Applying to university is a lengthy process, and there’s a lot more to think about than just which course you want to study. You have to choose a university which suits you well, think about how you’ll manage your finances and most importantly, decide where you’ll be living. Most students immediately decide they’ll move away from home without giving it a second thought. However, there are lots of benefits, as well as some pitfalls, to living at home. You should try and consider what the best living situation would be for you before making any hasty decisions.
For more information about the advantages and disadvantages of living at home, how the application processes for UCAS and student finance change and whether you’ll really be saving any money by staying at home, keep reading.
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Should you live at home whilst studying at university?
One of the biggest decisions you’ll have to make whilst applying for university is where you want to live. Whilst lots of students opt for accommodation on or close to campus, living at home is also a valid option.
Whether you choose to live at home or not is entirely your decision. There are both positives and negatives to living at home, most of which are discussed later in the article. However, the best thing to do is follow your own instincts.
If your desperate to get away from your parents for a few years, on-campus accommodation would be best for you. However, if you prefer the sound of staying at home in the area you know, that’s equally as fine. It’s all about finding where you feel most comfortable.
What are the benefits of living at home whilst studying at university?
Staying at home whilst living at university has many benefits. Living at home gives you the advantage of already knowing where the best nights out are. This means you’ll never come home feeling like you overpaid to get into a club.
To add to this, if any of your university friends don’t know the area well, you’ll be the first person they choose to show them around the area.
Living at home also means that you can stay close-by your family and friends. Moving to a completely new city can sometimes be quite lonely for the first few weeks. By living at home, you can guarantee that your close personal relationships and support system will stay in-tact.
This often makes the process of finding new friends easier as well, as there is less pressure to force friendships straight away.
One of the greatest features of living at home is that you can still rely on your parents for certain home comforts. A home-cooked meal every night is a definite bonus as compared to some of your friends who may be living in halls with four other people who don’t know how to use an oven.
You’ll probably find that chores such as cleaning and laundry are also shared equally between everyone in the family.
It may not seem like much, but a great part of living at home is that you can have pets! A challenge that can sometimes be more difficult than people realise is leaving your pets for a whole year.
There are very strict rules against animals in all university halls and most student houses, so make the most of keeping your pets close by. For more about the benefits, check out this guide by Birmingham City University.
Is living at home whilst studying at university cheaper?
The biggest deciding factor for most students is how much cheaper living at home is. With the rising cost of living, there are many ways to save whilst living at home. You can read this article about why university is so expensive for more information about the rising cost of living.
Depending on what your parents or guardians choose, there may be no rent to factor in and no electricity, gas and water bills. You may also manage to avoid paying food shopping bills.
However, some students living at home choose to contribute towards their parents’ weekly shop as a gesture of their appreciation.
What are the drawbacks of living at home whilst studying at university?
One of the main reasons students choose not to live at home is that they want some freedom. With your parents around all the time, it can sometimes be difficult to go on nights out.
If they’re particularly strict, you might find they won’t let you go out too late. This could lead to you being left out whilst your friends who live away from home are going out.
Students who live at home can also find themselves falling behind a bit when it comes to being independent. When you aren’t forced to learn how to cook, clean and complete other daily chores, there’s no driving motive for you to do so.
Lots of parents get their children to complete these tasks whilst living at home to make sure they learn how to. However, if you’re parents are particularly lenient, you may end up not knowing how to do these things when you first live alone.
If your chosen university is particularly far from where you live, you may find yourself spending a lot of time commuting. This will this limit the amount of time you have for your studies and other activities outside classes.
However, it will also end up costing you more, whichever mode of transport you choose. The train requires tickets and cars need fuel.
If you choose to drive into the town or city where your university is located, this could also limit the amount you can drink. You’ll need to either catch a lift home or stay over with someone else if you plan on drinking heavily. With access to a car, you might also become the designated driver for all your friends.
For more about the drawbacks, check out this article by Top Universities.
How is the UCAS application different for university students living at home?
The application process for UCAS is exactly the same whether you choose to live at home or not. This article from UCAS describes how to apply from start to finish.
One of the only times you may have to mention that you plan on living at home is in the personal details section. Although UCAS does not run student finance, they like to have an idea of how you plan to fund your studies. This is a good time to mention that you might get a smaller maintenance loan than other students because you’re living at home.
Other than that, you’ll still have to complete every other step of the applications process in the same way as a student living in halls. You’ll need to provide your predicted grades and choose which course you plan on applying for and write a personal statement.
Can you get a student loan if you live at home?
Student loans come in two forms: tuition loans and maintenance loans. Both of these are available for students who are living at home. All students, regardless of where they live during their studies, can apply for loans through student finance.
Student Finance UK is a branch of the government offering loans to all students who need some extra money towards their university fees. You can read this page on the UCAS website for more information about student finance and links to the application pages.
The tuition loan you receive will be the same as all other students, regardless of their living situation. If you are completing your first undergraduate degree this amount should be the full £9250 per year. This covers the total cost of university tuition. You can read more about the cost of university in this article.
However, in order to receive this money, you have to apply to student finance. You are allowed to start applying from around the time you start applying to your courses.
Usually, applications open from around March in the academic year before your year of entry. Click here to read more about when applications open.
The deadline for student finance applications falls 9 months after the start date of your course. Generally, this is around the back end of May.
However, it’s strongly advised that you complete your finance applications before your course begins. If you don’t, you might end up needing to use your own money to fund the first term of your course.
This article goes into further detail about the student finance deadline.
Can you get a maintenance loan if you live at home?
Anyone who is about to take their first undergraduate degree full-time is eligible to receive a maintenance loan.
However, if you live at home, that loan may be lower in value than what you would receive should you be renting accommodation.
University accommodation is expensive, which is why students who do not live at home receive a higher maintenance loan. You can read more about why accommodation is so expensive in this article.
However, living at home still has its costs. Maintenance loans aren’t just for your living expenses. Some people use them to help pay for travel costs, food shops, textbooks and nights out.
You can choose to spend your maintenance loans in whichever way you like. Because you’re living at home, the amount you’ll receive will be about half of what someone living in university halls will get.
However, maintenance loans are also based on household income. To calculate the amount you’re eligible for, use this student finance calculator on the government website.
Whether you’re living at home or not, maintenance loans will not provide enough money to get you through the entire year. Your parents might offer to put some money towards your living expenses. Although if you’re living at home rent-free this is unlikely.
However, you will probably also need to get a part-time job and learn to manage your money well. Calculating a budget for each week or month is a good idea. You should try and save as much money as possible.
For example, as a student, you’ll have access to student discounts in certain shops and restaurants. For more tips on money saving as a student, click here.
How many students live at home whilst studying at university?
According to a survey completed by FE news which can be found in this article, almost 37% of students live at home whilst completing their university studies. This number has massively increased over the past few years. In the 1990s, a mere 8% of students would stay at home during their university years.
Some of this percentage is made up by mature students who have their own homes. It is fairly uncommon for a mature student to live in university accommodation whilst studying. The only exception is if they do not live close to their chosen university.
However, most of the students included in this 37% are fresh out of school and starting their first degree. There are several reasons which have contributed to this factor, all of which are discussed in the pros and cons sections of this article.