Should Cost Affect Your University Choices?
Choosing which university to attend for three years is a difficult choice, and it involves more thought than if you like the nightlife and if you get your own bathroom! University is expensive, very expensive, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t possible either. When we talk about university being expensive we are referring to rent, bills, cost of living above all other things that affect your student budget. However, should cost affect your university choices? Is it better and easier to choose a different degree because it is cheaper?
When we look at cost and university, there are so many factors that affect both of these things. Firstly, there are tuition fees and accommodation costs. This is how much the course costs for your name to be on the list, and how much it will cost you to live while studying. University accommodation costs also affect students who choose to live at home and commute, not only students living in halls or at the university. Halls of residence at universities do generally cost more; they are more expensive on average. And this could be of the area – such as cities like London, Manchester and Glasgow – or because you are in a prime location and paying to live so close to the campuses.
Although the amount of money it costs to study recently may put anyone off, you should realise that you don’t have to pay this up front! (Not many people have a spare £15,000 a year in their pocket!) The wonderful thing you need to read up about is Student Loans. Student Loans allows university students to take out a loan for their degree and accommodation (this will come under a ‘Maintenance Loan’) and pay it back later. And later also means when you’re earning a decent amount of money too – whey! Every United Kingdom national or citizen is entitled to student loans, but it is only for their first degree. So when choosing your university and course; choose wisely! Because the next one you’re paying for yourself!
Secondly, another area of university that ‘costs’, is connected to the area, living costs and course materials you might need. This means if you live in a city or close to the capital, everything may seem a bit more expensive, including public transport, food and events, etc., which will affect your living costs because you need to include these vital things in your budget. Depending on the course, each degree has course materials. These could be textbooks, art materials and resources, or printing off readings and information, the possibilities are endless. A Fine Arts degree may be really expensive if you’re projecting need a lot of materials, or a Film degree could be costly due to the filming equipment you have to rent for coursework.
Even so, with university seeming to be extremely expensive, it shouldn’t put you off of your choice and decision on what to study and where. The only thing that you need to think about is if you can realistically live in that area and complete the course while still being able to live! And Student loans aren’t as miraculous as they seem, they give students enough, more like the bare minimum which might mean students have to take up a part-time job while studying, save up funds beforehand to help with the costs, or even give themselves a strict budget! Whatever it is that you choose to do, don’t base your choice on just the cost. Your happiness and passions are more valuable than the net worth anyway.
Your choices should be more informed than that of the monetary value. Plenty of universities will cost money, but only a few will actually be able to provide you with what you actually need. The cost will obviously be a factor for all university students, regardless of what you’re studying, but the cost of a degree will obviously all depend on the reputation of the university, the city the university is in, the overall ranking of the university and how the university does for graduation rates, however, you can still compare universities with relative ease.
The cost of a degree can rely on a number of external factors too, for instance, if the university is part of the Russell Group of Universities, which is a collection of prestigious universities that regularly hit the highest possible standards in academia today, and is made up of universities such as the University of Durham and King’s College London. This can affect the cost of a university and can even drive the price of accommodation up too.
Accommodation is a big part of a university choice too. Deciding where to live can be a costly decision too, as you’ll need to have a place sorted as soon as possible, especially, if you decide to go through Clearing (Sorting out last minute accommodation after Clearing, can be particularly difficult). However, while it may not affect the overall cost of your university application, it is still something to take into account in case you do decide to move away altogether. The accommodation side of things will be something to take into account very seriously, because it is still a cost that can affect your overall decision to move there.
The best thing to consider, is your happiness, your overall preference and what appeals to you. The money side of things will always dictate the way you apply, especially with parents, however, money can be paid back easily, as university loans are not paid back until you can afford to pay them and are also wiped clean after a while too anyway, they also don’t affect your credit rating either, as it is literally impossible to miss a payment. However, that being said, don’t go making any rash financial decisions when you are actually at university, you don’t want to have to be calling mum and dad up and asking them to bale you out of any bad situation you’ve managed to go and get yourself into, be sensible in your application to university and with your money!