Let’s celebrate National Care Leavers’ Week 26-30 October

Let’s celebrate National Care Leavers’ Week 26-30 October

Have you got experience of being in the care of a Local Authority? We recognise that your experiences may mean you are very capable and resilient, but nevertheless it can be challenging coming to university without family support, particularly during the pandemic. If you recently left the care system, you may be unsure where to get any support you need, now you are living independently.

Support at Queen Mary

The good news is that there is lots of support for you at Queen Mary University. This is confidential and is explained on the Advice and Counselling Service website. It includes having access to a dedicated Welfare Adviser throughout your course, to help you with practical and financial matters, so that you are more able to focus on your studies. Navigating university life can be difficult, and sometimes it’s useful to have a member of staff who you can ask any questions to: even if we are sometimes not the right people to help, we will find out who is.

It is up to you whether you want to take up the support, and if so, whether you contact us now, or later on.  If you contact us now, we will keep in touch with you throughout your course at particular points in the year, for example to remind you about applying for financial assistance, support during the exam period, and with news about events that may be of interest.

Financial Support

Here are some ways that a Welfare Adviser can help you manage your money:

  • ensuring you are getting all of the income you’re entitled to
  • helping you apply for Student Finance as an independent student
  • planning your budget so you know how much your income and expenses are
  • helping you apply to the University Financial Assistance Fund – you can apply during the academic year, but importantly as an independent student you can also apply during the summer vacation for help with your living costs when you won’t receive any Maintenance Loan

We also have useful guidance on our website:

Undergraduate Funding guide (and a separate version for Medical and Dental students)

Additional Sources of Funding guide

Budgeting guidance and money saving ideas

Financial Assistance Fund information

Emotional Support

Our Counselling website has lots of information and resources to support your wellbeing. There is a specific page about sources of support during Covid-19.

If you would like one to one confidential Counselling, you can contact us.

One of our Counsellors is publishing a blog post on Friday 30 October about going to university without family support. This will include information about a new Independent Student Support group which we are setting up.

Careers Support

As an independent student, you have the option of having a dedicated Careers Consultant at the Queen Mary Careers and Enterprise Centre throughout your course. A Careers Consultant can give you one to one advice and help with building your work experience and skills throughout your time at university, to optimise your employment opportunities once you graduate. You can either contact Careers yourself, or if you attend an appointment with a Welfare Adviser, we can make a direct referral to Careers for you.

Study Support

Adjusting to a university style of teaching and learning can take time. And this year you are also adjusting to learning online. There is information on the Advice and Counselling Service website about study support at QM.

External support

IMO is a voice for young people with experience of being in care. It is somewhere you can share stories, experiences and achievements, get and give advice.

Sign up to the IMO Virtual Careers event 4-6pm on Weds 28 October

Isabel’s Voice is a charity which supports young people to access relevant services. On their website you can type in the name of your Local Authority and see what support they offer to people who have left the care system. A Welfare Adviser can help you liaise with your Local Authority if you would like support with this.

Estranged and Care Experienced Students (EaCES) in the UK have written a handbook by students, for students, with lots of information about a wide variety of topics.

Do you need additional income?

#QMULMoneyTips

Do you need additional income?

Once you have calculated your budget (you can use our budgeting guidance to do this), you may find your budget balances. But if you find that you have less income than you need for your expenses, here are some ways you may be able to increase your income, and some ways to reduce your costs. This information is available in our Additional Sources of Funding guide for undergraduates and in our Postgraduate Funding guide.

You can find useful guidance on our Money web pages

Do you need further advice?

You can email us for advice or book a confidential one to one appointment with a Welfare Adviser. Our contact details are on our website as well as lots of information and guidance.

Twitter: @QMUL_ACS

Facebook: http://on.fb.me/pj5TP3

Top Ten Money Tips!

Check out our top ten money tips to start the new academic year! There are lots of ways to make your money last longer!jar-and-stacks-of-money 

  1. Plan your personal budget for the academic year ahead, so you are in control of your finances and don’t have to worry. We have online guidance and spreadsheets to help you with this
  2. Don’t miss out on money that you are entitled to. Use the funding advice guides on the Advice and Counselling Service website to help you check this
  3. Buy an NUS (National Union of Students) TOTUM card (from £14.99 a year) to get discounts on a wide variety of shops, restaurants, cinema and travel
  4. Use our money saving ideas to find out about more discounts and ways to get the best value for your money. Also check out the money saving ideas by Save the Student
  5. Use Save the Student’s tips to save money on your food shopping. Also try ‘downsizing’ to supermarket own brands
  6. Compare student bank accounts before choosing the right one for you. Home students can open a student account. There is specific information for international students about opening a bank account on the Advice and Counselling Service website.
  7. To avoid running out of money before the end of the semester, open different bank accounts for different purposes and move money between them at set times. Get advice from the Student Room
  8. Search online for price comparison websites to get the best deal on whatever you are buying
  9. Make the most of travel discounts such as the 18+ student Oyster photocard, and the 16-25 railcard
  10. If you are in financial hardship you may be eligible to apply to the Queen Mary Financial Assistance Fund 

Find out more about ways to save money and how to plan your budget on our website.

Contact us if you would like confidential money advice from a Welfare Adviser.

Follow us on social media for updates: 

Twitter: @QMUL_ACS 

Facebook: http://on.fb.me/pj5TP3

 

 

New to university?

New to University?

That probably means you’re new to budgeting. Either as a student who hasn’t lived away from home or in London before, or perhaps you’re returning to study after working, and you’re not used to managing on a student budget. Watch our short animation about Budgeting to see what the benefits are.

Either way, first things first. Congratulations and welcome to Queen Mary!

We make it easy for you to a plan a budget with our budgeting resources which help you calculate your total income and how much money you need for living costs. Check out our undergraduate and postgraduate pre-populated spreadsheets, which detail average expenses of living in London for a year.  There’s also a blank spreadsheet you can complete yourself. Not forgetting lots of great money saving tips you can have a look at!

Once you have worked out your budget and checked for any shortfall between your income and expenses, check the funding guides on our Money webpage to see if there’s any income you didn’t know about.

It’s a good idea to open a student bank account, as many banks offer interest-free overdrafts which can be useful extra income. Our Additional Sources of Funding advice guide explains more about the benefits of having a student account, and if you need help understanding the process, we have helpful guidance about that, too. The Money Saving Expert website has a comparison of student accounts and Save the Student lists international accounts.

If you need one to one advice just contact us for support at any time. Our advice is free and confidential. You can contact us if you would like help planning your money for the year, or if you are in financial difficulties. We are here to help.

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Watch out for fraudsters, keep your money safe

Fraudsters are aware that Student Maintenance Loans and grants are being paid at this time of year and they can target students with bogus emails or texts. This is known as phishing and the aim is to obtain online account details and passwords to enable them to access personal information and money.

Even if you don’t receive Student Maintenance Loans, fraudsters may still send you phishing emails and texts and may even call you pretending to be from an organisation.  These can be random but sometimes a fraudster may strike lucky and if you have an account or have had contact with that organisation, they can appear genuine.  They may even pretend to be from the Police, the Home Office or from the Inland Revenue. 

Fraudsters can often be very persuasive and put pressure on you to follow their instructions but don’t let them trick you into providing any personal information, bank details and don’t transfer any funds. Only criminals will pressurise you to provide personal information or transfer money.

Banks and financial institutions will not send you an email asking you to click on a link and confirm your bank details or to transfer money to another bank account.

The Home Office will not call and put pressure on you to pay them money.

The Student Loans Company or Student Finance England (SFE) will never ask you to confirm your bank details, login information or personal financial information by email or text message.

Always contact the organisation directly to check if a request is genuine.

Student Finance England

Student Finance England have already been made aware of some students receiving the following scam text this year:

They have put together a Guide to identifying Phishing Scams and how to avoid them and also provided the following tips:

•           Be suspicious of any requests for personal or financial information. SLC or Student Finance England (SFE) will never ask you to confirm your bank details, login information or personal financial information by email or text message.

•           Phishing emails are often sent in bulk and are unlikely to contain both your first and last name. They commonly start, ‘Dear Student’ so be on guard if you see one like this.

•           Check the quality of the communication. Misspelling, poor punctuation and bad grammar are often tell-tale signs of phishing.

•           Failure to respond in 24 hours will result in your account being closed’ – these types of messages are designed to convey a sense of urgency to prompt a quick response.

•           Think before you click. If you receive an email or text message that contains a link that you’re not sure of then try hovering over it to check that it goes where it’s supposed to. If you’re still in any doubt don’t risk it, always go direct to the source rather than clicking on a potentially dangerous link.

•           Check out our guide to identifying a phishing scam and our phishing video on YouTube for more information.

If you receive a suspicious email send it to phishing@slc.co.uk.  Student Finance England can then investigate to protect other students. If you receive funding from Student Finance Wales, Northern Ireland or the SAAS, contact them directly to let them know too.

Applying for student finance after getting a place through clearing

Congratulations on your course offer.

Now you have secured your place at Queen Mary, make sure you apply for your student funding.

If you’ve got a place through the Clearing process and haven’t applied for Student Finance you need to apply now as applications can take several weeks. You can apply online. You can find out more about Student Finance in the Queen Mary Undergraduate Funding guide.

If your Student Finance is not ready when the academic year starts, we have information about your options.

Already applied for student finance?

If you’ve already applied for student finance but your course or university has changed through Clearing you’ll need to let Student Finance know as it could affect what you’re entitled to.

You can make changes to your course or university details online. To make a change log into your online account then Your Account>Change your application>University/college course

There is lots of information for students going through Clearing on the Student Finance Facebook page where you can also ask questions, and also on The Student Room 

Clearing students from Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland should contact their relevant funding body for advice on what to do:

Student Finance Wales

Student Finance Northern Ireland

Student Awards Agency for Scotland

Planning your budget for university

You can find lots of useful guidance about planning your budget and how to make the most of your money on the Queen Mary budgeting web page.

Postgraduate Funding

Thinking of starting postgraduate study ?

Undertaking postgraduate study is a big financial commitment, it is essential to secure enough funding to cover both your tuition fees and living costs for the length of your course but with careful planning many students are able to find ways of affording to study at postgraduate level. 

We have some useful budgeting guidance and resources on our website, which you can use to help you plan your finances for your course. First calculate your living costs and check your tuition fee amount so you will know how much money you need to find. Then you can start looking for sources of funding. Our Postgraduate Funding Guide is a good place to start.

Applications for SFE Postgraduate Master’s and Doctoral Loans for 2020/21 are now open. These Loans can help you with your course or living costs while you study.

Eligible students, starting Master’s courses in 2020/21, can borrow up to £11,222 and it’s not income assessed.  £11,222 is the maximum for the whole duration of the course.  If your Master’s course is longer than one year, the total loan amount will be split across the number of years of the course. 

Eligible students, starting doctoral courses in 2020/21, can borrow up to £26,445 and again it’s not income assessed. Similarly, £26,445 is the maximum for the whole duration of the course so the total loan amount will be split across the number of years of the course. 

SFE Postgraduate Loans are paid directly to you in three instalments throughout the academic year. They are intended as a contribution towards the cost of postgraduate study so they may not cover your full costs. Unlike undergraduate funding there are no additional loans or grants available to pay course tuition fees, support children and pay childcare costs or to support other dependents so it is really important to calculate your living costs and check your fee amount so you know how much money you will need to find according to your own circumstances.

Queen Mary also offers a significant package of competitive scholarships in a range of subject areas, as well as external sources of funding. Please see the Funding a Masters and Funding a PhD webpages for more information and to search the database of scholarships.

Many students work part-time during their studies to boost their income and gain valuable skills and experience. You may be worried about finding work due to the COVID-19 situation. Queen Mary Careers and Enterprise are continuing to support students throughout the COVID-19 outbreak and lots of employers are still recruiting during this time. Once you are enrolled at Queen Mary, you’ll have access to QMJobsOnline to browse open vacancies. You can follow the Careers and Enterprise blog to keep up to date with the latest employment market information and insight from employers. Please also see our Part-time and Vacation Work Guide.

If you have any questions or concerns about funding postgraduate study at Queen Mary, once you have read our guidance, please contact us.

Graduate Money Tips

Congratulations on coming to the end of your degree! We hope these tips will help you to organise your finances and to understand what you are entitled to so you can plan ahead.

We have some useful budgeting guidance on our website, which you could use to help you plan for the next few months. If you are working, budgeting will be a little more straightforward than when you were studying because where your maintenance loan income was paid termly, wages are usually paid monthly, which is how most bills are charged.

If you have deferred exams until August or are resitting, if you are in financial hardship and will need additional financial support, you can apply to the Queen Mary Financial Assistance Fund (FAF).  The deadline to apply is 10 July 2020 and you apply via Mysis. If you have not made a FAF application already this academic year you will need to complete a full FAF application online via Mysis. The application process is explained here.   If you have already made a FAF application this academic year then, to be considered for summer support, you need to email bursaries@qmul.ac.uk and ask them to re-open your application.

Save the Student has useful guidance about choosing a graduate bank account, including their review of the best graduate accounts this year.

If you have credit cards, overdrafts or personal loans, temporary rules have been put in place due to the current situation about freezing repayments, and offering interest free overdrafts. For more information see the FCA website.

You are not liable to start repaying student loans until at least April 2021, and then only if you are earning a minimum amount of money. There is more information on the gov.uk website.

If you are not working and you are concerned about finding a job, once your course has officially ended you can usually claim Universal Credit (UC) online from 1st June 2020. This is to help with your living costs. You can claim whether or not you are liable for rent, but if you are paying rent then you can usually claim a higher amount of UC. Universal Credit is paid monthly in arrears and can take at least 5 weeks to process. You will need to satisfy any work related requirements that apply to you but these are taking into account the current job situation. There is more information including how to apply on the gov.uk website. The Turn2Us website has a welfare benefits calculator