The two most feared words in all the world: Student. Finance.

Okay, maybe not the most feared – “last orders” is pretty scary too. But dealing with student finance can be a real pain. It doesn’t have to be, though. Remember these tips and you’ll defeat all your money woes.

Apply early!

Don’t leave your student finance until the last minute. If there are processing delays, it could cause more delays in turn when you’re trying to enrol at university, or sort out accommodation. And that could be a real pain. If you apply nice and early, you know you’ll get your money on time, and will have plenty of chances to sort out anything that doesn’t add up right.

Remember, you don’t pay anything upfront. If anyone asks you for money under the guise of student finance before you’ve begun uni, then it’s probably a scam and you should run very far away.

Repayments

Don’t stress about the loan repayments. You don’t have to start repayments until after you’ve graduated and are earning over £21,000 – and if your earnings fall back below £21,000, your repayments stop. So, try as it might, student finance won’t leave you too broke.

How much you pay back isn’t based on how much you borrowed, but on your current salary. For example, no matter how much you owe, if you’re earning £25,000 you will pay back £30 a month.

If you go travelling or take a gap year, your repayments stop. Remember, though, if you move to another country for more than three months and are earning money there, you have to declare this to the government and continue making loan repayments. Basically, going to open a resort in the Bahamas won’t let you escape student finance. (That’s no reason not to do it anyway, though.)

Your loan is written off after 30 years, no matter how much is left of it.

Look into other financial sources

Many universities offer bursaries and scholarships. Do your research on these – you could be awarded money you don’t have to repay.

Lots of scholarships are based on academic performance or family income. Make sure you check all the terms and conditions so you know you’re eligible.

Don’t let it get you down!

Student finance is a pain, yes. Filling in forms and checking boxes isn’t all that fun, and thinking about money is always a little bit stressful to say the least. But if you give yourself plenty of time and do everything systematically, then you’ll sort it all out perfectly. And then you won’t have to worry about it at all. Sorted!