Is it Wise to Work through University to Reduce Loan Costs?

These days most students in England and Wales have to pay for their university courses as well as their living expenses at this time. Although there are loans available to pay for this, many of them are not enough to cover all of the costs. The loans are means tested, so those students will well off parents will not get so much money and if rent is expensive there may not be enough left to pay for other costs on top. Many school leavers have no idea how much it costs to live and so they may find that they overspend and need to borrow the maximum that they can or need extra money as well.

One possible solution to covering the costs of being a student is to get a part-time job. How many hours you can work will depend on how much work you have to do for your course. Some are full-time and so you would only be free at weekends and you may need to be doing extra reading or writing essays at this time as well as possibly revising for exams. However, some courses have very little contact with students, with just a few hours a day being taken up with lectures and seminars and the rest of the time free. This can leave a lot of time for working, although as timetables tend to change every six months or every year, the working hours would need to be flexible.

Getting a job obviously has a number of advantages. It can help to prepare you for work, give you work experience which could help you secure a full-time job when needed and it gives you an income. The income could be used to release the burden of the student loan or to pay for additional items that the loan does not cover. Many students enjoy working as it gives them a break from study and allows them to socialise with different people. However, there are disadvantages as well. |Working takes up time, when they may otherwise have been studying, socialising or relaxing. These things are very much part of student life and they may feel deprived or stressed if there is not time to fit in everything. Also if the job is stressful or difficult then it could cause stress on top of any stress related to university.

It can very much be a personal decision, It can not only depend on the difficulty level of the course and the number of hours that it takes up in a day. It can also depend on the job itself and how stressful it might be. If the work is done to reduce the amount of borrowing, then this may be unwise anyway. This is because the loan may not need to be paid back. It all depends on how much pay the graduate gets and whether that passes the threshold required to make repayments as this is means tested. The loan is written off after thirty years and so the full amount may not be paid back anyway. This could mean that they will regret not borrowing the maximum and working to make up the difference as they could have borrowed that money and never had to pay it or the interest accrued on it back. This will of course depend on the type of job they manage to secure, but as currently around 70% of students never repay their loan in full, the odds would be in their favour.

So working has advantages and disadvantages but there is not normally any need to do it in order to reduce loan borrowing. It is also a risky decision as there is not a guarantee that there will be work available and that the job will last through the full term of the course. Money worries can be a big part of being a student and this stress combined with the stress of working and studying could take its toll. It is worth being really sure that that you will be able to manage studying and working before deciding on whether to take a job. Making the decision not to borrow before starting a course can make for a very stressful time, especially if jobs are not available or are stressful.

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