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Cost of living advice and support for students

How to take charge of your spending as a student at Bath, and where to find support if you need it.

Coins representing the cost of living
Help and advice on how to make the most of your budget.

With increases in prices putting pressure on the cost of living, knowing what support is available and where to get value for money is more important than ever.

In this update, we’ll explore ways you can save money while you're studying at Bath, make your budget go further and receive help and advice this academic year.

Comprehensive advice is available from our Student Money Advice service, and you may also find our guide on Considering the cost of studying at University and our tips on Managing Your Money helpful. Blackbullion is an easy-to-use, award-winning online learning platform to help you take control of your finances and make better financial decisions.

If budgeting is affecting your mental health, you can also get support from our Student Support Wellbeing Service and other mental health services.

If you're a member of staff, you can read the University's advice on managing the rising cost of living.

Hardship Fund and financial advice

If you are struggling with money, please don’t hesitate to reach out as support is available. We are here to help.

Our Student Money Advice service can offer free, confidential help via appointments or drop-in sessions with an adviser.

If you are in financial difficulty, you may be eligible to apply for a non-repayable grant from the University of Bath Hardship Fund.

If you have a short-term cash flow problem, you may also be able to receive an interest-free, repayable loan.

The SU also has a confidential, independent Advice Service for students.

If you find it easier to budget using cash each week, you can pay with cash at the till in the Fresh shop. You can also load an amount of cash onto your Library card at the Fresh till, to spend at the other outlets around campus and avoid going over your budget.

Food

We have a variety of catering outlets and shops on campus with reasonably priced, healthy options. Microwaves are available to heat up your food from home at Claverton Rooms, in The SU building and the Virgil Building in town.

For the 2022/23 academic year, we are also ensuring that our outlets offer a hot meal for £1.50. These will be vegetarian and may include options such as pasta and pesto or chilli noodles.

Students also can get a range of discounts, including 10% off in the Fresh shop on campus with a Totum card. Our Fresh shop also has price locks on 175 essential products, as well as price matches with the Aldi supermarket on more than 60 others.

As part of our plans to tackle food waste, we’ve also signed up to ‘Too Good to Go’. Download the app so you can reserve a discounted bag of food, which may otherwise go to waste. The bags could contain items including fresh fruit and veg, chilled prepared foods, meats, cheese, sandwiches, confectionary, biscuits and snacks. Once you’ve reserved a bag, you then collect it towards the end of the day from The Market shop on campus.

Outside the Fresh shop on the Claverton Down campus, and at the Virgil Building in the city centre, we have set up Community Fridges where you can take or donate any unwanted in-date food to share with other students and staff, and avoid food waste.

You can also use the Olio food-sharing app which enables you to reduce food waste and save money; if you have spare food you can list it for others to collect, or pick up items from your neighbours to build food-sharing communities.

There are also useful sources of advice available online. Both Savethestudent and Moneysavingexpert have advice on how to save money on your food shop with the British Dietetic Association providing 20 tips to eat well for less. The free app from NOSH Books gives affordable, easy menu ideas and easy to follow shopping lists.

Laundry

We are taking steps to help with other basic requirements, like washing clothes and bed linen.

We have launderettes on campus and in the city, which you pay for via a laundry card that is included in the welcome pack for students living in University-managed accommodation. For 2022/23, we will be pre-loading £28 of free credit onto these cards to reduce the costs of doing your laundry this year.

Utility bills

There are several steps you can take to spend less money on utility bills.

If you are living in private accommodation, make sure you know how you will receive the Government £400 energy bills discount available to help households this winter.

You can also use the showers available to students on the Claverton Down campus and in the Virgil Building in the city centre, to avoid using hot water at home. If you have a Student Sports Pass you can also access the showers in the STV.

The Energy Saving Trust and Students Organising for Sustainability have tips on how to use less gas and electricity, where small changes may be able to save you a lot of money.

The British Gas Energy Trust is an independent charitable trust set up to help support people with their energy bills no matter which energy company you are with.

Ofwat provide suggestions as to the many ways you can save water around your home.

If you are living in University-managed accommodation your utility bills (water, heating and lighting) are included in the cost. Please continue to reduce the amount of energy and water you use wherever possible, to reduce your carbon footprint and demand on natural resources.

Warm places to study

There are plenty of places to study in the warm this winter, both on campus and in the Virgil Building and Dartmouth Avenue in town.

You can also use any of the study spaces to charge electrical items such as your phone and laptop, to save on energy bills at home.

Accommodation

We have a range of University-managed accommodation to suit different budgets. We have also more than tripled the amount available in bursaries to support students in our accommodation in the current academic year, compared with 2021/22.

The Student Living Team also provides advice on finding private accommodation, including a free contract-reading service.

Travel

Public transport is a sustainable way to travel in Bath. As a student you can apply for a range of Student Bus Tickets depending on your travel needs. If you live on campus, you may not need a Term or Semester ticket.

If you are travelling by train then you can apply for a Student Railcard for 1/3 off rail fares throughout Great Britain. For coach travel, the National Express student discount gives 15% off fares.

We also support active travel and there are a number of walking and cycling routes up to the campus, where we have secure bike storage and showers.

Laptops and books for your studies

The University has a supply of laptops available for short-term loan, and we can also help with purchasing reasonably-priced laptops. There are also computers for free use in our Library, in the Virgil building and elsewhere on campus.

Before buying any textbooks for your course, check the catalogue from our Library that you can borrow at no cost.

Work opportunities

We understand that some students will get a part-time job while studying. The University of Bath, which is a Living Wage employer, often has part-time vacancies available and the Students’ Union (The SU) advertises local vacancies.

Please consider the balance between your studies and work commitments. If you are struggling financially, please seek financial advice, and check to see if you could be eligible for a scholarship, bursary or hardship grant. This blog from one of our Master’s students provides useful insight and advice on the benefits and challenges of part-time work.

If you are on a Student or Tier 4 visa, please be aware of the restrictions on the amount and type of work you can do, and seek advice from our Student Immigration Service through appointments or drop in sessions if you have questions.

Sports Pass

We know that lots of social and recreational activities cost money, so University of Bath students can access a Sports Pass for free. This allows access to a host of facilities at the University’s Sports Training Village including our Olympic Legacy Swimming Pool; tennis, squash and badminton courts; athletics track; astro pitches; and indoor sports hall. Other activities, like gym membership, do have a cost, but look out for student membership offers.

Health costs

You may be able to save money on prescriptions via the NHS Low Income Scheme or buying an NHS Prescription Prepayment Certificate.

We don’t want any of our students to worry about the cost of essential products such as tampons and sanitary towels. So we are working on a plan to provide free period products in designated areas, and this page will be updated with more information.

Borrow from the Bath Library of Things

There is a ‘Library of Things’ hosted by Share & Repair in the centre of Bath. Members can borrow items including tools, garden, baking and camping equipment and more. Find out further information on their website. You can also take broken items to a Repair Café where a repairer can check them and try to mend them.

Other useful sources of advice and support

Bath & North East Somerset Council also has a range of welfare support available to assist the local community with rising costs.

There are 50+ tips on how to stretch your student loan via Moneysavingexpert.