No excuse for new students faced with managing their money...

Student Finance Day 2012 saw websites and twitter feeds awash with top tips, handy tools and cautionary tales from students who had failed to manage their money in the past.

Research had been done: according to charity Credit Action, designer jackets (lost two weeks later) and holidays were just two “essential” student buys, while a Moneysupermarket.com survey said that three quarters of parents believe their children should have received financial education lessons at school.

Sites such as the Money Advice Service, Which? and MoneySavingExpert all produced lists of advice, pitfalls and myths to help students avoid falling into ever increasing spirals of debt. The National Association of Student Money Advisers (NASMA) had people and information available all over the country.

There were contrasting views on whether student loans should be considered a debt at all.  Repayments do not start until you earn more than £21,000, and then repayments are deducted at source, along with your national insurance and PAYE.  So perhaps it is not a loan at all, but a finite graduate tax, which you pay off in proportion to your income?

The opposing view is that, like a mortgage, it may become a regular part of your life but it is still a payment which sits against your income until it is paid off.

And what of the students themselves? 

On Twitter several organisations (including ourselves) were distributing requests from broadcasters for students to contact them to talk about their finances.  There seemed to be precious few responses all round during the morning, cueing all the jokes about them still being in bed, or having their ears covered by headphones or their eyes focused on a TV or games screen.

But this is a hugely serious time for the majority of new students.  Not that this is new – history and literature is full of penniless students wondering where the next meal and pen nib/laptap is going to come from.   They ought to be opening their minds and spirits to the experiences of university and college, but instead they have to become their own finance director.

Hopefully some of the good advice and helping hands that are on offer will make the journey a little easier for them.

For the Debt Advice Foundation student advice guide, click here: http://www.debtadvicefoundation.org/education/student-debt-guide

For the Money Advice Service, see https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/articles/managing-money-as-a-student

For Which? Conversation, see http://conversation.which.co.uk/money/student-finance-day-share-your-budgeting-tips/

For “busting myths”, see http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/students/student-loans-tuition-fees-changes

For more tips, see http://www.creditaction.org.uk/policy-research/press-room/partying-designer-jackets-and-holidays-how-we-spent-our-student-loan.html and

 http://www.moneysupermarket.com/c/news/library/money/student-finance/