For many students, uni will be the first time they will have budgeted and paid for bills. Start planning now to make sure they know what to do.

Student bills

  • Council tax – if everyone living in your child’s household is a full-time student, they won’t have to pay council tax. If someone in their household isn’t a full-time student, they’ll get a council tax bill, but will qualify for a discount.
  • Utility bills – if your child is moving into private accommodation, utility bills may not be included, so make sure they’re aware of gas, electricity, and water bills.
  • Internet – probably a priority for your child! Many universities offer a free wireless connection in halls, so make sure they ask if this is included.
  • TV licence – students need a TV licence if they watch or record television programmes as they’re being shown on TV, on any device. They don’t need one to use a streaming service, such as Amazon Prime or Netflix, but a subscription may be required.
  • Insurance – check the small print of your home contents insurance, which may already cover your child’s belongings when away from home, or see if this could be added on to your existing policy. If not, it may be worth getting them a separate policy.

Budgets and bank accounts

By now, you and your child should have a good idea of their budget per term. Give them some tips for cutting their living costs, and the tools to stay within their budget – a simple weekly expenditure spreadsheet could work wonders here!

Opening a student bank account before they head off is also a good idea, so they can take their time over comparing what’s on offer. UCAS will send your child a status code in their newsletters, which can be used as proof of their status as a future student, to make the process of opening a student account quick and easy.

Banks are keen to entice students with freebies, but do look beyond student railcard or voucher incentives. It’s often features such as the level of interest-free overdraft that may prove more essential. When you’re comparing 0% overdraft facilities on offer, check whether the headline amount is guaranteed, or just ‘up to’, and if there are any other restrictions.

Encourage your child to see an overdraft as a helpful buffer rather than extra cash, and to always stick within their authorised limit to avoid hefty charges. Likewise, warn them of the pitfalls of high interest sources of credit, such as payday loans and credit cards.

Support with the cost of living

Whether your child is interested in a traditional degree or becoming an apprentice, we have tips, tools, and resources from trusted sources to support you and your child on their journey to higher education.

Cost of living support