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3. Understanding your living costs at university or college

Information for students about what living cost funding is available (including student finance) for those living in Northern Ireland.

Living costs

Students studying at university or college can have different living costs depending on where and what they will be studying, their lifestyle and any financial commitments they might have.

Discover Uni offer guidance on other things to consider that may help cover some of your living costs, including tips on budgeting. Why not check out their budget calculators to find out what your living costs at university or college might add up to?

If you’re not sure about what additional costs may be involved as a result of your studies, you should ask your university or college for more information. Examples could include:

  • accommodation costs – such as rent
  • travel
  • course materials
  • food and drink
  • utilities – such as gas and electricity bills

Making up the difference

For some students even the maximum amount of Maintenance Loan may not be enough to cover all their living costs.

Students are expected to make up the difference between the Maintenance Loan amount available to them and their total living costs.

Financial support may be provided by the student’s parents or partner. But there are several other sources of funding available for students who don’t have access to household support, or for students who need more funding because even the maximum Maintenance Loan available isn’t enough. These could be:

  • part-time employment
  • savings
  • university bursaries and scholarships

You can find more information about some of the alternative sources of funding, and guidance on how to budget for university, at Discover Uni

You can also find more information about how we work out how much student finance you can get in the below guide:

Full-Time Higher Education Student Finance - Entitlement to Support and Payment Guide - 2024 to 2025 PDF (369.5KB)

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