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Final year students

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Minding your money doesn't end once you're no longer a student.  There are plenty of things to consider as a final year student and beyond.


Repaying your student loan

Once you graduate, the Student Loans Company (SLC) will expect you to start repaying your loans from the April after you completed your course. 

If you’re earning less than the set income threshold before any deductions (tax or national insurance contributions), you’ll not be liable to repay anything.

You can view up-to-date details on income thresholds and repayments via the SLC's loan repayment information. If you’re earning more than the set threshold, repayments will be collected directly from your wages by HM Revenue and Customs before you receive them. Repayments are currently 9% of what you earn over the income threshold.

If you go overseas for more than 3 months, you'll be subject to repayment threshold for the country to which you've moved. The thresholds are based around the cost of living and you can view them on the Student Loan Repayment website.

Council Tax

Whilst you’ve been a student, your household may have been exempt from paying Council Tax or paid a reduced amount. Your Council Tax exemption ends on the last day of the last term of study. You should notify your local authority immediately and an amended bill will be issued.

If you're coming back to do a Masters in September, you'll not be a full time student over the summer and will be liable for Council Tax for the period between graduation and re-enrolment 

Consider switching to a graduate bank account

Any overdraft on your student account may stop being interest free shortly after you finish your course. Check with your bank when this will happen. 

Some banks offer graduate bank accounts which have an interest-free overdraft for up to three years, so you may wish to consider switching your bank account in order to save money in interest whilst you’re paying off your overdraft.

Consider the following when looking for the right graduate account for you:

  • Don’t be loyal to your current bank – shop around!
  • Go for the longest 0% interest overdraft that you can find.
  • Check the freebies and deals offered by different banks.
  • Check your credit rating before you apply for a graduate account.
  • Budget to clear off your overdraft (if you have one) as soon as possible.

Check if you’re owed a refund on overpaid tax

If you’ve worked part-time during your studies, you may have paid too much tax. This can happen if you work for two employers at the same time, if you don’t provide your National Insurance number or a P45 when you start work, or if your employer has put you on an emergency tax code.

If you’ve earned less than the current year tax allowance, you may be entitled to a refund. You can also apply for a tax refund for previous years. To apply, you’ll need to request a refund in writing, enclosing P45s or wage slips, to the appropriate tax office.

You can view information on tax thresholds and claiming a refund of overpaid tax on the website.

Maintain good money habits

The transition from university to the world of work can be daunting so it’s a good idea to get into good money habits:

  • Set money aside to reach savings goals, such as a new car, holiday or a house
  • Stay on top of daily spending habits, such as buying coffee and takeaways to realise your financial goals sooner. Using a banking app and having spend-free days are just a couple of ways to do this.
  • Start a pension scheme as soon as possible as this can make a big difference to the amount of money you have when you retire.

Prioritise credit card and loan debts

Allocate some of your income to start reducing high interest debts from student credit cards and bank loans. Make at least the minimum repayment and ensure you don’t miss any other instalments as this could hurt your credit rating and ability to borrow for a home or car, in the future.

Claiming benefits – UK and EU residents

The benefit system is complicated and the information below is just an overview. A new benefit called Universal Credit has been introduced to replace many of the existing welfare benefits. Where you live in the UK and your personal circumstances will determine whether you need to apply for Universal Credit or the pre-existing benefits. Further information on Universal Credit can be found on the website.

If you're not required to claim Universal Credit then you may be eligible for the pre-existing benefits:

The following websites give further information and advice on welfare benefits:

If you require more detailed advice on welfare benefits and what you might be entitled to please contact a Students' Union Adviser.

Where can I find out more?

There are some great free resources available online to boost your knowledge about managing money and dealing with student loan and credit card debt. See our top picks below: