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Guest blogger Megan Duckworth talks about student finance and the non-repayable BU Maintenance Bursary.

The freedom and amazing new life experiences in which university gives you can be so exciting and enjoyable, however there are also some daunting factors which come with this new level of independence, including money.

I joined Bournemouth University to study BA (Hons) Events Management when I was 18, two years ago. Before I started university, I lived at home with my Mum, so I had never experienced living on my own and therefore had no idea how much it would cost to live away from home. I was aware of Student Finance and learnt during the process of applying for the student loan that I was able to borrow money for my tuition fees as well as a maintenance loan, which would cover my living costs, such as rent and food. Coming from a low income family, I qualified for a high maintenance loan which meant I would be able to afford my rent and food happily, however I soon realised, when working out my monthly budgets, that there wasn’t a lot of money left over for luxuries, such as nights out. I thought the only other option available for me would be to work long hours at a part-time job. This wasn’t a major issue for me but I knew it may be a struggle having to juggle a lot of university work, social life and work, however, I had accepted that this was normal and there would be no help from other sources for money. I was wrong. During the weeks leading up to me starting at BU I received an email explaining to me that I was eligible for a BU Maintenance Bursary of £800 for the year, which I didn’t even have to apply for!

The Maintenance Bursary is for students who come from a low-income family and are worth up to £2,400. Each year (if you remain eligible) you can receive £800 to support you during your studies. The money is given to you on a pre-paid card and arrives within the first few weeks of your arrival at BU. This bursary is not like the student loan as this money is yours to keep, therefore you do not have to pay it back. For me, this bursary took a weight off my shoulders and straight away made me feel BU were there to support all their students no matter what, again just proving how great this university is!

 

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