We have produced an extensive guide to help you navigate your way around financial support provided by the Government, the College, and the University.
Advice from the Bursar
Responsibility for your financial affairs will largely fall on you, just as responsibility for your academic success will.
This advice, for undergraduates and PGCE and 2nd BMs, will help you get your finances straight enough to be able to ignore them once you get here!
Get the right forms to your Student Finance Office as early as possible to ensure that your fee waiver, if applicable and your student loans are in place at the start of term.
If you have a problem with your loan by the time you arrive, see the Bursary immediately. Almost no problem is insoluble if tackled at once; problems get out of hand if nothing is done.
Understand how the loans system works.
The University’s Student Funding website includes details. There is also extra financial help for disabled students and care leavers. The Oxford Opportunity Bursary scheme also uses this Student Finance data to provide you automatically with what can be very significant financial help if your family income is at the low end, tapering to some help up to the £42,600 end of the range. (This includes first year graduate entry medicine students and PGCE students who are not in receipt of a TA (Teaching Agency) Bursary will be eligible to be assessed for an Oxford Opportunity Bursary. (PGCE and graduate medical entry students will not receive the start-up).)
Don’t worry about the loan from Student Finance Direct (no matter how large or small it is).
Details of Repaying Government Support can be found at the University web site.
Make sure your family understands what the Government expects them to contribute (or you to earn in vacations).
Government figures calculate your annual costs at less than you need. The Government assumes a student who receives the full loan needs no family help. In fact, even in Oxford where the cost of living in College for 25 weeks a year is not high, the loan is too low. The Government also assumes that a student who is entitled to only 75% of the loan will get even more help or earn more.
The College has some funds for the relief of sudden and unexpected hardship.
This is handled on the basis of individual need. There is only a little money available for such purposes, and students are expected to arrive with their finances in good shape. But, if anything goes wrong, it is essential to get on top of the problem quickly. Seeing the Bursar sooner rather than later is always the wisest course of action.
Remember that 95% of students have no serious financial problems during their time here.
It is almost unheard of for students to abandon their courses for financial reasons (no undergraduates and only one graduate student in the twenty plus years I have been Bursar). There will be a great deal to think about other than finances once you are here – most of which is much more interesting!