Explore the grants and additional funding options available to you as a blind and partially sighted student and how they can help to support you in your studies.Find out more about 'Additional Funding Options for Your Studies'
Money Worries at University
Worrying about money is a common experience for students and is a topic some can find hard to talk about. Starting university might be the first time you have managed your money independently. Learning this life skill can feel daunting at first and be a source of stress for many students.
Research conducted by Nationwide in 2021 found that six in ten students felt like money worries affected their mental health. If you find yourself becoming worried about money, whether it’s about student finance, benefits or something else, it is important to address the root cause of the problem and not be afraid to ask for help.
Money-related worries can particularly affect blind and partially sighted students. You may have the added pressures of navigating the benefits system whilst studying or perhaps you find it harder to access part-time work to help finance living costs. You might also have difficulties accessing banking apps and bank branches when you need them. These factors make it even more important to plan ahead where you can before you start university.
Difficulties relating to money can cause potentially serious feelings of anxiety or hopelessness for students, but there is always help out there. Whether you’d like some simple budgeting advice or if you’re experiencing a more serious problem, such as struggling with debt, getting support to help you feel in control of your finances will have a positive effect on your mental health and wellbeing, as well as increasing your independence.
Support from your university
Each university will offer slightly different support when it comes to money issues. Have a look at your university’s website to find out more about what they offer and how to access the help you need. The disability advice team should also be able to signpost you to the right help. Here are some examples of what your university may offer:
- Hardship funds – these are pots of money students in significant financial difficulties can apply to receive from their university. Normally hardship funds offer short term help for essential costs and are non-repayable.
- Fees and finance advice – all universities have a finance team who can usually offer you advice regarding how to pay your fees and can sometimes offer payment plans if you are funding your own studies and need this option.
- Access to budgeting apps – many universities offer students free access to apps that can help you with managing your money and planning for your financial future. Universities may also offer money management courses for students.
- Support from the Students Union – most Students Unions employ advisors who can help if you are concerned about financial issues during your studies. They can also help make sure you know about the student discounts you are entitled to which can help ease financial pressures.
Support from charities and organisations
The Student Support Service
Our Student Support Service has created a range of useful resources about student finance to help blind and partially sighted students get finance-ready for university. The guide includes advice on funding your studies, budgeting tips, bank accounts and banking accessibility. We also have our additional funding options guide, which covers further sources of funding and support.
We also have our Student Support Community on Facebook, a safe space where you can connect with other blind or partially sighted students in a positive and supportive environment. Join the group here!
The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) offers free specialist advice and support about money, benefits, and finances. These services include benefits calculators, support with applying for benefits and information about accessible banking, finance and grants. RNIB also offer live telephone courses about money management specifically for blind and partially sighted people. Find out more about money, benefits and finance support offered by RNIB.
The mental health charity Mind has a range of resources on their website about managing money and mental health. Check out their guide containing practical advice and tips on maintaining a positive relationship with your finances.
Save the Student
Save the Student is a comprehensive website that focuses on all things money-related for students. The website offers a large range of resources about earning, spending and saving money as a student.
I’m currently experiencing a mental health crisis. What should I do?
If your life may be at risk or you do not think you can keep yourself or someone else safe from harm, call 999. A mental health emergency should be taken as seriously as a physical one. You will not be wasting anyone’s time.
If you think you need urgent mental health support or advice, please contact your local NHS urgent mental health helpline. You can find your local service via the following link:
Similar services are also available in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, you can find out about support in your area by calling 111.
If you would like to talk to someone at any time of day or night about anything you are struggling with, you can call the Samaritans listening service on 116123.
If you or a young person you know are not coping with life, you can call Papyrus’ HOPELINK phoneline for suicide prevention advice on 0800 068 4141, between 9am and 12pm, or text 07860 039 9637.
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Need advice on how to manage your finances at university? We have teamed up with MyBnk to produce this useful guide to help you every step along the way.Find out more about 'Getting Finance Ready for University'