Planning your finances for your placement year
If you are going on placement, there is information here about planning your finances including loans, other funding support, paying taxes and other tips.
Going on placement
During your undergraduate studies you may be required to undertake a work or study placement. Lots of different factors could affect the amount of tuition fees you will be charged and, if eligible, the amount of student support you can receive. For example, the length of your placement, whether it is paid or unpaid and in the UK or overseas.
We have a factsheet with specific information depending on if your placement is a think or thin sandwich and in what academic year it is taking place.
Please remember that it is important you still register with us as a student for the academic year you are on placement. You should receive an email about this in September and information is on the registering with the University webpages.
Student loans and other statutory funding
You should complete the application for your maintenance loan/grant before you begin your placement. It's best to get your application in as soon as you can as they can take up to six weeks to be processed. The closing date is 1 June of same academic year you are applying for. The amount you will be eligible for depends on whether you are on a full year (thick) or part year (thin) sandwich placement. Have a look at our factsheets for more information.
Instalment dates are usually around October and January with the final one in either April or May. If your placement starts before the first instalment is paid you may be able to have it paid early, check if your Department has told Student Records the actual date the placement will be starting. Your Department or Placement Officer may also need to write a letter to Student Finance England or other awarding authority informing them of the start date of your placement.
If you have costs to pay before your placements starts (e.g. moving costs, rent etc), try and think of a contingency plan to help with this. For instance are you able to get some help from your family or increase your overdraft? If your placement is paid, your employer may be able to provide you with a salary advance. It's worth asking. If you do experience financial difficulties please contact Student Money Advice.
If your placement is paid it's up to you whether you take out all or some of your loan or not. It could be an insurance against future need.
Disabled Students Allowance (DSA) is not normally awarded during a full-year (thick) placement. If you normally receive DSA, check with Student Finance England or other awarding agency as you may be able to receive this if you are on a study placement.
If you normally receive the Bath Bursary you will still receive this only if you are doing an unpaid or study placement. If this is a thin sandwich placement then the bursary will be pro-rata’d across Years two and three. If your placement is unpaid you may also be eligible for the Placement Bursary.
If you receive a University Scholarship this is not normally paid while you are on placement, however this does depend on the terms and conditions of your particular scholarship. Check your scholarship award letter or any other correspondence you received when you were awarded your scholarship for more information.
It's also possible to apply for a grant towards the costs of a placement via the Alumni Fund.
Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences Placement Fund
If you are a Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences student going on an unpaid or low-paid placement in 2019/2020 you can apply to the Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences Placement Fund for grants of £500 or £1,000.
If you are on a paid placement you will have to pay Income Tax and National Insurance on earnings that are over your personal allowance. This includes international students. Tax years are from April to April so your placement may cross two of them. Make sure you keep all pay-related documents safe as you cannot normally get copies and may need them if you want to claim any tax back after your placement. You can get forms and information about getting a tax refund from HMRC. If you are an international student you should do this before you leave the UK.
Going on placement abroad
If you are going on placement outside the UK there are other things to consider.
Make sure you can afford your preferred placement. Convert your budget into the country's currency.
Shop around for flights online. STA Travel have an agency at 3 Cheap Street in Bath and can give you some advice and a quote for your journey.
Make sure you have an up-to-date passport. If not, then find out now to get a new passport or replace an out-of-date one.
Remember you will need travel insurance. If you have any pre-existing medical conditions, you may need to pay a premium, so check. If you are a UK resident apply for your European Heath Insurance Card (EHIC). An EHIC will enable you to access state-provided healthcare in European Economic Area (EEA) countries at a reduced cost, or sometimes for free. Applying for the card is free. Please note this is not a replacement for travel insurance, you will still need this. If you are not a UK national, there may be some restrictions in place in relation to countries in which you can receive treatment, so please check your country’s own agreements with other countries before travelling.
If you have children and are intending to take them with you, remember students attending an overseas institution as part of their course will not generally be eligible for a Childcare Grant to cover childcare costs abroad, unless the overseas childcare providers are one of those approved under the Ministry of Defence accreditation scheme. Contact Student Finance England or other awarding agency for more information.
Department of Education Guidance on EU Exit
The government has issued guidance regarding student finance arrangements for students doing a part of their course in the EU including information about Erasmus+.
Other useful tips
- do some research – ask about the cost of living from a student who was on placement at the same place last year
- work out a realistic budget. Your budget will depend on what you want to experience whilst on placement
- try to save money for your final year if you can
- you should still be regarded as a full-time student for Council Tax purposes. This means that you should be exempt from Council Tax.
- check that you are appropriately insured. Premiums vary according to the area you live in, so talk to your insurance provider.
- to work in the UK you must have a National Insurance number. If you do not have one, you should contact the National Insurance number application line
In an emergency, your parent/sponsor/UK contact can arrange for cash to be made available to you anywhere in the world via a Money Transfer Service through organisations such as the Post Office or Western Union. There are many available.
If you are hit by an unexpected financial crisis whilst you’re on your placement, contact us. Students are eligible to apply for help from the University of Bath Hardship Fund. Certain criteria apply.