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Financial Planning

Although finances at University can be a worry, with good sense and a little planning things should be all right.  If something unexpected happens there is a safety net in the form of the College’s (and for graduates) University’s student support systems.

Where to find advice

There are many places to go to get advice on financial planning.  You might want to start with the National Union of Students Money Matters. The University’s information on fees, funding, living costs and scholarships includes a number of cases studies of different students and their living costs.

Cost of Living

The University provides estimates of how much it costs to live in Oxford, using a range from lower to upper. These are monthly estimates and you will need to scale them up according to how much time you’re in residence.

 

Likely Living costs for one month (£)

 

Lower range

Upper range

Food

255

286

Accommodation

464

596

Personal Items

115

234

Social Activities

58

103

Study Costs

34

71

Other

19

42

Total

945

1332

Keble’s food and accommodation costs are around average and within these bands.  For example room costs for 3 terms vary between £2911-3881 depending on facilities, location and type. If you ate breakfast, 3-course lunch and dinner every day in Keble Hall it would costs £296.  With the Hall dinner discount scheme this could be as low as £218.

When planning your finances for any future years of study in Oxford beyond 2014/15, you should allow for an estimated increase of 3% for each year.

The general advice is to plan a budget as best you can and then stick to it.  The NUS Budgeting tool (available from the link above) allows you to do this.

Tips for budgeting (NUS)

  • Spread your money - If you receive a loan, spread it across a period of time rather than spending it all at once.
  • Prioritise - Always make sure bills are paid first. You can change the date you pay your bills so that they leave your account soon after payday. Allow at least three working days in case payday or your bills fall on a weekend.
  • Be disciplined - Cut out luxury spending by not giving in to impulse buys.
  • Stick to it - At first it might seem hard, but budgeting will soon become second nature.
  • Be realistic - Allow for coffee breaks and nights out. Don't forget to factor in unforeseen costs like birthdays, Christmas and unexpected travel home. If you have a car, be mindful of the cost of petrol and repairs.
  • Increase your earnings - Check that your tax code is correct and that you are claiming any tax credits and benefits you are due. .
  • Maximise your income - Providing all assignments are done, consider doing overtime at work, especially in the Christmas and summer holidays.

 

Bank Accounts and Overdrafts

You should research into which bank offers you the best deal on overdraft arrangements.  The JCR conducted a survey on this in 2012. Student Accounts are a special type of current account that is available to full-time students at University or in Further Education. The main benefit of these accounts is a Student Overdraft which gives the account holder an interest free overdraft. Upon leaving full-time education, the account is automatically converted into a normal current account and any pre-existing overdraft funds are converted into commercial overdrafts and charged commercial interest rates.  In the survey, two-thirds of respondents had an overdraft facility and about half actually had an overdraft at the time.

Commercial banks operate their own advice websites:

Lloyds Bank

Barclays

The Money Advice Service

Student Support

Information on the many forms of financial assistance can be found hereTalk to the JCR or MCR officers if you are unsure whether to apply and how to do so properly.In 2012-13 grants totalling £3550 were made by the Student Support  committee. The amount given varied from £100 to £800 (the amounts asked for ranged from £100 to £1200).  The two most common reasons for applying were medical-related and postgraduate funding running out.

Paid Work

The College has regulations about undergraduates undertaking paid work. Undergraduates may undertake paid employment during term with the written permission of their Director of Studies, provided it does not exceed six hours a week or significantly interfere with their studies. The College strongly advises undergraduates to consult with their Director of Studies before undertaking substantial employment during a vacation. Any employment undertaken must be in line with UK employment law. Paid employment will not be accepted as a reason for not completing academic work set for vacations.

The College’s policy on paid work by graduates conforms with the University guidelines issued by Education Committee. Full-time graduate students should generally regard their studies as a full-time occupation of at least 40 hours per week, and should normally be available for academic commitments during usual working hours (i.e. 9 am to 7 pm on weekdays). Graduate students on taught courses should regard this as applying to term-time study whilst for students on research courses it applies year-round. The University therefore recommends that full-time graduate students on a taught course (such as a Master’s) do not undertake more than 8 hours’ paid work each week whilst studying.