The global cost of living rises mean this is a very challenging financial time for some students
Current and planned energy and cost of living price increases are and will continue to impact the quality of life for students – we want to do as much as we can to ensure you are informed and supported on this issue.
It is expected that there will be additional rises in energy bills across households in the UK. Bills could increase by 50% or more in a very short space of time. For students, this could mean larger than expected bills for private tenancy contracts that you might struggle to pay for. Due to the wider impact across society, you could also see your family and friends struggle with higher bills.
The actual impact will depend on your individual circumstances. It’s important to educate yourself on these cost of living changes and to prepare yourself to minimise the impact of your living standards and quality of life.
Read on for more advice…
What are the Increases?
The increase is driven by a record rise in global gas prices over the last 6 months, with wholesale prices quadrupling in the last year.
The energy price cap is due to be introduced from 1st April 2022.
The price cap is updated twice a year and tracks wholesale energy and other costs.
The cap prevents energy companies from making excessive profits and ensuring customers pay no more than a fair price for their energy. The price cap allows energy companies to pass on all reasonable costs to customers, including increases in the cost of buying gas.
The energy price cap explained, and how to check how it will affect you: https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/check-if-energy-price-cap-affects-you
What is the Government doing to support students?
In Parliament this week, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a three-pronged approach to helping those faced with soaring bills. This includes an Energy Bills Rebate which will provide upfront discount on bills worth £200 – energy suppliers will apply the discount to domestic electricity customers from October, with the Government meeting the costs.
The government also provide additional financial support for students on a low income, those with children or dependent adults, disabled students, those studying specific subjects and students studying abroad. Check on the student finance calculator to see what extra help you might be able to get.
Student Space advice on accessing additional funding: https://studentspace.org.uk/wellbeing/how-to-find-extra-funding-at-university
Support for UoR students
If you find yourself getting behind with your essential living costs such as your rent or bills, it’s important to reach out for some support. There are specialist organisations available to help you. The following services are free of charge and confidential. Debt advisors will never judge you or make you feel bad about your situation and they’re always happy to talk to you, however big or small the issue might be.
IMPORTANT – Immediate help – If you are worried or struggling to pay your energy bills, contact your landlord or energy supplier immediately.
You may be eligible for a payment plan or extra help through grants and services.
Additional help with bills:
- Help with high energy bills: https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/information-consumers/energy-advice-households/getting-help-if-you-cant-afford-your-energy-bills
- Ofgem switching energy supplier guide: https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/information-consumers/energy-advice-households/switching-energy-tariff-or-supplier
- Citizens advice bureau common energy tariffs explained: https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/energy/energy-supply/get-a-better-energy-deal/choosing-energy-tariff/
Student Financial Support Team
We have team of money experts on hand to answer your queries and discuss your personal circumstance.
The team support on any financial questions you may have from the general cost of living to your tuition fees, maintenance loans along with Bursaries and Awards or advice on how we can support you if you are experiencing unexpected financial difficulties or just want to budget for a better quality of life. Find out more about the service.
The team offer appointments on Monday, Wednesday and Friday between 9.30 – 12:00: Book an appointment.
You can also access free online support for managing your finances by using Blackbullion.
Additional Support on campus, online and in the local area
RUSU Advice Service – provide support to students who need help with things like budgeting, money management, maximising income
The service is currently operating online appointments available here; www.rusu.co.uk/getadvice.
Online at Blackbullion
National Debt line
Confidential, free and independent debt advice via their telephone helpline. They can help you manage your debts in a way that is suitable for you, such as helping you work out a manageable re-payment plan, and helping you assess your priority and non-priority debts. Their helpline is free to call, and you can contact them on 0808 808 4000. They are open Monday to Friday, 9am-8pm, and Saturday 9:30am-1pm.
They also have an online web chat facility: Contact us | National Debtline | National Debtline
Citizens Advice Bureau
Free, confidential and independent debt advice.
Debt helpline: 0800 240 4420, Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm
Webchat: Money and Debt Chat Service Chat is usually available 8am to 7pm, Monday to Friday
CAB also welcome Reading students to their office in town: https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/about-us/contact-us/contact-us/search-for-your-local-citizens-advice/local-citizens-advice-details/?serialnumber=101009
CAB – specific ways to save money on your gas and electricity
What is your story?
Look out for more specific money advice, funding, and tips on living affordably over the coming weeks on our UoR Student Life channels.
How are the price increases already affecting you and your household?
We are also keen to hear from students on your current situation, how the price hikes have affected you, what you plan to do to support yourself during summer and any money saving tips and advice you have to share with others.