Money Advice



Many students find university to be an expensive experience – fees, course costs and living expenses can all add up!  Coming to university may also be the first time you have searched for work or had a job; or if you are an international student it may be the first time you have worked in the UK.   


The Students' Union Advice & Support Service can provide advice and information on all matters money and employment related.  We can support you if you are struggling to manage your budgeting, if you are in debt, and if you are having legal problems due to debt.

These pages also have up to date information on tax, national insurance and UK employment law.


Am I eligible for a Student Loan?

Finding Financial Support




Our student advisers can offer and range of advice and support concerning matters of financial hardship or difficulty.


How can I access financial support school offered by the school?


LSE offers a wide range of scholarships, bursaries and financial support to assist both undergraduate and post-graduate students during their time at LSE.   Information on all the financial support avaiable at LSE can be found on the financial support section of the school’s website.


If you are thinking of applying for financial assistance and would like to discuss the process or would like help completing the application then drop into the advice centre in room E297 during our open hours and one of the student advisers will be happy to go through it with you.


How can I access financial support offered by external groups and charities?


At the student advice centre we have access to a funding database, called ‘FunderFinder’ which details a wide range of external funding organisations and charities which students can apply to for financial assistance.  You can make an appointment to use ‘FunderFinder’ and one of the student advisers will guide you through searching the database to produce a list of funding providers which match your personal criteria.  You can then take the list away and apply too all these organisations in your own time.


Can I get advice on tax, debts, loans and fees?


As well as assisting you in funding applications the student advisers can offer advice and support on a whole other range of financial issues including the following areas: debts, grants, loans, overseas fees, council tax.  You may also find it helpful to look at the “useful links” page of this website as it lists a number of websites that can be of assistance to any student who needs financial support.



Finding Financial Support

Students’ Union Hardship Fund

The Students' Union has a Hardship Fund, set up to give students in a number of different circumstances fairer access to higher education and the possibility to remain studying when they may not otherwise be able to do so. 


The Students’ Union Hardship Fund is available to all students, including international and postgraduate students who are facing financial difficulty or are incurring unexpected costs. The main priority areas for funding are: Council Tax Liability (up to £250), Emergency Housing and Homelessness (up to £400), Immigration (up to £700), Medical Costs (up to £500), Repeating Students (up to £1500), Small Claims & Legal Costs (up to £500) and support for choice in unplanned pregnancies (up to £500). 

The Hardship Fund will also take into consideration any other applications showing serious, short term financial hardship. Where a discretionary award from the fund would relieve serious short term financial hardship, and would prevent a student from having to withdraw from their studies this would be taken into consideration.

Examples of circumstances that would be considered for the Hardship Fund:

Cost of termination or pre-birth costs in the case of an unplanned pregnancy,

Help towards rent if you are facing eviction,

Help towards unexpected medical costs such as an operation or medication,



The Hardship Fund is means-tested, although in the case of unplanned pregnancy costs we will consider an application without means testing if there is a reason why the applicant does not wish to inform her partner.

Applications must include supporting evidence pertaining to the fund.  This can include 3 months of bank statements, utility bills, travel costs, childcare costs, evidence of debts, cost of living, medical evidence and documentation.  Specific details of the evidence you will need to submit can be found in the explanation notes of the application form.



Childcare Fund

This is a means-tested fund intended to assist students who incur additional costs as a result of childcare.  Maximum award £1500.

Applications must include supporting evidence pertaining to the fund.  This can include 3 months of bank statements, utility bills, travel costs, childcare costs, evidence of debts, cost of living, medical evidence and documentation.  Specific details of the evidence you will need to submit can be found in the explanation notes of the application form.


Disabled students fund

This fund is no longer provided by the Students' Union. We would advise you to contact the LSE's Disability & Well Being Office.  


To apply to any of our hardship funds drop into the advice centre in room E297 to pick up an application pack.  If you are not able to visit the advice centre in person please email to request an application pack.



Tax and National Insurance


National Insurance


National Insurance is the governments scheme whereby everyone in work pays a contribution to build up their entitlement to certain state benefits, including a pension. Your contribution depends on how much you earn and whether you’re employed or self-employed. 


Your employer will deduct your National Insurance contributions from your pay if you are:

  • employed in the UK, are over the age of 16 but under state pension age and;
  • earn the same as or more than the 'primary threshold'.


The primary threshold for the 2011/2012 tax year is £139 a week.   12% of your earnings will be deducted in National Insurance contribution on all the money you earn that is above the primary threshold and below the upper earnings limit (between £139 - £817 per week).


To find out more visit the national insurance pages of the ‘directgov’ website.


Income Tax


Income Tax is your contribution to government spending on things like transport, health and education. How much you pay depends on how much you earn.


Many students think that they are exempt from paying income tax but this is not the case.  The amount that you pay will depend on how much you earn and your tax status. You will not have to pay income tax on your Government Student Loan. If you are an international student and you would like advice on the tax liability for overseas funding please contact The Student Advice Centre.


The amount that you can earn before paying tax is called your personal tax allowance. If you earn more than this in the tax year you will have to pay tax. If you are under 65 and earn less than £7,475 between April 6 2011 and April 5 2012 you will not normally have to pay tax. This is subject to change in the very near future.


Further information on income tax and tax thresholds can be found on the tax pages ‘directgov’ website. 


If you think you are entitled to a tax refund, because you have been taxed on your annual personal allowance, then visit the governments student tax advice website.




Each payday, your employer should give you a payslip. It's a receipt for the tax you've paid, showing details like:

  • • Your earnings before tax - your 'gross pay'
  • • Income Tax, National Insurance contributions and student loan repayments, if relevant    that, were deducted from your pay    
  • • Your earnings after tax - your 'net pay'
  • • Your tax code



Your Employment Rights


Many students choose to supplement their income, whilst studying at LSE, with a part time job.  If you choose to do this it is important that you are aware of you rights under UK employment law so that you are paid correctly and treated fairly and with respect in the workplace.


National Minimum Wage


Most workers are entitled to be paid at least the National Minimum Wage (NMW). It makes no difference whether you work full time, part time, in a permanent job, on a short-term contract, for an agency or directly for an employer.


The current national minimum wage is:


• If you are aged 18 - 20 years it is £4.98 per hour

• If you are aged 21 and over it is £6.08 per hour.


From October 2012 the rate for workers aged 21 and over will rise to £6.19 per hour. There will be no increase for workers aged 18-20.


If you have any queries about how much you are getting paid at your job you can seek advice from one of the student advisers in the advice centre.  Alternatively you can call the national pay and work helpline.  You can also consult employment pages the ‘directgov’ website which has detailed information about all elements of UK employment law.


Employment Agencies


If you use an employment agency to find work you have certain rights.  These make sure the agency cannot exploit you.  Details of these rights can be found on the governments guide to agency work.


Working Time Limits


It is illegal for your employer to force you to work more than 48 hours a week on average. This may particularly affect you if you decide to work full time over the long vacation or you are a part-time student.  The number of hours you work per week is usually averaged over a 17 week period although there can be certain exceptions.

  • If you would like to work for longer than 48 hours a week then you must sign an 'opt out' form stating this. Your employer cannot force you to sign this form.  This applies even if you are working for more than one employer.


For any further information you can consult the working hours pages of the ‘directgov’ website


Night Workers


  • If you regularly work for more than three hours between 11.00pm and 6.00am you are classes as a night worker.  As a night worker you should not be asked to work for more than an average of eight hours in every 24-hour period
  • If you are a night worker your employer is legally bound to offer you a free health assessment before you start your job.  As a night worker your employer will also need to make regular checks on your health.


Rest Breaks


These are the periods of rest you are entitled to during your time at work.  Your employer does not have to pay you during your rest breaks.  The specific details of your breaks will be included in your contract.


Legally you are entitled to:

  • • If you work more than six hours a day you are entitled to a rest break of at least 20 minutes
  • • A rest period of at least 11 hours in every 24 hours;
  • • You are entitled to at least two rest days per fortnight;


Paid Annual Leave 


All full time workers are entitled to at least 20 days paid holiday, or 'annual leave’ per year. The law is designed to allow you to have four whole weeks a year without having to go to work. This means that if you normally work for 5 days a week you are entitled to receive 20 days paid leave a year, and if you work 1 day a week all year round, you will be paid for four days leave a year.
You begin to qualify for annual leave from your first day of work. In general you are allowed to take 1/12 of your entitlement per month.
It is important to note that you do not have the right to choose which days leave you can take and your employer can ask you to take bank holidays as part of your leave entitlement.

Deductions from wages


Deductions can only lawfully be taken from your wages if:


  • • they are legally required or authorised (e.g. tax and National Insurance)
  • • they are allowed by your employment contract - you must have a copy of the contract     term which allows the deduction, or a written explanation of it, before the deduction is     made
  • • you have agreed in writing before the deduction is made


If your employer is making deductions from your pay, you should check that they are allowed to. Your employer cannot make any deduction or take a payment from you which reduces your pay below NMW rates even if they have your permission to do so.
















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