Cost of Living: Saving Money as a Student
The cost of living is having an impact on a huge number of people in the UK, and students and colleges are no exception. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) recently reported that 92% of higher education students said their cost of living had increased within the last year, with 80% saying that it had an impact on them.
Many students are cutting back on spending on food shopping and non-essential spending, and almost a third of students also have their own side-hustle or business to help make ends meet, according to the latest UCAS report.
Whilst studying closer to home can often save you money on things like accommodation, there are still lots of other ways you could stretch your budgets further. To help, we’ve rounded up some of the best ways that you can look to save some money whilst studying at GC.
Discounts on Council Tax
Full-time students can contact Student Services (in person/email/phone) to request a Council Tax Exemption Certificate – this would cover you for the duration of the course. If you’re living alone it would result in no council tax at all, or if you’re living in a couple it would result in a 25% discount.
As part of the Student Support Fund, students could be entitled to some help towards travel costs – in the first instance this is means tested and then is dependent on distance to/from college.
Buses - Staff and students at Gloucestershire College can present your ID on Stagecoach West buses and get a discounted rate of £1.90 within Cheltenham and Gloucester, and approx. £2.40 within Gloucestershire but outside of these areas i.e., Stroud, Tewkesbury, and Forest of Dean. However, this is currently capped at £2.00 for all services until summer 2023.
Railcards - If you’re aged 16-17, you can apply for a 16-17 Saver which gets you 50% off rail fares. If you’re aged 16-25 you can also purchase a 16-25 Railcard to save 1/3 on journeys. Railcards are available to mature students too, and it’s easy to apply online.
Students and staff can apply for a TOTUM Card (previously NUS Card) which is nationally recognised and accepted for discounts in a huge range of retailers, covering fashion, technology, travel, health, fitness and more!
The Co-op - Get 10% off when purchasing food and drink at any Co-op food store.
McDonalds and Greggs – When purchasing a meal, show your student ID to get a free item from a small selection on the menu
Apple – If you’re looking for a new laptop or tablet, Apple have a specific Education Store for students and staff.
Boots – Show a current student ID at any Boots store and get an automatic 10% discount off everything – this is added to a Boots Advantage Card which is free to sign up to.
Spotify – Music can help improve a study session. With Spotify you can save money and get Student Premium for just £5.99 a month.
Amazon – You can also sign up for Amazon Prime Student, giving you 6 months of Prime delivery, music and video for free, followed by monthly payments of £4.49 (50% off).
Microsoft Office – As a GC student you can benefit from free access to Microsoft Office programmes (Word, Outlook, PowerPoint, OneNote, Microsoft Teams, Excel) on your devices.
Gyms – The Gym at Gloucester Quays and PureGym offer student discounts. If you live in the Forest of Dean, Freedom Leisure offer concession memberships to students with full access to all four gyms across the forest.
Student Funding, Maintenance Loans, Hardship Funding
Student Support Fund
The college offers help through the Student Support Fund for students who are struggling financially. This can help cover: material, residential/event fees, travel, food, uniforms (Catering and Hospitality only), kit fees (Beauty and Hairdressing only) and childcare. To find out more you can contact Student Services.
Higher Education Progression Bursary
When studying at Gloucestershire College, if you progress from a Further Education course onto a Full-time Higher Education course, you may be eligible for a bursary of up to £1000 in your 1st year and up to £500 in your 2nd year. This is a grant that you DO NOT have to repay and can be used to help towards costs occurred whilst at college. You can find out more from Student Services.
Higher Education Opportunities Fund
The HE Opportunities Fund* is available to students who are experiencing hardship; you will need to have applied for a Student Loan prior to your application for additional support. These funds are limited and therefore eligibility and payment amounts are assessed on a person’s individual circumstances. Please visit Student Services to find out more and to collect an application form!
*Courses that are provided by partner universities will not be eligible
Charitable Organisations, Food Banks and more
In addition to the above, there are several organisations that can support you while you’re studying. Including The Prince’s Trust, Turn2Us, Care to Learn and other local organisations, Student Services can provide you with a list of contacts for additional support.
Want more information? Follow the handy links below or get in touch with the friendly Student Services team.