Students are increasingly having to find a paid job to help with the costs of university life. The extra income helps to pay for necessities, to reduce borrowing, to maintain a social life, to buy clothes and to gain skills for life after university or college. Using a part-time job to cut down on borrowing is a great idea, as it reduces the debt that will be waiting to be paid off after graduation.
How many hours students are currently working each week during term-time is not really certain. Some institutions advise that students should not work more than 10 hours a week, and there are others that set a higher recommended limit of 15 hours a week. There is no doubt that some students exceed even 15 hours a week.
There can be difficulties balancing these two commitments. Although you might not miss lectures and seminars, be aware if you have problems with tiredness, stress and pressure on study time.
Many universities and colleges provide information and contacts if you're looking for work while studying. You can also use the Job Centre Plus service, employment agencies, and classified adverts in newspapers and online.
Some examples of student jobs include administration, information technology, bar work, waiting on tables, telemarketing, market research, retail and driving.
If you work for a large company, you may also find the added benefit of being able to work for them in your home town during the holidays or vice versa.
The largest single area of employment is retail, where there is more demand for flexible part-time workers. Although it might be tempting to take on lots of shifts, there's no point getting extra cash if it ruins your chances of studying. You need to get the balance right, so don't burn yourself out. If you do work while studying, check that your employer meets their legal obligations to you - conditions of service and health and safety provision.
Your tax position as a student is that any grant is non-taxable. In general, so are any scholarships, bursaries, research awards and housing benefit you might get. In other words you can get any or all of these and still keep your full tax allowances.Everyone can earn or receive an amount of income in each tax year before paying tax. This is called the personal allowance. If your income is below that in the tax year, you won't have to pay any tax (a tax year starts on 6 April in one year and finishes on 5 April in the next).
See www.hmrc.gov.uk/students for more information.