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Going to university - a checklist for students and their parents
Published 12 September 2016 by Linzi Nuttall
University term is nearly here, and with thousands of new students moving away it's time to get all of the essentials.
There was a record number of UK university places offered to students this year – so it's bound to be a big day for you and your family if your teen is starting soon. Although you don't have too long left to prepare for their big move away.
To make this hectic time a touch easier, we have complied a list of priorities to ensure the process goes smoothly, and you have all the essentials in order.
Students will need equipment to work on, keep in touch (FaceTime, Skype etc.), and send emails. Tablets are increasingly popular, as they are powerful, versatile and very light to carry. They can be a cheaper alternative to personal laptops or computers – you can even get budget laptops for under £250.
Universities also have the most up to date computers that students can use. But when deadlines loom, they become very busy and it’s often more practical to work from home. Disabled students or those with long-term illness, mental health conditions or specific learning difficulty should also apply for DSA (Disabled Students’ Allowances), to help with learning aids and equipment.
Get gadget and contents insurance
Be sure to get all their gadgets and contents insured – something you can now do with thinkmoney. You’ll have peace of mind if anything does get lost, stolen or accidentally damaged that they won’t be without any equipment or necessities. Check your own building and contents cover to see if it also covers your teen’s possessions when they are away at uni.
Your child will need a bank account, if they don’t already have one. There are many to choose from with various introductory offers and rewards, so shop around.
The key thing is for them to find the best-guaranteed 0% overdraft. Even then, they’ll likely need some financial assistance. So consider setting up a standing order to transfer a regular amount to help them through each month. You can do this from any high street bank account. Or perhaps you should keep this payment separate in an alternative bank account, enabling you to see what you’ve spent from a computer or mobile device.
If they’re planning to watch TV on their laptops or tablets, or if they have a TV, it’s important they also buy a TV licence. From September they will need this to watch BBC iPlayer on any electronic device. Check with the accommodation they’re staying in to see what’s included, or buy one online and split payments monthly.
Students are exempt from council tax and their university will provide them with a certificate as proof to pass onto their council.
Even with part-time work, students need to be extra savvy with their cash. They should take advantage of all discounts available to them including Apple, Topman/Topshop, and Amazon. They should also sign up to sites such as UNiDAYS, which have offers on fashion, food, gym memberships and more.
An annual Railcard at £30 will save them 30% on all rail travel, a National Express card costs £10 a year (plus £2 p&p) and will save 1/3 on all travel and 10% to travel events and festivals. The NUS Extra card also gives a third of National Express as well as many other discounts.
Stock up on essentials
When they move they’re still likely to need new bedding, crockery, a food shop and all the essentials. Poundland have great offers on kitchen and bathroom cleaning products, and you could take them to budget supermarkets like Aldi and Lidl to stock up their fridge.
You could even set up an online grocery account and surprise them with a delivery every so often, and earn loyalty points for yourself. Wilko and Primark are great for duvets, bedding and bath towels, also try Home Sense for pots and pans at a fraction of the original cost. Wilko even has a special students section.