Student finance: in real life

In this instalment of our Student finance: in real life series we speak to Lizzie, who graduated from The University of Manchester in 2017 with a BSc in Psychology. Lizzie found applying for student finance “really confusing” but it “didn’t cause her as much stress as she thought it would” during her student days. She’s now a Trainee Clinical Psychologist for the NHS and says uni was definitely a good investment for lots of reasons…

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

I felt generally quite naive about money – all I really knew was £10 was good pay for an hour at my weekend job, and £5 was not. Student finance was very confusing for me, and applying for it would have been a right nightmare without my sister’s help. I was aware that I wouldn’t have to pay anything upfront though, and only pay it back in bits. That was reassuring.

Has your opinion on student finance changed since then?

It has a bit – it feels all a bit less safe since the terms and conditions slightly changed. But to be honest, I don’t know the details of that. I guess the one thing I’d say is that it didn’t cause me as much stress at uni as I thought it would.

Now you’re a graduate, I wondered how student debt feels for you? Is it a burden, or do you not really notice it?

My interest has piled on and my debt is pretty big, but it doesn’t really bother me. I decided not to think or worry about it. I pay off a small amount each month with my payslip, but I don’t even know exactly how much that is. It’s small and it doesn’t affect my life. It doesn’t feel like being in real debt, and it doesn’t stress me out.

Do you think university was a good investment?

Yes. I remember not being sure before I went (quite soon after the fees went up to £9,000), but it turned out to be a good investment for me. I think it does for a lot of people, for both the academic stuff and the non-academic stuff. It opened up so many opportunities, brought me to a subject and eventual career path I love, and gave me loads and loads of great experiences. It was definitely worth it.