A massive part about coming to university for everyone is the worry of having to manage your finances yourself. It definitely was the biggest thing for me. Coming from a family where nobody had been to university and from an area where not many people even bothered attempting to go, I did not really have anyone to ask.
Even at college, the only input we received was how to apply, then everything was handed over to us. As a consequence, I had to do all my own research, which was stressful at the time, but 100% made everything a lot less scary. I hope in this short blog to lay out what I did to help everything seem a lot less intimidating and manageable when it comes to money at the University of York.
York Living Costs
The university provides a great breakdown of costs on their website.
From my experience, here are the four biggest costs to students when coming to university.
This is completely dependent on where you shop. However in my first year my flat all got a Tesco delivery once every 2 weeks which worked out great for us. You can all have the login, add your own items and have the joint struggle of lugging it all up the stairs to our flat when it gets delivered!
Now in my second year we have a car. So we prefer to shop at Aldi – it really is so much cheaper. I would recommend looking into how long it would take you to walk to the Aldi in Fulford if you do not have access to a car because truthfully it would have saved so much money shopping there in first year.
Course Materials / Books
This depends on the course you’re doing. For me (studying Psychology in Education), everything is available online. However, I have some housemates who study courses such as English which require several books being purchased a term, along with some who study Computer Science who require big textbooks at the beginning of the year. Please do not let this put you off studying a specific course though. The University of York offers some great schemes to keep costs low. Usually, all materials are available to take out of the library for free, and support is available for anyone struggling to access materials.
Sports Clubs + Societies
This again is completely dependent on you. The University of York has such a massive selection of sports and societies fit for everyone; from college-level sport to university-level, or from Hack-Soc to Hummus Society. Each club/society requires a membership fee, with many societies being between £0-£10, and sports club costs’ dependant on equipment required, competition fees etc. All information is openly available on the YUSU website if you wish to have a look in advance.
York City + Social Life
York is known for being a tourist city, therefore there is no hiding that prices in the centre are on the higher side. However, there are many shops, cafes, bars, pubs that all offer student discounts or student packages. Stone Roses Bar and The Lowther pub offer cheaper drinks to those with a student card especially. The clubbing side of York is also fairly reasonable with three main clubs (hopefully reopening sometime soon, I pray) all with a standard entrance fee of £5 on the door for student nights.
The best thing I can recommend for anyone is to research as much as possible. So I have compiled a small list of what I looked into finances-wise before heading to the University of York in particular:
- York Prices – have a look at the prices of basic items such as a loaf of bread, a coffee, a pint etc.
- Search online or watch videos on what needs purchasing before moving in – YouTube is a great place for this!
- Look at the University of York’s accommodation options. Think about whether you are interested in East or West campus, catered or non-catered, a 40-week let or 51-weeks, on-campus or off. All this information is available online in the accommodation section.
- Transport options – how would you get from York back home? Is it cheaper to walk to the shops than get the bus? How far is the walk from campus into town? All really worth looking into before moving.
- Student bank accounts!!! This is a massive thing that needs looking into as different banks offer different options for students. For example, if you would be travelling home by train, maybe consider Santander as they provide a free student railcard. Or consider your financial situation and if you may need a larger overdraft to help. There is no issue with this, most students do need an overdraft to support themselves and that is why they exist!
It is important to get an idea of the amount of maintenance loan you may receive in advance.
Personally, despite how awkward it was, I sat down with my parents and asked them for information on their income and used a ‘maintenance loan calculator’ online to get an approximate idea of how much I would receive.
This allowed me to see what help I would receive from student finance, enabled me to open a conversation with my parents regarding how much they can support me, and led me to be able to properly work out what money I would have available at university.
As a result, I knew I needed to work to save money to support myself through university.
This is completely fine, and most students need to. The University of York is so supportive with helping students access part-time jobs through the Careers Gateway, posting job availabilities on the website, and employing students yearly in their campus outlets. Other options to find jobs that have been helpful for me have been Indeed and York Hospitality Facebook group. But there are so many options, so please do not worry about not finding a job.
I currently work two jobs alongside my studies. But this is definitely not required – I am still working the same hours across both that I easily could at one. It works for me though and I’m so glad I have them. It allows me to have a break away from my studies and the intense environment of a student house/halls. I can direct all my focus on my job, and work with a completely different group of people I would have never encountered otherwise!
If finances are a big stress for you, and you are worried you may struggle please do not worry.
The University of York has so much support available in the forms of bursaries and scholarships. Plus, Student Advisors are on hand to help with any financial worries or stresses you may have when you are here. They will do their very best to help in any way possible.
Despite my previous worries and stresses regarding money, as a whole when coming to university this preparation and knowledge I gained allowed me to comfortably work out a budget for myself, and a goal of what I needed to earn monthly to keep my finances stable. I know this is not the case for everyone, but I really hope this insight helps somebody in a similar position.