Student Finance FAQs 2021/22

Throughout this blog, we are going to answer some of the most frequenlty asked questions we get at the start of term in regards to Student Finance and how you can get in contact with us.

I haven’t received my Student Maintenance Loan, what can I do? 

If you have been assessed for your funding by Student Finance England (or your regional funding provider) and have recently enrolled, it could be that the University has only just confirmed your attendance. This usually triggers your loan payment, however it can still take up to 5 days for any money to reach your account.  

If you have enrolled, but you haven’t yet been assessed by Student Finance England (or your regional funding provider), then we would encourage you to call them or check your online account for an update on your application. You may need to provide further information to support your application.  

  • Contact Student Finance England (SFE): 

For general information and to apply visit: www.gov.uk/student-finance 

Telephone:  0300 100 0607   

Monday to Friday: 8am to 8pm    
Saturday and Sunday: 9am to 4pm   

  • Contact Student Finance Services (EU students): 

Telephone: 0141 243 3570  

Monday to Friday: 8am to 8pm  

Saturday and Sunday: Closed  

I’ve only recently applied for student finance, how long will it take to be assessed?  

Applications usually take approximately 6 – 8 weeks, however, the start of term is a very busy time for processing applications and additional information. We would encourage you to check your online account for updates and call SFE (or your regional funding provider) if you have queries.  

Can I apply for any short-term loan until my student finance comes through?   

Students can apply for a short-term Bridging Loan of up to £500 (eligibility criteria apply). For further details and to apply online, click the button below.   

I’m not sure I have been assessed correctly for my Maintenance Loan, how can I check?   

f you’re worried and want to check if you’ve been assessed correctly for your funding, please use the Student Finance calculator to estimate the level of loan available as well as any extra student funding, for example if you have a disability or children. Please note this calculator is for students from England and EU students starting a new undergraduate course in 2021/22.   

Can the Financial Guidance Team contact Student Finance England (SFE) on my behalf?  

Yes. We would however encourage students to call SFE initially as this may resolve your query quickly. If you still require help and would like the team to contact SFE, you will need to set up a ‘consent to share’ to give permission. This allows the Financial Guidance team (or other Student Services team) to contact SFE (or your regional funding provider) to discuss your application on your behalf.   

  

To arrange this, please call SFE on 0300 100 06 07 and advise them that you would like to set up a ‘consent to share’ for the University of Northampton – they will usually ask for the institution name, as well as our relationship to you, which is ‘Higher Education Provider’ or HEP. They may also ask for the postcode of the University (NN1 5PH).   

  

You will then be asked for a password, which the Financial Guidance team will need to know to access your account – please contact us afterwards with this password.  

Is there additional support available from SFE for those with dependents or disabilities?   

Yes. SFE have additional support available for those with children or dependent adults as well as support for those with a disability, long-term health condition, mental health condition or specific learning difficulty (such as dyslexia), eligibility criteria apply. Please see a summary below:    

  • Parents Learning Allowance - up to £1,821 a year depending on your household income.  
  • Childcare Grant - up to 85% of weekly childcare costs (up to a maximum of £179.62 per week for one child or £307.95 per week for more than one child). 
  • Adult Dependents’ Grant – up to £3,190 a year depending on household income. 
  • Disabled Students Allowance  

For further information, visit the following Student Finance pages: Extra Help or Quick Start Guides

I’m studying a health professional course and I’ve heard about an additional training grant from the NHS, what is this and where can I find out more?  

Students who are studying on certain pre-registration undergraduate and postgraduate health professional courses such as nursing, midwifery, occupational therapy, podiatry, physiotherapy or paramedic science may be eligible for additional financial assistance from the NHS Learner Support Fund (eligibility criteria apply). Students may apply for this support in addition to the funding available from Student Finance England.

For further details and to apply, click here.

Useful contacts

Financial Guidance Team:    01604 893299   money@northampton.ac.uk   

Fee queries (Income Team):   01604 892327   income@northampton.ac.uk   

Scholarships Administrator: Scholarships@northampton.ac.uk  

If you need to contact the Financial Guidance Team to discuss your funding query, we would encourage you to call or email initially. If necessary, we can arrange a follow-up appointment.  

Come and see us!

The Financial Guidance Team, will be running drop in sessions on the ground floor of the learning hub between 10am and 2pm from Monday 4th October through until Tuesday 12th October. Feel free to come and see us with any questions or queries that you have surrounding your Student Finance.

Can I afford to study at Postgraduate level?

Understanding the financial implications of studying a Masters’ degree, Postgraduate Teacher Training or a PHD.

So, you have finished your course – what is next? Studying for a Masters’ degree, training to become a teacher or studying for a Doctorate course are often popular choices. Whether you loved your course so much that you would like to carry on, you have decided that you need another qualification for your desired career, you want to impart your knowledge onto future generations or even that you would like a bit more time at university before deciding what to do next. There are plenty of exciting study options available. However, funding for a Masters’, teacher training or a PHD often differs from the support available for undergraduate study. Before enrolling on your dream course, it is worth taking some time to plan how you are going to fund yourself for the next year of study. Especially if you do not have savings, or family/friends who are able to offer support.

Budgeting

The first step is to work out what you need to live on as a postgraduate student. You may already know how much your living costs such as rent, food, bills, travel, etc, are likely to be, based on your spending as an undergraduate student. Tuition fees will vary depending upon the course, the university, and whether you plan to study on a full or part-time basis. For further details of course fees, please refer to the ‘Fees and funding’ section of the course overview page of the website: https://www.northampton.ac.uk/courses/

If you studied for your undergraduate course at the University of Northampton and plan to enrol on a Masters or doctoral programme with us, you may be eligible for a 20% discount on course fees (eligibility criteria apply), please see the Graduate Discount Scheme for further details:

Now consider other course-related costs such as books, printing, equipment, field trips, placements, etc – you may need to contact the course tutor for further details of typical costs.

If possible, make sure that you allow some room in your budget for additional spending, in case of emergencies.

Do not forget that a full-time Masters’ and teacher training courses can typically run for 52 weeks – and sometimes longer. Whereas a full-time PHD typically runs over three years and can take double that if being studied part time. For further budgeting guidance, read our Money Matters blog: http://moneymatters.northampton.ac.uk which has more information about how to budget and why do you need to budget, as well as and other related posts; including online tools like student calculators and Apps to help save you money.

Postgraduate Master’s Loan

You may be eligible for a Postgraduate Master’s Loan to help you with your tuition fees, living and course costs while studying (eligibility criteria apply). However, there are several differences between this loan and what you may have received when you were an undergraduate student:

  • There are no separate loans for tuition fees and living costs (maintenance) – instead, you can apply for a single loan of up to £11,570 (for courses starting in 2021/22). This means that you will need to arrange payment of your tuition fees directly to the University. The Postgraduate Master’s Loan is paid in three instalments during the academic year; if you are studying for longer than a year, the funding will be split evenly across the length of your course.
  • It is not means-tested – therefore the amount available is not based on your income or your family’s income. This can be good news if your family has a high household income, however those who come from a low household income may find the support available is much less than the support available while studying an undergraduate course, especially as there are no additional allowances such as Parents Learning Allowance or the Childcare Grant to help with childcare costs. So, if you need childcare while studying, you will need to consider this cost within your budget.
  • Usually you can only apply for a Postgraduate Masters Loan towards one full Masters-level qualification. There is no ‘plus one’ year of support available if you need to repeat or retake part of your study.

Further information about the Postgraduate Master’s Loan including eligibility criteria and how to apply is available online*.

www.gov.uk/funding-for-postgraduate-study

As the Master’s Loan is unlikely to cover your tuition fee, living and course-related costs in full, you may wish to consider it as a government contribution and then look at other ways to pull together the money that you need.

Teacher Training Funding

Students looking to continue their postgraduate study and become teachers may be able to apply for funding if completing a course in Initial Teacher Training (ITT) (not including early years) or a Postgraduate Certificate of Education (PGCE).  You will need to apply for undergraduate student finance to get funding for your teacher training, even though the course is postgraduate level.

Students who have already gained qualified teacher status cannot get an undergraduate tuition fee loan.

The Tuition Fee Loan is up to £9,250 (2021/22 academic year) and the Maintenance Loan to help with living costs is up to £12,382 (2021/22 academic year), however please be aware this rate is lower for those living at home or living outside London. You can still apply for the tuition fee and maintenance loan if you already have a student loan from your undergraduate study, and regardless of whether you get a bursary or scholarship (dependent on subject area).

Alumni PGCE Bursary Award – If you studied your undergraduate degree with the University of Northampton and are looking to enrol on to a full-time PGCE course, you may be eligible for the Alumni PGCE Bursary Award of £500, please visit our website for full details.

Further information about funding for teacher training, please visit*:

https://getintoteaching.education.gov.uk/funding-your-training

www.gov.uk/teacher-training-funding

Doctoral Loan

You may be eligible for a Postgraduate Doctoral Loan to help with the cost of tuition fees, living and course costs while studying (eligibility criteria apply). However, much like the Postgraduate Masters Loan, there are several differences between this loan and what you may have received when you were an undergraduate student:

  • There are no separate loans for tuition fees and living costs (maintenance) – instead, you can apply for a single loan of up to £27,265 (for courses starting in 2021/22). This means that you will need to arrange payment of your tuition fees directly to the University. The loan will be divided equally across each year of your course and is paid in three instalments over the academic year;
  • It is not means-tested – therefore the amount available to you is not based on your income or your family’s income. As with the Postgraduate Masters Loan, there are no additional allowances such as Parents Learning Allowance or Childcare Grant to help with childcare costs. So, if you need childcare while studying, you will need to consider this within your budget.

Further information about the Doctoral loan including eligibility criteria and how to apply can be found online*:

https://www.gov.uk/doctoral-loan

* The above information is relevant to students applying for support from Student Finance England. Funding may differ for those who normally live in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, so please refer to your regional funding body for further information prior to applying.

Loans from other providers

Loans to help cover the cost of tuition fees and living costs may be available from private companies such as banks or other specialist providers – however please be cautious if considering this option to fund your studies. Each provider will have their own eligibility criteria, interest rates and repayment arrangements may vary and you may find you are unable to apply for both a loan from the Government and another loan. Your credit rating may also be a factor here.

Bursaries and scholarships

You may be eligible to apply for a bursary and/ or scholarship, either from university or from a charity or trust; they are unlikely to fund your full study but may offer help towards specific costs such as fees or course materials. For further details please visit the following websites:

www.prospects.ac.uk/postgraduate-study/funding-postgraduate-study/scholarships-and-bursaries

Be aware that bursaries and scholarships may be limited to students enrolling on specific courses or subject areas, and are usually subject to meeting certain eligibility criteria, receiving an award cannot be guaranteed.

Social Work Bursary – There are a limited number of postgraduate Social Work bursaries awarded by the NHS Business Service Authority for those studying on the MA in Social Work course. Further information and eligibility criteria can be found online:

https://www.nhsbsa.nhs.uk/social-work-students/apply-postgraduate-bursary

Financial Assistance Fund & EU Hardship Fund

University hardship funding such as the Financial Assistance Fund/ EU Hardship Fund may provide additional support towards your living and course costs, however, please be aware that tuition fees cannot usually be considered (eligibility criteria apply). However, receiving an award cannot be guaranteed, and assessment criteria states that postgraduate applicants will need to show that they have made reasonable provision towards the cost of their fees, living and course costs before applying.

Work while studying

Many postgraduate students also try to work while they are studying. This is a great way of improving your CV as well as providing additional income. Speak to Unitemps or other local agencies to see what is available.

For those studying for PHD often find work as associate lecturers, teaching and marking the work of undergraduate students or as that of researcher. It will be worthwhile discussing these opportunities with your course leader.

Taking time out

Look at your budget and be honest about whether you have enough money to start the course now. If your budget does not balance or there is no allowance in case of emergencies, taking a break from your studies so that you can start saving towards your next course may be the best option, especially if you are relying on a Postgraduate loan as your main source of funding.

Although it can be frustrating to put your study plans on hold, it would be far worse to have to drop out halfway through your course due to lack of funds, and still be liable to pay it back when earning above the threshold. There is usually no rush to begin postgraduate study – so if you are feeling a little burned out after your final exams, taking time out can be beneficial. This way you will be fully financially prepared as well as mentally ready to take on your next challenge.

Talk to us!

If you have any queries about postgraduate funding or budgeting, contact the Financial Guidance team.

W: www.northampton.ac.uk/financial-guidance-team

B: www.moneymatters.northampton.ac.uk

E: Money@northampton.ac.uk

T: 01604 893299

Worried about money over the summer? The summer fund may be able to help!

If you are worried about money over the summer? The summer fund may be able to help you. Additional funding from the University is available to support continuing students over the summer break.

The past academic year has been difficult for many of us. The Covid-19 pandemic and the implications from it have had a significant impact. If you’re worried about your finances during the summer (10 July to 18 September 2021), you might be eligible for help from the Summer Fund (Eligibility criteria apply).

Don’t wait until you have run out of money, the deadline is Friday 9 July 2021, so apply now!  

Funds are limited and there is no guarantee that you will receive an award, but you won’t know unless you apply.

To be eligible to apply for the Summer Fund, you must:

  • Be a UK (‘Home’) student*,
  • Be enrolled on a University of Northampton course (paying your tuition fees to the University of Northampton)
  • Have taken your full entitlement of statutory funding in 2020/21 from Student Finance England (or your regional funding authority) and/or NHS or the Learning Support Fund,  
  • And be continuing on your course in 2021/22!

(Other eligibility criteria may apply).

*EU Tuition Fee only students please see EU Summer Fund below.

We especially encourage applications from the following groups of students:

  • Lone parents,
  • Those who are care leavers or estranged,
  • Those who have ill health/disabilities,
  • Those with caring responsibilities,
  • Those enrolled on courses which run throughout the full year (i.e. health courses, intensive courses, etc)

However, you do not need to meet any of the categories above to apply.

Please complete the application form(including all relevant sections) and send it to us at fgapplications@northampton.ac.uk with your supporting evidence (PDF copies only) before the deadline.

I applied for the Financial Assistance Fund earlier this year, can I apply for the Summer Fund?

If you have already applied to the Financial Assistance Fund in 2020/21 and are due to continue on your course in 2021/22, we will send you a shorter Summer Fund form to complete.

If you have already applied to the Fund and are enrolled on a long course such as BSc Nursing, BSc Paramedic Science, etc, you will not usually need to complete a new Summer Fund application as you will usually have already been assessed over a 52 week period.

For further clarification, please contact the Financial Guidance team.

I am a final year student, can I apply?

Unfortunately, final year students are usually ineligible to apply to the Summer Fund, unless you are extending your course or repeating some of your study in the 2021/22 academic year. To apply to the Summer Fund, please complete the application form and provide evidence that you are continuing your studies.

Help us to help you.

Gathering together evidence may take time, but you should have all the information required to hand, please see our FAF – get it right first time information sheet for further guidance.  Please be aware that the team can only accept supporting evidence in a PDF format, and assessment of your application will be delayed if we need to request further information.

Please note: The Fund is limited and awards will be allocated on a first-come, first-serve basis. Receiving an award from the fund is not guaranteed.

Don’t delay, apply today!

For further information about the Financial Assistance Fund Summer Fund, visit the Financial Assistance Fund section of the Student Hub.

What about students from the European Union?

If you’re from the EU (and have applied for a Tuition fee loan from Student Finance Services or a Postgraduate loan from Student Finance England), you may be eligible to apply for the EU Summer Hardship Fund (eligibility criteria apply).  For further information about the EU Hardship Summer Fund, click here.

Other funding support is still available!

Additional support may also be available to students applying for a diagnostic test and/or paying a contribution towards DSA-recommended equipment, from a care background, foyer or estranged students, or responsible for the care of a relative due to disability or illness (eligibility criteria applies).  

The final deadline for applications and supporting evidence is 9 July 2021, subject to funds remaining available.

Reapply now for your funding for 2021/22.

If you haven’t already done so, reapply now for your student funding ready for 2021/22. The SFE deadline for continuing student applications is 25 June 2021; reapply by this date to ensure you have your money paid on time for the start of the 2021/22 academic year.

Get in touch.

If you have any queries about applying to our Funds, please get in touch by emailing fgapplications@northampton.ac.uk.

For general student money related queries, please email money@northampton.ac.uk.

How to submit supporting evidence to the Financial Guidance Team using OneDrive.

1. Login to OneDrive using your University of Northampton sign in details. (These are the same details you use to access NILE). Here is the link to the OneDrive login page.

A screen grab showing the Microsoft OneDrive sign in page.

2. Create a folder on your University of Northampton One Drive account and name it appropriately.

A screen grab showing the Microsoft OneDrive creation of a new folder.

3. Upload all the documents that you need to provide to this folder. Make sure you name all the corresponding documents correctly with a relevant name. Such as David Lewis – Monzo Current Account – 1234 – May 2021. (By naming your documents correctly and fully, it will allow for the Financial Guidance Team to be able to process and review your evidence quicker). If possible, convert all of your documentation to PDFs as it ensures that it will not change format or formatting when opened on another computer.

A screen grab showing the Microsoft OneDrive files inside a folder, The files are name in regards to the name and the corresponding documentations.

4. When you have uploaded and appropriately named your required documents to the folder. It is time to share the folder with the Financial Guidance Team so we can access your supporting evidence. To do this you need to go back to the ‘My Files’ section of you OneDrive and click on the icon next to you folders name which shows and arrow leaving a folder.

A screen grab showing the Microsoft OneDrive My Files page. This also shows how to send a link by clicking on the send link image to the right of the file name.

5. This will take you to the send link menu, where you can determine how you want to share the folder with the Financial Guidance Team. We recommend using the ‘Copy Link’ function as it allows you to send from your email provider of choice.

A screen grab showing the Microsoft OneDrive send link pop up.
A screen grab showing the Microsoft OneDrive

6. Make sure to set your link settings to ‘People in The University of Northampton with the link can view.’ If it is not automatically set to that, you can can change it by clicking the arrow to the left of whom it is sent to. You will then get a menu where you can select the relevant option and click apply.

A screen grab showing the Microsoft OneDrive send link pop up and how to change the link settings to reflect to who you want to share the link with.

7. You will then want to click on the copy link icon. This will create a URL link which you will be able to copy and share.

A screen grab showing the Microsoft OneDrive link copied screen/

8. All you finally need to do, is create your email to copy you link into. Please include your student number and what you are providing the supporting documentation for.

A screen grab showing a drafted email to the FG Applications email with the body of text containing the link to a shared OneDrive file.

If you have any more questions about the submission of supporting documentation, please contact the Financial Guidance Team.

Financial Support Available to you!

We know that in these unprecedented times you might be concerned about your finances and looking at additional funding options. We’ve compiled all the information that you will need about the additional funding you can apply for through the University’s Financial Guidance Team in one blog post for you.

Financial Assistance Fund

If you’re a UK / ‘Home’ student, you can still apply to the Financial Assistance Fund for support until the end of May. Please don’t wait until you have run out of money to apply to the Financial Assistance Fund, apply now.       

If you’re worried because your loan, grant or bursary doesn’t cover your everyday living and course costs, then apply now to the Fund. We will compare your income and your expenditure (including any changes of circumstances) over the academic year and see if you show a shortfall.         

If you are eligible, awards made range from £100 to a maximum of £4,500 and you will not usually have to pay this money back! There is no guarantee that you will receive an award, but you won’t know unless you apply.  

For those wanting to apply for financial support over the summer period only, the team hope to have the summer fund open from June, further details will be on the website when this is available.

Please note: The Fund is limited and awards will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. Receiving an award from the fund is not guaranteed

Who can apply?

To be eligible to apply to the Financial Assistance Fund, you must:

  • Be a UK (‘Home’) student.
  • Be enrolled on an undergraduate or postgraduate University of Northampton course for the current academic year.
  • Have taken your full entitlement of statutory funding (including maintenance loans) in the current academic year, from Student Finance England/ Student Finance Wales/ Student Finance Northern Ireland/ Student Awards Agency for Scotland and/or NHS funding (NHS Learning Support Fund for new healthcare students).

You can find the full list of eligibility criteria on the Financial Assistance Fund page.

To apply, you must complete the Financial Assistance Fund application form (including all relevant sections) and send it to us with your supporting evidence (PDF format only). The deadline for applications is the end of May, and further information to support your application can be accepted until the start of July, subject to funds remaining available.

Help us to help you.

We appreciate that gathering evidence for your application may take time, however you should have all the information required already. For most applications, the most time-consuming part is gathering copies of bank statements. To help us assess your application quickly and to avoid us asking for further information, please refer to the list of supporting evidence on the application form. Below we have listed some top tips:

  • Remember to include a copy of 3 months bank statements for all accounts held by you (and for your partner if you have one). You may have many accounts, some you may use often and others that you don’t use as much (such as savings accounts), the team need to have a copy of bank statements for all accounts held
  • Ensure the bank statements clearly show your account name, account number and sort code details, so that we can identify the account as yours. If your statement doesn’t show all these details, you may need to submit further information which shows this.  
  • If you have any transfers to other accounts, please ensure these transfers are explained and ensure you have provided the team with a copy of the bank statements for these accounts.  

If your application is missing any evidence, the team will request this by email and this will delay the assessment of your application.

Additional support available to you.

You might also be eligible to apply for additional financial support through the Financial Assistance Fund for the following:

EU Students

If you’re from the EU (and have applied for a Tuition fee loan from Student Finance Services or a Masters loan from Student Finance England), you may be eligible to apply for the EU Hardship Fund instead (eligibility criteria apply).

The deadline for applications and supporting evidence is the start of July, subject to funds remaining available.

Mother’s Day 2021. What should I do?

Mother’s Day or Mothering Sunday falls on Sunday 14th March this year in the UK. For many people, they will be spending their Mother’s Day away from their loved ones even though restrictions are gradually starting to ease – as of Monday 8th March you can meet one individual outside in a public space. However, for some a virtual or digitalised Mother’s Day will be a thing. Throughout this Money Matters Blog, we’ll give you some top tips and savings on what you can do for a slightly different Mother’s Day.

Cards

A card is the staple gift of all celebrations, be it a Birthday, Christmas or Valentine’s Day – a card is a necessity. If you are planning on posting a shop-bought card, you best be looking to post it very soon, as Royal Mail don’t deliver post on a Sunday. If you are planning on posting First Class you will need to have put it in a post box by Friday and for Second Class by Wednesday. (Always remember to check the collection times on the Post Box, because if you miss it, your post won’t be collected until the next day).

If you’re looking to find something more personalised or potentially funnier than the standard shop bought card, have a look online. There are loads of websites out there where you can personalise your cards with pictures or funny messages. These websites run all year round, so you can get the card of your choice for any celebration. Some of our favourite websites for personalised cards are Funky Pigeon and Moon Pig. They will post it directly to your recipient you needn’t worry about the stress of postage they’ll inform you of the last day that you can order this with postage.

Flowers

What says Mother’s Day more than a beautiful bunch of flowers being handed over? For those of you living at home, you would normally be able to pop to a local florist (however Covid-19 Restrictions may prevent you this year) or a supermarket and pick up a beautiful bunch of lilies or daffodils.  If you have one of NUS’ Totum cards, you can get 10% off in Co-op, making some great extra savings.

For those of you living away from home and needing to send something by post or for those of you living at home and wanting to order something extra special, There are a whole array of online florists out there, if you use the StudentBeans app, you can find up to 20% off at eflorist.

There are loads of different online florists and great supermarket bouquets to be found out there. However, don’t leave it to the very last minute and end up with a wilted twig.

Hampers & Gift Sets

If you are unsure of just one thing to get your Mum for Mother’s Day, why don’t you get them a few different things such as a hamper or a gift set? You can make your hampers and gift set reflective of what you want or what you know your Mum would love? Be it chocolate, wine, bath stuff or even cheese. You can do whatever you’d like with a hamper.

If you are currently living with your Mum, you can easily make your hamper, by grabbing some of her favourite things from the supermarket or even venturing to B&M to see what wonders they have available.

If you’re living away from home, ordering a hamper online to be delivered to your Mum’s front door is probably the easiest thing to do. There are tonnes of websites doing online hampers this year so you can be spoilt for choice. Websites such as Not on the High Street have a whole array of different hampers that you can order.

If you’re an avid online shopper and make the most of your Amazon Prime Student account, you can find some amazing deals and hampers on there too and make the most of the Prime next day delivery. Such as this Teamtime Delights Mother’s Day Hamper.

Photo Albums

In the digital world that we are living in currently, with high-quality cameras built into our smartphones, we take more photos than ever before. But often they get lost into the ether of our smart phone’s photo album never to be looked at again. So why don’t you print these photos into an album?

Snapfish currently has 50% off on photo books allowing you to create a book of memories that can be flicked through, wherever and whenever.

If you want to have constantly changing photos, why don’t you consider getting a digital photo frame? These were all the rage a few years ago and allow for a constantly changing slide show of photos. Which could be a great way to share memories with your loved ones.


Whatever you do this Mother’s Day in this somewhat strange time that we are finding ourselves in, do what works for you! For many people, the Covid-19 Pandemic has brought financial hardships and difficulties so spending a large sum of money may not work for you. Remember it is the thought that counts.

But always make sure to see if Student Discount is available as you could save yourself a whole host of money!

University Mental Health Day 2021 – Money and Mental Heath.

University Mental Health Day is a significant day throughout Universities in the UK. For many, this past year of Covid-19 and its restrictions has had a significant impact on their Mental Health. One element that can have a significant impact on an individual’s Mental Health is their financial situation.

For anyone struggling financially, be it because their Student Loan isn’t stretching far enough, they’ve faced redundancy, been placed on Furlough because of the Covid-19 Pandemic or they have been unable to find work , this can make the management of their money considerably harder. For individuals with money worries – this can make their mental health worse. It is somewhat of a vicious cycle.

Flow chart diagram showing a circular flow between 'Poor mental health means managing money is harder' and 'Worry about money makes my mental health worse'.
From Source.

Many students would usually find work within the hospitality sector such as local pubs, bars, restaurants and night clubs or within the retail sector, as this often fits alongside their studies. With  these areas having been impacted massively during the Covid-19 pandemic – with some areas not expected to re-open until the middle of June, this has had a huge impact on the options available to students. In yesterday’s budget announcement, it was announced that the Furlough scheme would be extended until September, so many may face the continuation of life on 80% of their normal income but still having to balance this against their usual living costs.

However, for those who have not been on furlough and may have lost their jobs or not been able to find work at all, University life may have been very challenging over these last few months.

With so many 18-24 year olds facing a loss of employment and many of those being University students,having an understanding of how your finances can impact your Mental Health and being aware of the support available to you, is vital.

Many individuals who are experiencing difficulties with their mental health, may feel anxious and isolated (especially so within the current climate) and may find the management of their finances challenging. However, the University of Northampton have a Counselling and Mental Health Team and Financial Guidance Team who are here to provide information and support to help you.  You can find out more about the Counselling and Mental Health Team here:

Find out more about University Mental Health Day here:

Please find below more information about the  financial assistance and support offered by the University.

Hardship funds

The University of Northampton has recently received funding from the Office for Students (OfS) to help students who are struggling financially due to the impact of Covid-19. There are two funds currently available to  students at the University of Northampton, which are:

  1.  The Office for Students (OfS) Covid-19 Hardship Fund
  2. The Office for Students (OfS) Accommodation Hardship Fund

Both funds offer support of up to £500 per student and you can apply for both if you meet the eligibility criteria.  To find out more and to apply for these funds, please visit the Finances section of the Student hub or click the buttons bellow.

The Financial Guidance Team also offers other funds such as the Financial Assistance Fund and EU Hardship Fund. They also have funds to support Care Leaver/Foyer/Estranged Students, a Carers Award, financial support for those who require a diagnostic assessment as part of their DSA application and a DSA top-up support (eligibility criteria apply). The team also has a partnership with the local Citizens Advice office who can offer advice and information for those with complex queries.

Student Finance – Home and EU Students*

The majority of Home and EU students at the University of Northampton receive some level of funding from Student Finance  (dependent on their home region). For some, their eligibility for funding  may have potentially changed with current circumstances, if you have had a change in circumstances and need to find out more about how this may impact on you, you may wish to contact your funding provider directly, please find details below:

Student Finance England

NHS Student Bursaries Team

Student Awards Agency for Scotland

Student Finance Northern Ireland

Student Finance Wales

*Those whose course started within the 2020-2021 Academic Year

Disabled Students Allowance (DSA)

Students experiencing mental health difficulties may be eligible for DSA. Students experiencing mental health difficulties may not identify as disabled; however, for many experiencing mental health difficulties, it can be disabling and have an impact on your access to education.

For more information about DSA, the eligibility criteria  and how to apply, please click here:  

Money management and Mental Health go hand in hand. If you have any questions about any of the above funding or want to find out more email money@northampton.ac.uk.

A Covid -19 Accommodation Hardship Fund is now available for all eligible University of Northampton Students.

The University of Northampton has received money from the Office for Students (OfS) to help support students who are struggling with the costs of their student accommodation, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. The University of Northampton Financial Guidance Team have therefore set up a new Accommodation Hardship Fund.

The Office for Students (OfS) Accommodation Hardship Fund can offer support to students who are renting student accommodation (both University Halls of Residence or Private Sector accommodation) and who are facing financial hardship because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

To be eligible to apply for this fund, you must meet the following criteria:

  • You must be enrolled on a University of Northampton Higher Education course. The Fund will be available to all Home, EU and International Students who are enrolled on a full-time or part-time, Undergraduate or Postgraduate course or studying with a University of Northampton Sub-Contract partner.
  • You must be able to demonstrate that you have student accommodation costs to pay. The Fund is aimed at those who cannot live at home and are currently living in University of Northampton Halls of Residence or Private Sector student accommodation OR those who are currently living at home but are still paying rent for student accommodation.
  • You must be able to demonstrate that you are in financial hardship. This could be a loss of an income stream which you rely on, such as a loss of employment or reduced working hours/furlough, you have been advised to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or have incurred additional costs due to Covid-19 and have access to limited funds. You will need to provide copies of your bank statements to demonstrate your access to limited funds.
  • You cannot apply for this fund if you have applied for and are eligible to receive a rent rebate on your rental contract with the University of Northampton Halls of Residence. All applications will be checked with the Accommodation Team.
  • You cannot apply for this fund if you are living in your own home (mortgage or renting) and are therefore not paying additional rent for student accommodation.

Please be aware that the OfS Accommodation Hardship Fund is limited and applications will be processed in date order by the Financial Guidance Team. Awards are restricted to one per student; up to a maximum award of £500.

To apply for the OfS Accommodation Hardship Fund you must complete the online application form which you can find on the Student Hub:

For further information about this fund and other funds offered by the Financial Guidance Team, please visit the Finances pages!

To allow the team to process your application as quickly as possible, please ensure you have provided all your supporting documents. This includes a copy of your tenancy agreement as well as a copy of bank statements for ALL the accounts held by you as well as any other supporting evidence that can help your application.

Many students are failing to submit all their bank statements, which means we need to ask for further information and results in a delay with your assessment. Please help us to help you, by providing all your information when you submit your application.

The deadline to apply is Wednesday 17 March 2021. All application forms and any supporting evidence must be received by this date and will not be accepted after this date.

The team have already received a large number of applications. Funds are limited, so please be aware that funds could be fully allocated before the deadline date is reached.

If you would like to find out more about this fund or other support offered by the University, please visit the University of Northampton Finances page:

Virtual Valentine’s Day

With Valentine’s Day or Galentine’s Day (for those of you wanting to celebrate with your girl mates) or even Palentine’s Day (for those of you wanting to celebrate with all of your pals) just around the corner, and the restrictions surrounding Covid-19 not seeming to disappear any time soon. Here are our top tips for hosting a Virtual Valentine’s day without breaking the bank!

A Pizza my heart

Valentines normally signifies going on a beautiful date to a lovely restaurant. However, this seems impossible with pubs and restaurants closed during this current lockdown. Why don’t you consider ordering the same takeaway at the same time and eating it together or even consider the same meal separately and eating it together?

We all know that we should avoid eating too many takeaways for both the goodness of our health and our bank balance. However, here are some top money-saving tips to get the most from your takeaways.

UberEats

UberEats are always giving away fantastic promotions for new sign-ups, such as 50% of and £10 off when you spend £15. Don’t worry if you’re an avid UberEats user, there are still some amazing deals to be had. Have a look online and you can find some amazing offers and discounts.

Dominos

Do you follow the University of Northampton Students’ Union on Social Media? If not, why not? Follow them on social media Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. The SU has a partnership with the local Northampton Branch of Dominos and is always promoting amazing discount codes for students to use.

Not in Northampton for Valentine’s day? Don’t worry about it. If you happen to live near any other University in the UK, check out their SU social media pages as they too will be sharing some great Dominos discount codes.

Residential Life

If you’re in Northampton for Valentine’s Day and undecided on what to dine on.  Check out the University of Northampton Residential Life team on Instagram. They’re always posting some amazing discounts and deals with loads of Northampton Takeaways and restaurants. Including a gigantic pizza that can serve up to 12 people!

If Takeaways aren’t your thing and you want to rustle up something fantastic and romantic don’t worry if you’re not the next Gordan Ramsey here are some great meals and tips to make the most of the 14th of February.

Supermarket Deals

During February loads of supermarkets are promoting some fantastic meal deals that you can get involved in. We’re not just talking about a £3 sandwich, crisps, and drink (even though we are big fans!).

Asda is currently promoting a deal where you can get 2 pizzas of your choice, a bottle of fizzy drink, and a sky movie code to watch a film of your choice. Even if you’re apart for Valentine’s day, I’m sure everyone could handle a few extra slices.

If you want to go a little bit more upmarket and expensive. Marks & Spencer’s are offering a fantastic Valentine’s Day Meal Deal where you can choose a starter, main course, side, dessert, chocolates, and a bottle of wine all for just £20. This is sure to go down a treat.

Cooking at Home

If you’re looking to create a fabulous creation in the Kitchen without breaking the bank and setting the oven on fire. Here are some of our personal favorite dishes to cook. If you shop around at the best budget supermarkets such as Aldi and Lidl, we reckon you can create all of these for under £5.

·         Spaghetti Bolognese

·         Chicken or Mushroom Risotto

·         Chilli Con Carne

·         Fajitas

If you want some more information on budget-friendly cooking ideas checkout Beat the Budget on Instagram or take a look at their website!


Sharing the Love and Screens

On Valentine’s day, cinemas are packed with couples and groups watching the latest romantic comedy with either Zac Effron or Hugh Grant in the lead. But with cinemas shut and nobody knows when they will reopen, how will people get their romantic film needs? The answer, through Watch Parties. Both Netflix and Disney+ have the functions included in them to watch films together at the same time. So if you want to romanticise together over an episode of Bidgerton or the spaghetti eating scene in Lady and Tramp, you can.

You may be wondering what films to watch together, so here are a few of our top picks!

Netflix

·         The Notebook

·         To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

·         Holding the Man

·         Hitch

If our suggestions aren’t emoting a sense of romance in you for Valentine’s Day this year. Take a look at the Cosmopolitan article of ‘The 25 Sweetest, Sappiest Movies to Stream on Netflix This Valentine’s Day’.

Disney+

·         Lady and the Tramp

·         Cinderella

·         The Lizzy Maguire Movie

·         Beauty and The Beast

Disney+ also contains all the Marvel and Star Wars movies and television shows, so if you want to try and watch Thanos destroy the Universe or the Mandolorian try and take Baby Yoda home instead you can.

On the 23rd February Disney+ will be adding its new channel Star. So if you’re looking for some more adult entertainment such as Grey’s Anatomy, 24, How I Met You Mother or Family Guy. This will be a very welcomed edition, especially during lockdown!

If watching films and series together isn’t your thing there are loads of different things that you can do virtually together and have some fun! From channeling your inner Queen’s Gambit and playing online Chess, get your groove on and have a virtual Spotify Party and share your favourite songs together and even a special Valentine’s Day playlist that you have created. If you want to get creative together why not get yourselves matching painting by numbers sets (you can currently order set when you can upload a picture of yourselves) or even get some clay and do some a virtual pottery class together. It could even be an extremely socially distanced version of the scene from Ghost! If you don’t fancy any of those ideas and you have the resources, you could even play together and shoot some zombies on COD.


Giving a piece of your heart and gifts

Some people are very organised with buying gifts and get them weeks and months in advance or some people leave it to the very last minute and end up having a mad dash to try and get something. With all shops shut other than essential retailers you may struggle to find something that ticks the boxes that you desire. Posting gifts from your home to theirs, potentially taking a very long time – especially if internationally. So below are some of our top tips for giving gifts without breaking the bank and hopefully arriving on time.

Amazon Prime Student

Amazon is the biggest online retailer in the world. Where you can buy anything from a television, a bicycle, the latest books, and even a kitchen sink. There are millions of different things to buy on there which will make for the perfect Valentine’s Day gifts.

If you have not already signed up for Amazon Prime Student, why not? The first 6 months are completely free and from then on it’s just £3.99 a month and you can cancel at any time that you want. Included with your Amazon Prime Student account, is one-day delivery (perfect for you any last-minute gift buyers), prime video (with contains some amazing videos and series), and Amazon Music.

If you are struggling for ideas on what to buy, here are some of our favourite top picks:

Cadbury Valentine Treasure Box

£14 – Amazon.co.uk

In our opinion Cadbury’s Chocolate is the greatest in the world. With everyone’s January diets over this is the perfect gift for anyone with a sweet tooth or thos individuals who are notoriously hard to buy for. – £14

Our Moments Couples: 100 Thought-Provoking Conversation Starters for Great Relationships

£16.95 – Amazon.co.uk

Whether it’s your first Valentine’s Day together or your 10th, this is the perfect way to interact with you partner and get closer than ever. Couples who make time for each other, stay together! This is the perfect gift to enhance your relationship even more. – £16.95

100 Things To Do After Quarantine Bucket List Scratch Off Poster

£11.98 – Amazon.co.uk

Having been locked down for the best part of a year now, people are urging to get back outside into the real world and start doing things again, and especially this time of year, start dating again. The closest thing to a romantic date outside of our houses this year will either be a a late night trip to Big Tesco or loosing ourselves in the aisles of B&M. This scratch off poster will help give us a sense of achievement when life goes back to normal and what we once took for granted, will provide some amazing date ideas! £11.98

With Amazon, the world is your oyster and there is so much choice available for you to purchase and with Amazon Prime Student, you can save a lot of money.

Etsy

If you are looking for something personalised and to support small businesses, Etsy is the place for you, Etsy is a website which is focused on handmade or vintage items and craft goods. There’s a wide variety of different categories, including clothing, home décor, jewellery, bag, toy, furniture, art as well as craft supplies and tools. If you are looking to get something different with a personal touch to it and some extra love included within it, Etsy is the place for you.

Student Discount

As a student we understand that looking after your money can sometimes be tough and you want to save as much money as possible, so student discount is an absolute blessing. There are tonnes of different companies which offer some fantastic student discount. However, three main providers facilitate the discount. All you need to sign up for these is access to your my.northampton email to prove that you’re a student.

UniDays

UniDays offer some amazing discounts for students such as ASOS, Misguided, Apple, Byron Burger, and JD Sports to name a few. UniDays is completely free to sign up to, all you need to do is download the UniDays app, sign up with your my.northampton email, and start saving lots of money.

Student Beans

Student Beans is works exactly the same as UniDays, it’s an app and it’s completely free to sign up to. With discounts available through boohoo.com, Missguided, GymShark and you can get a free cheeseburger, mayo chicken, or McFlurry from McDonald’s with your meal. There’s also a discount available at Flower Station if you wanted to send the one you love a dozen red roses.

Totum

Totum is the student discount provided by the National Union of Students (NUS), it was formally known as the NUS Extra card. It’s not currently free to sign up too. However, it is internationally recognised and you can use the ISIC discount throughout the world. When you sign up for your Totum account you also get a physical card and discounts with companies like O2, Robert Dyas, I Saw It First, Halfords, and specific Northampton based discounts too.

Personalised Cards

Valentine’s Day wouldn’t be Valentine’s Day without a card with a cute message declaring your love for each other. There are loads of websites out there where you can personalise your own cards with pictures and messages of your choice. These don’t just have to be for Valentine’s day, but can also include Birthdays and other celebrations. Some of our favourite websites for personalised cards are the following ‘Moonpig.com’ and ‘FunkyPigeon.com’. They even post it directly to the recipient, so you needn’t worry about that. Unfortunately, if you wanted to confess your undying love to a secret individual unless you know their address, you may struggle.

Home Made Wonders

If you fancy getting creative and making your own gifts and cards do it. However, don’t worry if you’re not creative at all, hopefully, all our tips above will help you send the perfect gift to your valentine, whilst saving yourself some money. However, don’t spend anything more than you can afford to. In the current climate, everyone is in the same boat in regards to being in lockdown. Instead of champagne at the Ritz, this Valentine’s Day may be more frozen pizza and the notebook.


Celebrating Valentine’s Day is about celebrating the one you love, with the one you love be it face to face if you’re fortunate to live together or be it virtually if you’re apart. Whatever your choice is, make sure it follows the Covid-19 restrictions that are in place.

Moved back home for the January term? What does it mean for me?

Like the majority of University Students in the UK, you will be spending your first term of 2021 at the University of Northampton working from home. That is unless you’re on an allied health professional course. With so many students now moving back home the Student Loans Company (SLC) have released new guidance.

Throughout this blog post we’ve broken down the information in an easy way to help you understand it quickly. (This information is for those who receive their loan from Student Finance England)  The full information in regards to it can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/guidance-for-students-who-have-moved-back-home-in-the-january-term

No matter where you live during your period of study your Tuition Fee loan is exactly the same. However your Maintenance Loan is dependent on where you live during term times. They are the following:

A screen shot of the 2020 to 2021 academic year Maintenance Loan table. Living at home - up to £7,747. Living away from home, outside London up to £9,203. Living away from home, in London - up to £12,010.
A screen shot of the 2020 to 2021 academic year M;aintenance Loan table.

For individuals studying at the University of Northampton, you only need to worry about Living at home or Living away from home, outside of London. The approve image shows the maximum amount of loan an individual can get. Maintenance Loans are means tested dependent on household income.

Take a look at this really useful article by Save The Student which explains Maintenance Loans and how they work: https://www.savethestudent.org/student-finance/maintenance-loans.html

Under normal situations, if you were to move back home during term time you would be reassessed and your loan amount would be reduced to the ‘Living at home’ rate. Currently, the UK Government has made the decision for those students who are still having to pay accommodation costs – both in on and off campus/private  accommodation will not be reassessed. This is to provide students who are still paying rent the financial support that they need during these extraordinary circumstances.

Do you need to tell the SLC if you have moved back home?

You only need to do this if you have moved back home properly. By that we mean that you are no longer having to payout for accommodation costs such as rent. If you are still having to pay for accommodation costs, please do NOT update your SLC account as they will re-asses you to the ‘Living at Home’ rate of loan for this January.

However, if you have moved home properly make sure to update you account to reflect your new living situation. This will allow your rate of loan to reflect your living situation and will amend the amount that you will potentially pay back.

To update your information about you living accommodation and to make any changes, visit you SLC online account here.

If you are undecided about your accommodation in the future and plan on moving away from home in the third term, due to the uncertainty of how Covid-19 will affect face to face and remote teaching and learning, the Government advice and guidance will be updated accordingly. As soon an we know anything else, we will update this blog accordingly.

Can you get any extra funding costs to cover the costs of moving back home and studying at home?

For many people working from their ‘home’ home is not as effective as whilst working at University. For many people they have experienced some new costs and unplanned expenditure. For many students who have had their income reduced due to being furloughed or because of their loss of employment this can be an extremely challenging time.

However, you cannot get any extra funding from the SLC to cover the costs of ‘living at home’ For those receiving the Maintenance Loan for living at home, should be able to cover the costs associated with living at home. For those of receiving the ‘living away from home’ rate of Maintenance Loan will continue to do so to cover costs such as accommodation.

The University of Northampton, has received money from the Office for Students (OfS) and is able to provide a Covid Hardship Fund which all students are eligible for provided they meet the requirement criteria. The Covid Hardship Fund, can be used for students to purchase equipment that they may need to work effectively from ‘home’ home or to cover short fallings brought in by the Covid-19 pandemic.

To find out more about the Covid-19 Hardship fund, take a look at our recent blog post here.

If you’re still to apply for Student Finance this year, what should you put on your application for living arrangements for this term?

If you are going to be at home for the majority of this January term – with the current uncertainty surrounding Covid-19, this could be extremely likely. Yet, you’re still having to pay accommodation costs for you accommodation away from home such as rent. You should still put ‘living away from home’ for this term on your application. If you won’t have these costs, then put ‘living at home’.

If you still have accommodation costs, even through you’ve moved back home and don’t want the higher rate of loan?

You must inform the SLC in regards to any changes to your contact address by logging into you account. If you do not want to continue receiving the higher Maintenance Loan of ‘living away from home’, you’ll need to update the extra step when updating your contact address to tell us about your change of living arrangements fo the majority of this January term.

Once that change has been made, they will re-asses your student finance and reduce your entitlement for the January term. If you have already received the higher rate as your January Maintenance Loan payment, the SLC will recover the ‘overpayment’ from future payments.

If you receive your student finance from Student Finance Wales, Student Finance Northern Ireland?

The current information about the ‘living away from home’ loan rate mentioned throughout this blog, focusses on those receiving funding fro Student Finance England. However, the rules are pretty much the same, if you are still having to pay for accommodation costs whilst living at home due to Covid-19 restrictions, you will still be entitled to the ‘living away from home’ Maintenance Loan.

Any Questions?

If you have any questions or concerns about your student finance, feel free to contact the University of Northampton Financial Guidance Team by either emailing money@northampton.ac.uk or visiting the Financial Guidance page of the Student Hub.

The SLC has a team of expert advisers available on their social media channels, so if there is anything you need to contact them about you can submit your questions via either Facebook and Twitter.