Getting geared up for university – your questions answered
Getting geared up for university – your questions answered
With the new academic year just around the corner, we’ve put together some useful advice to prepare you for starting uni this autumn.
At LJMU we have a fantastic team of dedicated staff on hand to make sure that you have everything in order when it comes to beginning your university experience and settling in. But don’t panic if you still have things to organise, there’s time to get everything sorted before the start of term and we’re always here to help.
First thing’s first, have a read of our FAQs for the September start and make sure that you’re as prepared as possible for the year ahead. Obviously this year is going to be a little different given the challenges brought about by coronavirus, so be sure to familiarise yourself with some of the measures we’ve put in place to protect and support students.
1. I’m not sure what to do about my student finance?
If you haven’t yet applied for student finance, don’t fear – it’s not too late to do so. Simply log into your Student Finance account and apply now. The website you need to use depends on where in the UK you normally live (not where you are going to study). Choose from the options below to get you to the right place:
Student Finance UK
Student Finance Wales
Student Finance Northern Ireland
If you have already applied, it’s a good idea to keep track of where your application is up to. You can do this by logging in to your online account and checking your student finance ‘to do’ list.
The biggest delays to student finance payments normally relate to outstanding items on this 'to do' list (from information requests to outstanding documents), so it’s essential that you check it regularly and get it all boxed off.
When you check your student finance account, the first student finance payment date is the date the money is available, as opposed to the date you will receive it. No student funding will be paid until you arrive at university and we tell student finance you are actually studying here. The payment will then take three to five working days to credit your bank account. You should first make sure you have some money to cover this period.
2. How will I learn to manage my money?
It’s a good idea to think about what you may need to pay for with your student finance and start to work out your budget. This is because student finance is paid in three large payments throughout the year (as opposed to monthly payments) and it is up to you to make your money last.
You may have heard the words ‘work out your budget’ a few times already, and for good reason! A budget is a record (and calculation) of your money coming in (income) and money going out (expenditure) and the idea of you working out your budget is to make these figures match.
Here at LJMU, we partner with Blackbullion to help you feel confident about your finances. Blackbullion is a free and really helpful tool that provides the resources you need to get money-ready. You can register now with the code: LJMUAPPLICANT
You can also take a look at our top tips for managing your money at university.
3. What is a bursary and can I get a scholarship?
A bursary tends to be given due to financial need and is based on your household income. A scholarship is based on your achievements. You may be able to receive both depending on your situation.
The university has a wide range of scholarships on offer for students who excel in a number of areas. Scholarships are paid on top of your student finance and you do not have to pay them back. We have scholarships for students who are good at a range of activities such as sport, performing arts, volunteering and academia.
You will find the application form on our applicant site. The deadline is Friday 25 September 2020.
In addition to our scholarships, we also offer the LJMU Progression Bursary which is paid by the university to students from low-income households. Bursaries are paid on top of any other student finance you receive. They will be paid into your bank or building society account and you don’t have to pay the money back.
You do not need to apply for the Progression Bursary. We will assess if you are eligible and let you know when you will receive it.
4. Do I need a different bank account from the one I have now?
Student bank accounts are designed purposely for those studying in higher education. These accounts normally offer an interest-free overdraft, which you may want (or need) at certain times during your studies.
The type of bank or account you choose is very much up to you, but you should shop around and do a bit of research using comparison websites before you decide. Make sure you set up online banking to check that you can access your account before you move away from home.
5. When will I have to pay my rent/halls fees?
If you are moving into an LJMU partner hall, you will be able to pay your rent in line with your student finance instalment dates. It’s a good idea to check these dates now, especially if you’ve decided to live somewhere independent from one of our partner halls.
If for any reason your student finance has not been processed by the time you move into your accommodation, it’s really important that you speak to your accommodation provider to explain what the issue is and when the expected payment date will be. In some cases, it may be possible to delay your rent payment, but this is at their discretion.
We’re more than happy to help you resolve any student finance issues, and a member of our support team is always on hand.
Once you’ve been able to check your online account for any outstanding documents or information, please get in touch with us if you need any help.
You don’t need to wait until term starts to talk to us. If you need help, contact us now.
6. I currently claim benefits, can I continue to do this?
The majority of full-time university students cannot claim benefits while studying. The main exceptions to this are:
- lone parents
- students with ongoing health conditions or a disability
- students who are pensioners
In order to avoid an overpayment, it’s really important to tell the Department for Work and Pensions that you have had a change in your circumstances.
Everybody’s situation is different and we are happy to discuss your circumstances at any time. Disability Rights UK and GOV.UK also provide helpful resources. For more advice, get in touch with our Student Support Services.
7. Do I need to register with a doctor?
If you are moving away from home to study, it is important that you register with a doctor (also known as GP – general practitioner). You should do this as soon as you can after moving to Liverpool.
Registering as soon as you arrive will help to ensure that your GP can process your registration in good time, allowing you to access healthcare services early on if needed. We will let you know how to do this (and other health services available) around the start of term.
The majority of LJMU students moving to Liverpool register at the Brownlow Health Medical Centre.
If you have an ongoing health condition and take regular medication, please make sure that you have sufficient medication for this interim period.
8. I am nervous about moving away from home and being homesick
Homesickness is a feeling of stress or anxiety caused by changes to your living arrangements and lifestyle. Moving away to university is a very common cause and it is normal to feel unsettled at this time.
Homesickness often passes quickly, but if it doesn’t, don’t worry. The best way to overcome these feelings is to try to immerse yourself in your new life. It helps to eat well, exercise, sleep properly and manage your contact with home the best you can (such as planning a trip home halfway through the term).
The good news is that according to the National Union of Students (NUS), most symptoms of homesickness tend to fade after the third week at university.
9. Will I need to buy a bus pass or book my trains/flights home in advance?
Liverpool is a very compact and walkable city and if you are living in a partner hall of residence, day-to-day travel expenses are often rare.
The exception to this is for those of you that are studying at the IM Marsh Campus and living in the city centre, but some help is available towards this in your first year of study.
If you are not moving into a partner hall of residence, you may want to explore the various travel saver tickets available to students. Check your timetable before you commit to any monthly, weekly or termly passes, as these are not always a cheaper option.
You may also want to book a trip home for mid-term and/or Christmas. Our advice would be to research your options, visit comparison websites and book your train tickets or flights as far in advance as possible to save money.
10. What about any additional support needs I may have?
If you have an ongoing health condition or disability, it is really important that you let us know so we can make any reasonable adjustments to your course.
So there you have it, our top FAQs answered – just in time for September. Don’t forget that the LJMU community is a helpful, compassionate and understanding one. If you need help with anything at all, you simply need to ask.
As well as being mentally prepared for your student experience, we want you to arrive at the start of term with your funding and other support networks in place, so that you can focus on simply being a student, learning and having fun.
We are happy to talk to you about your student funding or any money-related matters at any time, as well as helping you with any wellbeing issues you may encounter along the way. Please do not think you have to wait until you arrive to contact us.
You can give us a call on 0151 231 3153/3154, email us with your finance queries at email@example.com or reach out to us for wellbeing advice via the signposting on our website.