Student finance: in real life

We asked former MAP student turned MAP intern Asha about her experiences with student finance while she studied, and how she feels about the cost of university now she’s graduated.

How did you feel about money, specifically student finance, before you got to university?

I wasn’t sure if I would be able to afford to go to university at all at first. Seeing such large numbers like £9,250 can feel really intimidating and I was worried I would become a burden on my parents.

Has your opinion on student finance changed since then?

Definitely. Once I understood that there were repayment plans and I wouldn’t need to pay any fees upfront, it made it easier to consider going to university. I decided to stay at home so I felt less worried about living costs and was eligible for the MAP scholarship and Manchester Bursary, all of which significantly reduced any financial worries. I was able to buy course materials, learn to drive, and enjoy meals out with friends. Having the support made my university experience more fulfilling and rewarding.

Now you’re a graduate (and an intern in the wonderful MAP team!) I wondered how student debt feels for you? Is it a burden, or do you not really notice it?

You don’t really notice it much at all. You only start to repay your tuition fee loan once you are earning above £27,295. And even then, the amount is a small portion of your income and what you pay back is based on how much you earn. This is taken automatically via payroll once you are repaying so there is nothing you need to do.

Do you think university was a good investment?

Yes, 100%. Going to university is not just about the degree you get at the end of it. You really grow as a person too.

Becoming independent, meeting people from other parts of the country and making new friends from different walks of life, makes it such life changing experience. Plus you get to study a subject you are passionate about, gain lots of transferable skills and develop professional connections. Provided you have an idea of what path you would like to take, university could be a stepping stone to getting you there.