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A Level results - can you afford the future?

A Level results day can be an emotional day, marking the end of school and the beginning of forging your own path in life. In amongst all the excitement, you should also think about the practical and financial side of your day – whatever your results are.

We asked Charlotte Burns, editor of Student Money Saver, which specialises in student deals and money tips, for her advice for students getting their results today.  

It’s decision time…

No matter what happens in regards to your grades, you have some major financial and life decisions you’re going to need to make. Making the right decisions now can save you a lot of trouble (and money) in the future.

Here’s some help, whether you’ve got your place, or didn’t get the grades you needed.

You’ve got your place! Nice one

If your results match up to your university offer - YES! It’s nearly time to plan which bars you’re going to tonight - you’re off to uni! But you can’t relax quite yet, there are a few things to do.

As soon as you have you AS12 letter (which is an official confirmation letter sent from UCAS), you need to sort out your student bank account. The worst thing you can do is blindly pick the bank you already have (or maybe what your parents have). You’ll find banks will throw in freebies to sweeten the deal - but don’t base your decision purely on that, or you’ll find yourself going over your overdraft (and experiencing the big fees and interest rates) in no time.

The wise thing to do is to choose a bank with the biggest 0% interest overdraft. Some of them may also offer you a free four year 16-25 Railcard when you sign up, so you get the best of both worlds.

If you pick a bank account that doesn’t have a free railcard, you should definitely consider investing in one. It might feel bad forking out £30 for one, but if you spend £90 or more on train journeys in a year (which is a couple of journeys - think Easter and Christmas holidays), you’ll make your money back.

Depending on your circumstances, there are a variety of student grants and bursaries you can apply for. The good thing about these is, unlike loans, a lot of them you don’t need to pay back. You have maintenance grants, special support grants, travel grants, disabled Students’ Allowances, NHS bursary, grant and funding teaching grants and Access to Learning Funds.

You’ve also got bursaries, scholarships and awards - these are handed out by universities and educational trusts. See the government advice on student finance, to see what kind of loans and grants there are out there.

 

You didn’t get the grades you needed

It’s ok… it’s not the end of the world.

If you go through clearing, or end up attending your insurance university - you need to consider rent costs. If you’re not in your first choice, the odds are you aren’t going to get a place in university halls. This doesn’t mean you have to live in a house alone and make no friends, but it does mean private student halls are generally quite a bit more expensive - and you’re not going to have a lot of choice as it’s pretty late in the day.

Before deciding if you’re going to take a place at a different university, price the private halls first, and take a look at the total cost of the contract as you’ll most likely be charged for more than 40 weeks (usually 45-52).

If you decide to take a year off and try again, it is the perfect time to earn some money so that you have a bit extra to play with when you do attend university. Gap years are not just for the rich, you can make real cash while getting work and life experience - all things that will look good on your CV.

Did you get your A Level results today? What is your next step?

 

This guest post is from Student Money Saver and doesn’t necessarily reflect the views of the Money Advice Service. You can find out more about Student Money Saver and what they do on their website.

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  • Trainee / 13 September 2015

    Every one needs Money Advice, it is essential to all who communicate their needs on their action plan.

  • Apprentice / 13 August 2015

    How is this relevant to most 18 year olds who will never go to university? You ought to make this clear in any communication instead of assuming one life path for young people