The Best Student Life. Bristol SU


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We're not financial advisers. But Just Ask can share some general tips and direct you towards expert money and debt advice.

Also on this page: Student funding, Money worries.

11 money-saving tips

  1. Carry your student card or NUS Extra card, as many shops give a student discount. If they don’t state it, ask them.
  2. Get things for free. You can often find free household goods on Bristol's freecycle group
  3. Find discounts. Try “deal of the day” websites, like Groupon. Subscriber get emails about regional and national discounts.
  4. See if own-brand is cheaper. Don’t always go for big brand-name products. Supermarkets' own brands can be much cheaper.
  5. Don't buy full-price books. Go second-hand, use the library, or look online. is a free way to search for second-hand textbooks.
  6. Use charity shops. You can pick up second-hand goods and clothes at bargain prices.
  7. Make packed lunches. It's cheaper than eating out every day.
  8. Have communal meals. Chip in with your housemates to share a meal - much cheaper than cooking individually.
  9. Walk. Running a car is very expensive. If you can, walk: it will save you money and keep you fit. 
  10. Read your bank statements. This can help you spot expenses you could reduce.
  11. Don't buy stuff. Lots of people like getting new things. But if you're short of money, think about whether you need the item!

Find more ways to save money on the Money Saving Expert website.

Student Funding: the basics

Here are the University's current tuition fees. There's information about funding, grants, bursaries, scholarships and more on the University's pages about funding for undergraduate study and funding for postgraduate study

The government's Student finance page has information about student loans, tuition fees, and maintenance (living cost) loans.

Are you an international student?

  • There is little support from the UK Government or the University. The University advise International Students to arrange funding before arriving at the University.
  • Support may be available from the British Council in your home country or from the department in which you wish to study – check for details.
  • For International Postgraduate students there are a few more options - see the University's advice about funding postgraduate study.
  • Use the Funding Office's Funding Search tool to find scholarships, grants, bursaries, etc.
  • To help you budget, Brightside have a free International Student Calculator.

Are you a part-time student?

Are you a postgraduate student?

  • The goverment offers up to £10,280 as part of their Postgraduate Loan.
  • The University expects students to arrange funding before starting study.
  • You can also self-fund through savings, employer sponsorship, or though a Professional/Career Development Loan.
  • Postgraduate research students should apply to the relevant research council, or ask their department for any financial assistance they can offer.
  • See the University's pages about funding for postgraduate study
  • The Careers website has extensive details on potential sources of funding.

Money worries

Unfortunately, many students find themselves in financial difficulty at some point. Sadly, Bristol SU does not have money available for students in hardship.

Short term loans

  • If you are a full time Home student and have a temporary money problem, such as being a bit short on your rent one month, or waiting for delayed funding, you could apply to the University’s Student Funding Office for a Short Term Emergency Loan.

Access to Learning and hardship funds

  • Home and EU students (Undergraduate or Postgraduate) experiencing severe unexpected moneys problems can apply to the Financial Assistance Fund (FAF), sometimes referred to as a “Hardship Grant”. If your application is successful, the money you are awarded is in the form of a non-repayable grant. As such, it is well worth applying for if you can demonstrate you have a genuine financial problem. Help and guidance on completing the application form can be obtained from a Just Ask adviser, or a member of staff in the Funding Office.
  • If you are a part-time student you can also apply to these funds, although you must be studying at least 50% of the full-time equivalent credits.
  • If you are an International Student you can apply to the International Hardship Fund for help. This can be difficult to apply to as you must be able to show that they had enough funding in place before starting your studies. If you did not budget for accommodation for example, the University may deem this as insufficient preparation. Examples of unforeseen circumstances that may be deemed reasonably unexpected could include a sponsor dropping out of their commitments, or a student who has to return home for a family emergency.

If you're struggling...

  • Get advice from the funding office or from a Just Ask adviser if you experience financial difficulties.
  • Don't use “payday loans” –  they can  seem like a quick fix, but they have very high interest rates. Students can end up in a worse financial situation by taking out a payday loan. Talk to the Student Funding Office for help exploring better alternatives.
  • If you are overdrawn with your bank or getting letters from creditors or utility companies, don’t ignore it – get advice before the problem gets worse, the interest on your debt will add up and you may incur additional charges!
  • If you have large debt owing to such organisations it is worth trying to negotiate a sensible monthly repayment plan. The National Debtline website has a lot of advice on this, including sample letters you can send to your creditors. The Debt Advice Foundation is a national charity who also offer a variety of help.
  • The Citizens Advice Bureau is also a good place to look first, they have a really useful section on how young people can deal with debt. You can either seek advice online, over the phone or in person (be warned at peak times it can be difficult to get an appointment).
  • One way to try and prevent getting into debt in the first place is to draw up a budget and stick to it! Use a budget template, such as Money Advice Service’s budget planner.