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Budgeting & Banking

11 free things you can get from university

One of the best perks of being a student is having access to loads of brilliant opportunities and services for free throughout your time at uni. Read on for the top ones to look out for.

Happy woman on a laptop with a free price tag

Credit: Roman Samborskyi, premiumicon – Shutterstock

It's no secret that uni life can be expensive. As the average student's Maintenance Loan is around £582 less than their living costs each month, any chance to save money can make a big difference to your bank balance.

Thankfully, there are a number of great things you can get for free from your uni (including money!). Making the most of the free services, facilities and other opportunities listed below could benefit your studies and help your Student Loan stretch further each month.

We share amazing freebie offers every day on our deals page.

Best free things you can get from your university

Here are the 11 top things that you can get for free from university:

  1. Free money

    money in a purse

    Credit: Yevgen Kravchenko, kamui29, Bell Photography 423 – Shutterstock

    The first point in this list is arguably the most important one to look out for. You could get free money from your uni.

    This could be in the form of a student bursary or hardship funding, and neither of these sources of money need to be repaid. Here's a bit more info about them:

    • Scholarships, bursaries and grants – This can include funding for students from disadvantaged backgrounds, from ethnic-minority backgrounds or who are particularly gifted, such as in academia or sports.
    • Hardship funds – If you're struggling for money, it's worth talking to the support services at your university to enquire about hardship funds. They may be able to offer you some funding, helping you in the short term until you can get back on track with your finances.
  2. Freshers' week freebies

    At freshers' fairs (or even refreshers' fairs), there's so much free stuff available.

    The types of freebies on offer during freshers' week will vary from uni to uni, but you could get free stationery, vouchers, condoms and lots more.

    At these university events, try to pick up as many free things as you will use.

    However, if you don't think a freebie will be useful, it's better to leave it. Otherwise, you'll probably end up throwing it in the bin which is a waste.

    Visit lots of different stalls and chat with the people at each one to see if they're handing out anything exciting or useful.

  3. Free therapy

    If you're ever struggling with your mental health at university, it can really help to talk to the student support service to enquire about counselling.

    Therapy with university counsellors is free to access. It can make a huge difference to talk through your concerns and issues in a confidential space.

    Hopefully, you'll be able to start receiving counselling soon after getting in touch with the support services about it.

    However, if you're put on a waiting list and don't want to wait too long, you could consider referring yourself to an NHS talking therapies service outside of uni. This is also free and it's possible you could start the NHS therapy sooner. Talk to your GP if you'd like to find out more.

    University can be stressful at times. It's super important to take plenty of breaks and make time for self-care.
  4. Free courses

    Woman in library studying with laptop books

    Credit: Solis Images – Shutterstock

    If you're offered the chance to do a free course alongside your degree at uni, this is the perfect opportunity to learn new skills and improve your CV.

    As an example, it may be that you're able to study a language course for free. Not only could it be a welcome break from your degree to learn about something different, but it will also help you stand out among other applicants when applying for graduate jobs.

  5. Advertising services for free

    If you start a small business as a student, you might be able to get some free promotion from your uni.

    For example, you might be able to get a shout-out from your university on social media, a feature about your work on their blog or perhaps an advert on a noticeboard on campus.

    At Save the Student, we know first-hand what a difference this can make. Support and promotion from the University of Manchester really helped our founder, Owen Burek, while he was developing this site.

  6. Bars with free entry

    In our latest National Student Money Survey, the average surveyed student spent £69 a month on going out. This was the fourth biggest expense after rent, groceries and bills.

    Nights out can quickly add up in price, but one cost that's easy to cut out as a student is the entry fee of overpriced bars.

    Instead of paying over the odds just to get into a bar, let alone having to buy expensive drinks when there, it can work out as cheaper to go to your Student Union bar where entry will likely be free.

    Granted, you'll still have to pay for drinks at the SU bar. But the free entry could help to reduce the amount you spend each month on going out.

  7. Proofreading services for no charge

    Student in university halls room

    Credit: Monkey Business Images – Shutterstock

    When you first start uni, you won't be alone in feeling daunted by the prospect of writing degree-level essays.

    They're generally longer and more in-depth than the ones you'd have been used to writing at A Level. But the good news is there should be plenty of opportunities to have your work proofread at uni for free. This could be done by your tutor, lecturer or by specialist support staff.

    Particularly if you get similar feedback each time you submit an essay, it helps to ask other people to check your work with a fresh pair of eyes before you hand it in. They could identify typos and highlight aspects of your structure and argument that can be improved.

    If your university has essay-writing experts as part of their support staff team, book an appointment with them. They might spot areas of your essays that need work and help you achieve a first. And as the meetings are free, it doesn't make sense not to.

  8. Free software

    In university libraries and IT suites, computers often have useful software. As the software can be expensive, make the most of having free access to it at uni.

    Having said that, if your uni computers don't have the software you need, you could contact IT support to find out if there's a chance they will buy it. It might be a long shot, but you'll never know until you ask.

    Alternatively, check out the best free software for students to see if there are any good programs you could download for free on your laptop.

  9. Free use of university facilities

    While at uni, make use of as many of the facilities as you can to try to get your money's worth out of your tuition fees.

    Firstly, remember that you'd have free access to study spaces at uni. This includes the uni library, cafe and perhaps even a study room that's available to hire.

    Secondly, check with the sports centre on campus to find out what facilities you'd be able to use for free.

    You'll likely need to pay for membership to use the uni gym. But, you may find that if you get a gym membership, you can use other sports facilities for no extra cost. This could include the sports hall or the AstroTurf for a kickabout with your friends.

  10. Access to books and journals for free

    Colourful books with blue background

    Credit: Unuchko Veronika – Shutterstock

    If you haven't yet made full use of your university library, you're missing out on so many free-to-access resources.

    Before buying textbooks, check if the books are available at the library. Borrowing books from uni rather than buying new ones will save you a lot of money during your degree.

    And it might not just be physical books at your university library. See if you can get free audiobooks from there too.

    Plus, if your uni has signed you up for free access to journals on JSTOR (one of the most useful sites for students), make use of it. It can be a real lifesaver when you're researching specialist topics for essays and assignments.

  11. Free careers advice

    As you approach graduation, you'll become all too familiar with hearing the question: "what are you going to do after uni?"

    Job searching can be daunting. In fact, 42% of students in our latest National Student Money Survey said they weren't confident about finding work after graduating. If you're feeling this way, contact the careers advice department at your uni to chat about your options.

    This will be free expert advice that could make a huge difference. Examples of topics you could discuss with them include:

    These are just a few examples. Ultimately, if you have any questions about graduate jobs, the careers advice team at uni are great people to talk to.

Your university isn't the only place where you can find freebies. Check out the ultimate list of free stuff.

Laura Brown

WRITTEN BY Laura Brown

Laura Brown, Head of Editorial at Save the Student, is an award-winning writer with expertise in student money. She project manages influential national student surveys and has presented findings to MPs in Westminster. As an expert on student issues, Laura has been quoted by the BBC, the Guardian, Metro and more.
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