high street banks offer student accounts and some provide better benefits than others. Helping compare the various options and working out which is best for them is a good exercise. Banks are keen to entice students with freebies, but do look beyond these. It’s often features such as the level of interest-free overdraft that may prove more essential.
When you’re comparing 0% overdraft facilities on over, check whether the headline amount is guaranteed, or just ‘up to’, and if there are any other restrictions.
- Council tax – if everyone living in a household is a full-time student, they won’t have to pay council tax. If someone in the household isn’t a student they’ll get a council tax bill, but will qualify for a discount.
- Utility bills – if your student is moving into private accommodation, utility bills may not be included, so make sure they’re aware of what’s expected for them to pay.
- Internet – probably a priority for your student! Many universities offer a free wireless connection in halls.
- TV licence – students need a TV licence if they watch or record television programmes as they’re being shown on TV, on any device. They don’t need one to use a streaming service, such as Amazon Prime or Netflix, but a subscription may be required.
- Insurance – check the small print of your home contents insurance, which may already cover your student's belongings when away from home, or see if this could be added on to your existing policy. If not, it may be worth getting them a separate policy.
Paying fees and living costs
Your student doesn't have to pay up front for tuition fees. The cost can be covered by a loan supplied by regional student finance provider (e.g. Student Finance England). As well as the fee loan, your child can take out a maintenance loan to contribute to their living costs – rent, food, bills, transport and course materials.
How much your student repays will be based on how much they earn, not how much they borrowed. They won’t start repaying their loan until they’ve finished university and are earning over £26,575.
Example: Their annual income is £28,800 and they are paid a regular monthly wage. This means that each month their income is £2,400 (£28,800 divided by 12). This is over the monthly threshold of £2,214. Their income is £186 over the threshold (£2,400 minus £2,214). meaning that they will pay back £16 (9% of £186) each month.
For a full explanation, please visit the official Student Finance website.
Many universities offer non-repayable bursaries to eligible students.
Bath Spa University offers bursaries to students from lower income households to help with their living costs.
Many students choose to work part-time alongside their studies to help with their living costs.
At Bath Spa University, students are allowed to work up to 15 hours per week. The University’s JobShop supports students by advertising approximately 2000 jobs a year.
When to apply for student finance
Your student can apply for student finance as soon as they have submitted their UCAS application form. They should start their application as soon as possible.
Apply early for student finance – money matters, and sorting it out early can avoid major headaches down the line.
A big question to ask is where your student is going to live.
Bath Spa University offers a range of self-catering options including student halls on campus and in the city, and we can also offer advice on finding private accommodation.
Links and resources
We recommend the following resources:
- Dr Dominique Thompson – award winning GP, young people’s mental health expert, TEDx speaker, author and educator, with over 20 years of clinical experience caring for students: a range of guides, videos and publications for you and your student
- Leapskills – parent and supporter edition, developed by Unite students this guide helps you support your student with blended learning
- Safe student online – expert advice on digital safety
- Let’s Talk About It – online safety
- Student Space – Student Space is a collaborative mental health programme to support students through the unique circumstances created by the coronavirus pandemic.