• Full time students are not allowed to claim any benefits (except child benefit) is the general rule.   However this area is very complicated and each students’ 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
  • For information on Universal Credit and how it works; the government has issued a Universal Credit and You Booklet.

Your budget should be based on your income and expenditure.  When working out a budget 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.

Tips

  • Make sure you ask for student discounts when shopping.
  • Pay your bills by direct debit – can get discounts.
  • Use travel discounts to go home and book in advance for trains – can be loads cheaper.
  • Use supermarket own brands or value range.
  • Draw the money out you need for an excursion and leave your cards at home.
  • Plan a menu for the week and stick to it – cook together with flatmates.
  • Use the nightbus to get home.
  • Try for a part time job.
  • Use www.moneysavingexpert.com
  • Download The Student Money Manual
  • 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:
    • It is sounds too good to be true it probably is
    • Be suspicious of people contact you out of the blue or from companies you haven’t heard of
    • Be aware of pressuring messages “if you don’t act now you will miss this golden opportunity”
    • Be suspicious of any banks or government agencies that contact you demanding your details
    • Know who you’re dealing with.  Research the company online, check with companies house
    • When shopping online, always try to use a credit card as they are protected for purchases over £50
  • The Student Advice Centre can help you with the financial issues concerning SCAMS and you can also find out more about scams here.
  • 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.

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.

  • 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 but we all do and we all have to pay and the fines are very large for not having one please seek advice from the Student Advice Centre if you are unsure.

Please be careful of:

  • Online shopping use known and established companies, check out reviews and if unsure don’t buy.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.
  • DON’T IGNORE IT!
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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. 
  • Guide to Bankruptcy.

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 – Hardship Fund or FAF

  • Hardship Fund – is for home students and an application form needs to be filled in and submitted to Kings gate via an interview.
  • FAF (Financial Assistance Fund) is for EU and International students.

Whilst these hardships funds will try to help they are not meant to replace mainstream funding and they have limited funds available.
http://www.ncl.ac.uk/students/wellbeing/disability-support/support/financial-support.htm
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.

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: 

 

  • 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:

 

Get Help if you are Representing yourself in a Court or Tribunal

Going to Court 1- Are there Alternatives?

Going to Court 2- Before you Start

Going to Court 3- First Steps

Going to Court 4- Starting your Claim and the Pre-Trial Process

Going to Court 5- Hearings, the Trial and Appeals

Representing yourself in Family Court

  • 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?
  • 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 Students may not pay if on a low income (check with SAC)
  • There is NO automatic exemption for students. You must fill in an HC1 form that you can get from the Student Advice Centre.
  • 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.
  • 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. 
  • 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
  • Full time Uk UG and PGCE students can apply for a maintenance loan for living costs (EU UG and PGCE students cannot).
  • 2018/19 loan for a student in Newcastle is £8700. 35% of this is means tested, so some students will only get 65% of this (final years and live at home students are lower rates).
  • www.gov.uk/browse/education/student-finance  (however if you are from NI, Scotland or Wales funding is different – speak to the Student Advice Centre.
  • 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.
  • Loans are not repaid until you have finished studying and are earning £21K, taken via HMRC.

Tax

Council Tax

  • A charge set by local authorities to help pay for public services
  • ONLY FULL TIME STUDENTS do not pay it, but need to submit a council tax exemption certificate via S3P portal. 
  • 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
  • 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)
  • International students on a course of at least one year can apply for exemption certificates along with any spouse.
  • PHD students writing up will pay CT as they are not attending full time. Once a thesis is in also you will pay CT
  • However if you are on a leave of absence you are still a full time student and not liable
  • Council Tax Benefit was abolished in April 2013 and replaced with a  localised council tax support scheme.
  • Council tax exemption link

Income Tax

  • All students who are resident in the UK will pay Income Tax on their earnings over a certain amount.  The Personal allowance for 17/18 is £11,500 per annum.  This includes International Students.
  • Incomes that are taxable are:  Earnings from employment, profits from business, interest from savings and rental income
  • Student Loans, Grants, Scholarships, Bursaries and Research Awards are NOT taxable
  • PAYE – pay as you earn= this is where your tax is deducted from your wages automatically via a tax code.
  • Self employed students must register with HMRC to do their tax
  • International students in the UK cannot be self employed
  • Overpayment – if you think you have paid too much tax you can ask for  a repayment via this helpline.

Travel

  • 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 (Dec 2017), you can still get one if you are over 25 but are a full time student.
  • 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. 

Trust funds and charities

  • There are numerous trusts and charities that students can apply for financial help.  The Educational Grants Service provides information on this.
  • 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.
  • 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)

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

If you don’t pay fees……

  • You may not be able to graduate or enrol on your next year of study.
  • You can have your smartcard blocked and access to your lectures.
  • You can be asked to leave the university.
  • The university can send you to debt collection for non-payment.
  • During your course here at Newcastle University, you may need to take on some part time work. 
  • Newcastle University within the Careers Service lists vacancies through their website  www.careers.ncl.ac.uk/vacsonline as well as the main JobcentrePlus which is government run and adverts in newspapers and shop windows.
  • If however you want to volunteer to enhance your CV, then Go Volunteer and the Student Advice Centre (SAC),within NUSU offer volunteering positions.

Employment problems

  • Working during your studies can be problematic.  Whether its tax payments, employment rights or something else you are more than welcome to contact us.
  • If you cannot make it in to see us or contact us, then the following websites may be of use to you:
  • For information on employment issues, including contracts and holiday pay please visit ACAS.
  • For information about benefits, please visit the Department for Work & Pensions.
  • For information about tax credits, child benefits and national insurance contributions please visit  -

Information for International Students

  • If you are an international student and want to find out about your work entitlement rights the UKCISA has useful information.
  • Further information for international students working during their studies can be obtained from the Visa and Immigration Service at Newcastle University.
  • Please note that the Student Advice Centre cannot deal with any visa and immigration issues.