How To Choose The Best University If Money Is A Concern

Choosing the best university for you can be an exciting but overwhelming journey, especially when your budget is tight. 

There’s no denying that university life can be expensive, and even more so with the current cost of living crisis taking its toll across the UK. 

For prospective students, it’s never been more important to find a balance between academic excellence and affordability. 

To help you, our guide features tips and tricks that will make your higher education dreams come true without breaking the bank!

how to choose a university

1. Research Different Locations 

If you’re trying to choose the best university for you but money is a concern, we’d suggest considering applying to universities in smaller towns or cities. 

While London and other major cities like Oxford, Manchester, and Birmingham boast prestigious universities, they also tend to have higher living costs. 

You should try to consider universities that are located in smaller towns or cities where the cost of living may be lower, as this will allow you to stretch your budget further.

If you’re wanting to save money whilst at university, you could even consider studying at a campus in a uni city or town close by to where you live.

This way you can commute to your university campus and you’ll save money on rent and bills. 

research different locations choosing uni

2. Think About Part-Time Work Opportunities

Balancing university and a job may seem like a challenge, but it’s a great way to manage your expenses while gaining valuable experience. 

When it comes to choosing a university, it’s important to research the availability of part-time work opportunities and campus-jobs within the university community. 

It’s important to note that In bigger cities or towns there are more part time job opportunities for students, whereas in smaller towns and cities, there may be less of a demand. 

Working a few hours a week alongside your studies can really help to ease the financial burden and provide you with some extra spending money. 

Moreover, having a part-time job during your university years can boost your CV, and show future employers that you have practical experience and can handle multiple responsibilities.

how to choose a university part time job

3. Look Into Scholarships and Bursaries

Wondering how to choose a university whilst keeping an eye on those pennies? It’s definitely worth looking into scholarships and bursaries. 

We’d suggest researching and exploring what each institution offers in terms of bursaries, extra funding and money support, and the specific criteria required. 

This can vary from each university, so it’s best to head to their website to find out what they offer and whether you meet the requirements to apply. 

You’ll be surprised by the number of opportunities available for different fields of study and academic achievements! 

university bursary

4. Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For Help

When tallying up your student expenses, don’t be afraid to reach out to the universities you’re wanting to apply to for support, they’re there to assist you and answer your questions. 

They will be able to guide you through the process of applying for financial support, grants, and loans to make your university dreams achievable.

Remember, universities want to attract talented and motivated students, and they often have support in place to help those who are genuinely committed but facing financial challenges! 

So make sure to voice any concerns you have about your financial situation, chances are, you might find additional assistance or options that you were not aware of previously. 

asking for help applying to uni

5. Speak To Current Students 

When finding the best UK university on a budget, It’s good to seek advice from current students or graduates at the universities you’re wanting to apply to. 

You can join student forums and social media groups related to your potential universities to get honest takes on student life, budget hacks, and useful tips. 

They can share their experiences about how they manage their finances, where they found affordable accommodations, and how they navigate the student lifestyle while on a budget. 

We’re sure that there’ll be plenty of people who are happy to share their experiences with you, after all, they were in the same boat once too! 

speak to current students

6. Compare Accommodation Costs

Living costs at university can take a massive chunk out of your expenses, so make sure to compare the accommodation options offered by different universities and housing providers.

There’s a few different options when it comes to where to live at university, including on-campus accommodation, private residences and purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA).

You could even consider looking for potential roommates to share the cost of living with whilst at university. 

Here at Essential Student Living, we offer student accommodation in first-class locations with all-inclusive bills so your rent and utilities are all included in one payment!

accommodation costs uni  

7. Plan A Realistic Budget 

Before committing to a university, it’s important to create a realistic budget that includes living expenses, food, transport, leisure activities and other costs. 

This will help you understand how much money you’ll need and how you can manage your finances, which like we said earlier, can vary from location. 

If you’re in a position to do so, it could be worth getting a part-time job the summer before you go to university so that you can save up some funds. 

Some young people even take a year out from university and work to save up funds, which can give you more financial security. 

Student life can be expensive and your maintenance loan will only go so far, and in some cases, this may only be enough to cover your rent. 

We’d suggest planning a realistic budget to stick to throughout the academic year, as this will help you avoid unnecessary expenses and financial stress.

university budget

There we have it, we’ve spilled the beans on how to choose a university without burning a hole in your pocket. Good luck on your university journey! 

Remember, you’re not alone in worrying about money when applying to university, many young people are in a similar position due to the current climate. 

Read next: 10 Things You Should Do Before Starting Uni.

Table of Contents