Can you Use Student Loans to Manage Living Expenses?

student loans

If you are heading to your country of dreams for higher education, chances are you must be leveraging student loans. It is an opportunity that one can utilise to take a flight to his most anticipated educational journey.

However, student loans are generally high-interest loans that one takes to manage finances better with tuition fees and maintenance costs. Guardians can apply for either of them according to their needs and financial backup.

Before knowing whether you can use student loans for living expenses, you must know what all facilities the student loan covers.

What is a Tuition fee? 

All eligible higher students can apply for tuition fees. The loan will cover any amount that a university charges in the UK. The total cost of studying within the UK is around £9,250.

While for students studying in Northern Ireland, the number stands at £4,630 for 2022-2023. The lender deposits the amount directly to the respective university. You can access it for the relevant reasons. You can begin the repayments on loan after graduation and fetch a job opportunity.

What Does a Tuition fee cover? 

Here is what you can use the tuition fee for and vice versa.

Lectures, Seminars, TutorialsNon-compulsory field trips
Course Admin costsPrinting or photocopying
Access to course-related activitiesTravel costs to work placements
Access to computer roomsTextbook and course material
Student union membershipsAccommodation cost
Support services for studentsPersonal technological gadget-laptop, tablet
Graduation ceremonyProfessional body membership

What is a Maintenance loan? 

The maintenance loan helps with the accommodation and living costs while studying. Eligible -full-time students can enrol for the maintenance fee. The exact amount you can borrow is based on your household income.

You can qualify for 75% of the maintenance loan regardless of the household income. To be eligible for a maintenance loan, you must also be under 60 when you begin your course. The student finance NI usually pays three instalments to your bank account. It produces one at the beginning of each term.

Read More

6 Tips to Best Manage Your Student Loan Debts

What does a Maintenance Fee cover? 

Here are some essentials that you can use the maintenance fee cover under a student loan:

Accommodation (Rent)Lectures, Seminars, Tutorials
BillCourse Admin costs
FoodAccess to course-related activities
Nights outAccess to computer rooms
BooksStudent union memberships
TravelSupport services for students
Day-to-day living expensesGraduation ceremony

The table below reveals the maximum you can get in a Maintenance loan.

Living with parents/guardians£69
Living outside London or far from home£104
Residing in London away from home£134
Living abroad£144

However, sometimes, more than the funds are required. If you share an immediate cash need, check out a 1000-pound loan. You may get a no-obligation loan as a student-basing scholarship or a part-time income as repayment proof. It is free from the restrictions of owning a stellar credit score or collateral. You can get the cash the same day. It helps attend to any small cash need in time.

Can You Use Student Loans to Attend Additional Living Costs?

The above part explains student loans and what it covers. You cannot use it for paying other debts, mortgages, clubbing, gambling, or anything unrelated to your education. If you use student loans for such purposes, the authority may cancel the loans.

It may also terminate your future borrowing prospects for you. In these circumstances, you will have to owe the full money you owe (the amount you used until now) within a few days. 

The biggest issue with student loans is that you would have to pay them along with the interest rates. It may affect your future credit score or current one ( if you own one).

Are There Any Other Alternatives to Fund Your Discretionary Expenses?

If you do not wish to face the consequences of your actions by leveraging student loans for restricted purposes, there are ample options to tap.

  1. Scholarships 

Scholarships are one of the great ways to channel additional costs hassle-free. Suppose you are a worthy student on the best scholarship. You can use the amount to carry out expenses like travel with friends or unofficial dinners/ purchases.

 If you have yet to leverage any, check out the probability of some by enquiring about it in your university. Generally, one applies for a scholarship before entering university. However, you must take advantage of the opportunity. Enquire.

  1. Tap money from Grants 

The government of the UK provides different grants to international and national students applying for respective universities. Calculate how much you earn in a month if you leverage some of these. Check whether the amount suffices the requirements or not. If yes, then you can leverage these for minimal or day-to-day expenses. 

  1. Check out work-study programs

Both national and international students in the UK can apply for work-study programs. Full-time undergraduate and postgraduate international students can work 20 hours a week. You can seek work in the following way:

  • Find on-campus jobs reflective of your course or expertise
  • Work as a research assistant with university professors.
  • Work as a helper on library premises
  • The National Institute for Student Employment Services provides expert guidance for international students
  1. Check out part-time job opportunities

UK nationals can check out for similar programs and tap part-time work opportunities in the country.

Analyze your passion and expertise and choose the right industry that aligns with your timings. You can dedicate less than 4-5 hours as a part-time worker. Check whether you can opt for flexible shifts or not.

Some of the unsung heroes of the lockdown are- supermarket workers and delivery staff. With the increased demand for people, you may get an opportunity to work as a part-timer. Check out the vacancies in the nearby supermarkets and apply.

As a part-timer, you can work in restaurants, in-corporates, tutor, as a freelancer, self-employed, affiliate marketer, dropshipping, etc. It would help you save extra towards the month. You can use the amount to pay for essentials or fun.

  1. Recycle old gadgets for cash

Many individuals toss up the old gadget in the cabinet – for the foreseeable future. Instead, dig them out and consider recycling. What more? You can earn a gig by doing so. If not recycled, you can sell it to someone else sharing the need. You would be astonished to see the money within the month’s end.

Bottom line

No, you cannot use student loans to finance your daily living expenses. Instead, check out other part-time ways or scholarships to pay for needs besides education. If you still need clarification about whether you can use student loans for living expenses, consult an expert.