New Financial Worry For Community College Transfer Students

by A Guest Author

A report from the Guardian this week has found that many university and community college transfer students find themselves even more out of pocket than expected as they begin their university careers. This is due to ‘hidden costs’, which students only discover once they have begun a course, and include fees for professional association, software, exams, CRB checks, college trips and printing costs.

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Of course, many students also find that the cost of technology and software products are a necessary evil once they embark on a course, especially those in creative studies such as photography, illustration and graphic design.

These costs, coupled with higher tuition fees are panicking students across the UK, as they wonder how on earth they are going to survive three years on a budget barely enough to feed a small bird.

The NUS has said that more clarity is needed and that universities have a duty to ensure that students know the financial implications fully before signing up for a degree.

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Shop around for deals

Cash-strapped students would be well placed to really shop around for course materials; student software licenses are cheaper than they are for home and business, but these can still be extortionate, especially Adobe products. It’s worth doing your research and shopping around for all course requirements and the best place to start can be at college.


  • Boards in and around the university – often students will advertise course materials such as books and software that they no longer need.
  • Student intranet – check the classified section and put an ad of your own up appealing for what you need.
  • Consider buying a laptop or other hardware from a specialist refurbishment company or a reputable seller on eBay and Amazon.
  • What’s on offer from the NUS and other student services.
  • That you’re not dyslexic, sounds silly maybe but if so you will qualify for extra help and in some cases a free laptop, scanner/printer and software.
  • Open source software options: open source software is often free or very cheap and rivals software from large companies. For example, Open Office is just as good as word for creating essays, has referencing tools and the option to save as a Word document, so you can still share with lecturers and other students.

Further cost-savings can also be made with a little research into other expenses such as broadband and telecoms. Many internet suppliers now provide short-term contracts which are designed for students in shared houses. These ensure that you won’t be saddled with a large bill when terminating the contract, as you won’t be tied to it for 12 months or more.

Similarly, PAYG is probably the better option for mobiles and smartphones as it’s easier to pay for these when needed, rather by being tied to a monthly contract.

The rising costs of learning are putting many prospective students off the idea of going on to higher education. However, although good budgeting won’t offset the cost of tuition fees, it will go some way to helping day-today living.

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