Finance Advice

The Student Advice Centre offers support in all areas of finance that can affect you in your life as a University student. You can book an appointment to talk to one of our advisers, or just browse our resources.

Our Services

For all of your Finance queries, the Student Advice Centre is online all year round to support you with your finances. If you need to talk to someone in private about your issue or experience, you can book an appointment with one of our Student Advice team advisers to talk confidentially through any questions you may have.

We understand that issues can arise when dealing with Student Finance England/Wales/NI and SAAS and can provide support and guidance on these issues. We offer guidance on managing independent status, estrangement issues, missing loan and entitlement decisions when dealing with Student Finance. We also deal with debt management, welfare benefits, overdrafts, consumer complaints as well as assisting students who require hardship money from the Student Financial Support Fund (hardship). We can talk you through any pre-entry or future funding queries you may have.

Our staff can advise on bursaries, scholarships and funding available to students from various avenues. The team can also assess whether your income is being maximised and if not then what measures can be taken.

Not only do we support you but our advisers can also represent you in specific situations, for example, benefit appeals. We are members of NASMA (National Association of Student Money Advisers) which means we receive relevant training and up to date resources to handle any financial issues you may experience as a student.

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Energy Bill Increase

We have pulled together some FAQs surrounding the energy crises happening in the UK. These cover why you may be experiencing increased energy bills, what to factor in if you're moving from Halls to private accommodation this year, as well as some options to get an energy loan from the government.

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Our Resources

We have listed some of the key financial issues you may be experiencing & how we advise you seek support for each. Can't find what you're looking for? Chat to an advisor.

Generally speaking, Full time students are not allowed to claim any benefits (except child benefit), however this area is very complicated and each student's’ circumstances can alter whether or not they can claim any benefits.  If you wish to discuss a benefit assessment please make an appointment to see the Student Finance Adviser.

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Your budget should be based on your income and expenditure.  When working out a budget it's important to be realistic about your income and what you spend. A budget can be worked out weekly or monthly but can change due to circumstances changing. Here are some Tips:

  1. Ask for student discounts when shopping.
  2. Pay your bills by direct debit – (this can earn discounts).
  3. Use travel discounts to go home and book in advance for trains – (book 12+ weeks ahead for the cheapest trains) .
  4. Use supermarket own brands or value range.
  5. Draw the money out you need for an excursion and leave your cards at home.
  6. Plan your meals for the week and stick to it – (cooking meals with flatmates can save you money, cut foodwaste and bring you closer).
  7. Use the nightbus to get home.
  8. Consider getting a part time job.

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A scam can con you out of money and can be via post, telephone, email, text message or website. It can be disguised as a lottery win, prize draw, job offer or “wonder” goods such as diet pills. Students are more likely to be taken in by money related scams such as money laundering (which is being asked to transfer money from one bank account to another for a fee) or job offers. How to protect yourself:

  1. If it sounds too good to be true it probably is
  2. Be suspicious of people who contact you out of the blue or from companies you haven’t heard of
  3. Be aware of pressuring messages “if you don’t act now you will miss this golden opportunity”
  4. Be suspicious of any banks or government agencies that contact you demanding your details
  5. Know who you’re dealing with.  Research the company online, check with companies house
  6. When shopping online, always try to use a credit card as they are protected for purchases over £50
  7. Have a look at Citizens Advice's information on scams, including their tool to check whether something is a scam

The Student Advice Centre can help you with the financial issues concerning SCAMS and you can also find out more about scams

Newcastle University Wellbeing Team  in King’s Gate, also have a finance team who deal with financial issues mainly concerning student funding and bursaries as well as the Hardship and FAF schemes.

Some Recent Scams:

Some criminals have been targeting international students specifically, pretending to be from a legitimate company (such as the UK Home Office, and education agent or UKISA). They demand money- calling it a "fine" and that it must be paid immediately or there will be damaging consequences, such as deportation. Please refer to this page on what to look out for and what to do if you have experienced such a call or email.

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Consumer rights can be a minefield and the Student Advice Centre has access to a large range of resources to help students with consumer queries from faulty goods or bad service, or a dodgy trader or contract. For example most international students don’t believe that they need a TV licence – there are some exceptions to the rule but they are very strict. The fines that happen when you haven’t got a TV License are substantial - so please seek advice from the Student Advice Centre if you are unsure. Please be careful of:

  1. Online shopping use known and established companies, check out reviews and if unsure don’t buy.
  2. Counterfeit goods if you buy a designer item from a market stall or a car boot sale and the items are fake, you could have them seized and not have your money refunded.
  3. Buying from overseas be careful of import tax or customs charges for items being sent to the UK these can be as much as the item itself.

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THINK – Do you really need a credit card?  Will you pay it off each month when the payment is due?  Banks and Credit Card companies will often offer students credit cards.  ALWAYS look into these carefully before applying for a card.  They usually charge interest on usage, some have 0% interest but after this period ends it can rise sharply.

If you do decide to get one you will have to pay monthly for any usage.  Paying the minimum payment only pays off some of the interest and not any of the balance so be aware.

The Student Advice Centre can help with managing credit card debts.

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  2. Whether it is a credit card debt, bank overdraft, loans or owing friends debt can be worrying.  Students quite often try to ignore it and this can make it worse, sooner rather than later is the best way forward. It’s a very scary place to be but we can help .
  3. The Student Advice Centre can help you manage your debts and help with a debt management plan if necessary, dealing with creditors for you and on your behalf.
  4. If you are in debt and considering bankruptcy, seek advice from Debt advice and management services beforehand to see if this is the only option available to you. 
  5. We are a Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) licensed to give debt advice and have trained professional advisers.
  6. We do not give advice on IVA’s, Insolvency or bankruptcy but below is a guide for you in point 7.
  7. Guide to Bankruptcy.
  8. For information on credit, see the webpage of the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO).

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If you are in hardship which means down to your last tin of beans, struggling to pay rent or have an unexpected bill, then you can apply to one of the two schemes that the university has to help with your funds – Student Financial Support Fund (SFSF) or FAF

  1. SFSF (Student Financial Support Fund) is for home students and an application form needs to be filled in and submitted to Kings gate via an interview.
  2. FAF (Financial Assistance Fund) is for EU and International students and the procedure is the same as for SFSF.

Whilst these funds will try to help they are not meant to replace mainstream funding and they have limited funds available such as the one foundhere

If you think that you are in hardship the Student Advice Centre can help you look at maximisation of your income and make sure that you are getting all the monies you should be

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To lend money lawfully you have to be authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). People who lend money without being FCA authorised are breaking the law. They are known as loan sharks. Loan sharks often work from home, charge very high rates of interest and don't give you much paperwork to confirm the arrangements they have made with you. Loan sharks often take other illegal action to collect the money they have lent you, such as threatening violence or taking away your credit cards or valuables. You can check if a company is authorised to lend money and report loan sharks anonymously here. The Illegal Money Lending Team has produced a series of short videos to help identify the warning signs of loan shark activity and to raise awareness: 

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  • The Northumbria Student Law Office offers free legal advice and representation to the public. It is run just like a normal solicitor's practice and deals with legal issues such as: employment, housing, civil disputes & crime.

  • Sunderland Student Law Clinic offers free legal advice and assistance to the public from the Department of Law at the University of Sunderland. 

  • If you are having to go to court or you got to a tribunal without the help of a lawyer, here is some useful information for you to read and consider:

  1. Get Help if you are Representing yourself in a Court or Tribunal
  2. Going to Court 1- Are there Alternatives?
  3. Going to Court 2- Before you Start
  4. Going to Court 3- First Steps
  5. Going to Court 4- Starting your Claim and the Pre-Trial Process
  6. Going to Court 5- Hearings, the Trial and Appeals
  7. Representing yourself in Family Court

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Most students will have a mobile phone but they can be very expensive. There are 2 types of contract Pay As You Go (PAYG) and Contract. PAYG means you can keep an eye on your spending and once you have run out you have run out. Contract means locked into either 12,18 or 24 months and there can be hefty release charges prior to that contract expiring. Think carefully before signing up to anything i.e. can you really afford the monthly payment for 2 years?

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The NHS generally provides free health care for most people.  Anyone can receive emergency treatment, regardless of their nationality or immigration status. The NHS may charge for non-emergency treatment for people from abroad, but FULL TIME overseas students whose course lasts at least 6 months can be treated for free. There is no charge for family planning services.  Charges are for prescription, dental treatment and eye tests.

There is NO automatic exemption for students. However, students may not pay if on a low income (check with SAC). In order to apply for the NHS Low Income Scheme, you must fill in an HC1 or HC5 form (available to order or fill online).

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  1. Many students feel a bank overdraft is a necessity, however overdraft facilities used without prior permission can incur large charges, so make sure you request it when you open the student account.
  2. You will probably be asked to put your student loan/funding into this student account.  When opening a student bank account and overdraft read the terms and conditions carefully and make sure your chosen bank knows that you are a student. 
  3. If you have problems in this area the Finance Adviser at the Student Advice Centre(SAC) can help you talk to your bank.  Don’t ignore your problems

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  1. Full time UK Undergraduate and PGCE students can apply for a maintenance loan for living costs (EU Undergraduate and PGCE students cannot).
  2. Student loans are split into means tested (income check) and basic loan. This means that receive a different amount of loan to other students depending on your household income.
  3. Final years and live at home students receive  lower rates of loan.
  4. If you need help assessing your loan then contact the Student Advice Centre who can work this out for you.
  6. The money is paid directly into your bank in 3 instalments (each term) and interest is charged from the date you receive your 1st payment.
  7. Loans are not repaid until you have finished studying and are earning £25K, taken via HMRC.
  8. Masters and PG Doctoral Students can also receive loans for study – see link above

*(if you are from NI, Scotland or Wales funding is different – speak to the Student Advice Centre)

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Council Tax:

  1. A charge set by local authorities to help pay for public services
  2. ONLY FULL TIME STUDENTS do not pay it, but need to submit a council tax exemption certificate via S3P portal. 
  3. If you share a house with a non-student or a part time student they become liable for the council tax bill.  A discount of 25% is available if they are the only non-exempt adult in the house
  4. If however you are doing a short English Language course and it lasts for less than 24 weeks, you WILL have to pay Council Tax(CT)
  5. International students on a course of at least one year can apply for exemption certificates along with any spouse.
  6. PHD students writing up will pay CT as they are not attending full time. Once a thesis is in also you will pay CT
  7. However if you are on a leave of absence you are still a full time student and not liable
  8. Council Tax Benefit was abolished in April 2013 and replaced with a  localised council tax support scheme.

Income Tax:

  1. All students who are resident in the UK will pay Income Tax on their earnings over a certain amount, including international students. The Personal allowance may change year to year check out here.
  2. Incomes that are taxable are:  earnings from employment, profits from business, interest from savings and rental income
  3. Incomes that are not taxable are: Student Loans, Grants, Scholarships, Bursaries and Research Awards.
  4. PAYE – pay as you earn= this is where your tax is deducted from your wages automatically via a tax code.
  5. Self-employed students must register with HMRC to do their tax
  6. International students in the UK cannot be self employed
  7. Overpayment – if you think you have paid too much tax you can ask for  a repayment via this helpline.

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  1. There will be discounts on the various bus companies around Newcastle city students will need to approach each company to see what offers are out there for students. A 16-25 railcard gives students a 1/3 off most fares and costs £30 (November 2020), you can still get one if you are over 25 but are a full time student.
  2. ISIC cards All full time students can buy an International Student Identity Card (ISIC) they are internationally recognised student ID cards used in UK and in over 100 countries costing £12. 

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  1. There are numerous trusts and charities that students can apply for financial help.  The Educational Grants Service provides information on this.
  2. Many libraries have grant directories which list organisations who offer financial support.  You can search online or the SAC has two books for you to look through within the service which students can access.

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  • Newcastle University charges different fees for home and international students and for PG and UG.  (You need to meet criteria to be a home student)
  • UK and EU UG students can apply for a tuition fee loan which will pay all of your fees for the academic year.
  • You can apply online
  • EU students can’t apply online. You must download the application forms and apply by post.
  • You must apply as early as possible for your money to be there in time for course start.  The fees are sent directly to the university.
  • If you are not a student using SFE then you can ask to pay your tuition fees  in instalments with prior consent – you MUST have the arrangement in place it is not a given option.

Liability for fees (only relevant for Home Undergraduate students):

  1. If you register for university in September you are instantly liable for 25% of the tuition fee.
  2. Once you register again in January term you are again liable for another 25% of the fee.
  3. Then again in April term once registered you are liable for the remaining 50% of the fee.
  4. If you take time out you may be entitled to a refund again seek advice.
  5. If you leave university depending when in the year you leave will depend on the fees charged.
  6. See Newcastle University's Credit Policy here.

If you don't pay fees:

  1. You may not be able to graduate or enrol on your next year of study.
  2. You can have your smartcard blocked and access to your lectures.
  3. You can be asked to leave the university.
  4. The university can send you to debt collection for non-payment.

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