The idea of ‘strapped for cash’ students is becoming even more common nowadays. Going to university has never been more expensive than it is today and thousands of students across the UK are struggling to make ends meet while studying.

In many cases, government tuition and student maintenance loans simply aren’t enough. If you’re at university in the UK, student loans from private lenders may be able to help you to support yourself through your course.

Here is Best Short Term Loan’s complete guide to student loans.

How expensive is going to university?

University is an extremely exciting time in a young person’s life. For many, it is the first time they have ever lived away from their parents – and the first time they have managed their own finances.

Higher education comes with a huge number of costs that few are prepared for. The top expenses of university include:

Tuition fees

The most common expense all students will be aware of are tuition fees. Most will be charged between £9,000 and £9,250 for each academic year and these fees must be paid back directly to your university.

If you started your course after the 1st September 2012 in either England or Wales, you will only need to start repaying your government student loan once you are earning over £25,000 a year.

For students that started before this date or studied in Northern Ireland or Scotland and received loans from a student finance agency, repayments start when you earn over £18,330 a year.


After paying for your course, you will still need somewhere to live. Students who live with their parents will likely have much lower accommodation costs than those that move out. Many students tend to live in university accommodation for their first year of study before moving into private housing for their second and third years.

In 2017, it was found that the average student paid £125 per week in rent – or £535 a month. Those in London pay considerably more; with the average sitting at around £182 a week, or £640 a month.

Most of these rents include bills such as electricity and water, however a third of students were found to pay their bills on top of rent.

Bills and essential costs

Research has found that the average student pays £50 a month for utility bills in rented accommodation. On top of this, many pay between £10 and £30 a month for mobile phone bills, £20 a month for broadband (with their housemates), and £60 a month on books and course material on average.


What is the student lifestyle without a few nights out? Unfortunately, food and drink bills can quickly add up. A typical night out including all travel, drinks, and club entry comes to around £30. Those living in London and Southern cities will likely spend more than those in the North due to differences in prices.

When you consider daily travel costs, food, and other expenses, it has been estimated that the average living costs each year for students is more than £8,990.

Where do students get their money?

Funding your education while supporting yourself at university can be difficult. NUS have said that the total cost of university including all living costs and tuition fees is now more than £20,000 a year. So how are students paying for this?

Many use maintenance loans from the government to help towards their living costs. Full-time students living away from home can usually receive up to £11,002 when living in London and £8,430 a year living elsewhere in the UK.

However, there is a serious problem with government maintenance loans.

Save the Student’s latest National Student Money Survey found that 73% of university students rely on money from their parents to survive at university. On average, the average student receives over £138.50 per month from their mum and dad – equating to more than £1,662 per academic year.

61% of students said student finance did not stretch far enough, with many receiving only £600 a month for living costs of more than £770.

The survey’s findings revealed how many students struggle to get by on their maintenance loans alone. A shocking 78% of students worry about making ends meet, 50% said their diet suffers due to lack of funds, 68% said their social life suffers, and a further 27% believe their grades are impacted.

The problem with student maintenance loans

The amount of maintenance loan you are entitled to depends on your parent’s income. That’s because your parents are expected to make up the difference between your government loan and actual living costs.

Parents earning under £25,000 a year will not be expected to contribute to student living costs and this means you will likely receive a higher amount of maintenance loan.

A family with a combined household income of between £40k and £45k a year are expected to contribute the following:

Where the Student Lives Full Maintenance Loan Amount Available Total Loan Amount the Student is Entitled to Minimum Parental Contribution Expected
Living at Home with Parents £7,324 £5,473 £1,851
Living Away from Home and Studying Outside London £8,700 £6,828 £1,872
Living Away from Home and Studying in London £11,354 £9,449 £1,905

The flaw with this system is obvious; parents are not legally required to give this amount to their children. In many cases, parents just can’t afford it. This leaves thousands of students without enough money to get by.

Private student loans

With the cost of student living so high and student finance not stretching far enough many students will now turn to a private loans company to help them afford university life.

Those running low on funds from their maintenance loan can use a student loan company to buy books, course materials, and even food until they receive their funds.

Banks tend to be reluctant to lend to students because they are unlikely to be employed while studying. Student loans are designed specifically for those in education. That means you are much more likely to be accepted. Many lenders also factor in your future earning potential based on your course to calculate your student loans repayment.

Private student loans have lower capped repayments while you study and no early repayment fees. You’ll know exactly how much you need to repay each month and how long your loan will last – meaning you can budget your student loans repayments easily.

Where to apply for loans designed for students

Student loans can help you to make up the difference between your maintenance loan and your daily expenses so you can focus on your studies without worrying about money.

At Best Short Term Loans, we’re not lenders – we are experienced credit brokers.

That means we help you compare deals from student loans companies across the country to help you find the cheapest loan for you.

How do we do this?

Thanks to our close relationship with all our lending partners, we know exactly what they look for in a borrower. We can simply submit your details into our clever computer system and it’ll match you with the student loans company most likely to accept you for credit.

Once we’ve done this, these lenders will be able to see your application and they then bid against each other to win your business. We get our lenders to compete to lend to you; meaning you get the lowest possible price for your loan.

And yes, all this is done in real-time and all automatically. We do all the hard work for you and our service is completely free of charge.

To compare student loans from our panel of top UK lenders, apply with Best Short Term Loans today.