Financial support available for students considering university but worried about costs



Turn2us encourages students to look for support available prior to starting University

Over two-thirds of students rely on their student loan (averaging at £509 per month) to finance themselves. However, recent research has shown that the value of that loan has fallen since it was introduced in 2012 following freezes and below inflation increases. This stagnation will disproportionately impact students from lower income households who do not have the resources to meet the widening gap needed by students to study and live.

Turn2us is a national anti-poverty charity that provides help via its benefits calculator, helpline and grants search tool. The charity had over 170,000 people aged 18-24 using its benefits calculator last year (2018/19 FY) and has added resources to its website on financial support for students to meet the requests of those in need.

While most full-time students are excluded from claiming means-tested benefits, there are some exceptions, one being Universal Credit. For example you can claim Universal Credit if:

  • You are under 21, doing a course that will lead to a qualification at the same level as or below A levels (such as Scottish Highers, NVQ up to level 3), and do not and cannot live with your parents; or
  • You are responsible for a child; or
  • You get Attendance Allowance, Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and you have limited capability for work. (This can be complicated – find an adviser); or
  • You are over Pension Credit age; or
  • You live with a partner who can claim Universal Credit; or
  • You have taken time out from your course for illness or caring responsibilities, are now recovered/your caring responsibilities have ended, and you are waiting to go back to your course.

Those claiming will carry on being counted as a student during the holidays. If you are a full-time student and you live with a partner who is not a student, they may be able to claim means-tested benefits for you both. The charity also recommends that those unable to claim Universal Credit consider charitable grants as a support.

Sara Willcocks, Head of Communications at Turn2us, said:

“For many students the financial stress associated with going to University is a barrier. Although most full-time students are excluded from claiming means-tested benefits, we would encourage anyone concerned about what they can claim to look for extra support before closing the door on higher education.

"It is imperative that we live in a society where people have the opportunity to receive education at the highest level regardless of their income or background.”