Advice Tips

Check out our range of advice tips below covering a variety of subjects.  If you have any questions or would like to make an advice appointment with one of our FXU Advisors, please contact or call 01326 255861.  We are here to help.

#1 student funding

Are you still waiting for your student funding?

With a bit of luck (and good organisation), your funding body (e.g. Student Finance England/ Wales, Student Awards Agency for Scotland etc.) will have confirmed (and paid) your tuition fees and you will have received the first tranche of your maintenance grant/loan.

But if you haven’t, there are things you can do to try and sort it out.

• Have you been means tested? If not, contact SFE to progress this.

• Have you checked your online correspondence page to see if your funding body is waiting for evidence of income from your parents?

• Have you signed the student declaration form? Your funding body won’t release any money until this has been done.

• If your funding body confirms that there will be a delay in paying your grant/loan, you may be able to apply to your University for an emergency loan. To find out more, book an appointment to see an FXU Adviser.

#2 Tax, national insurance and the minimum wage

Do I pay tax while I’m a student?

There are no special tax rules for students earning money being employed (or self-employed).  You will be treated in the same way as other working people.  Nevertheless, as a full-time student it’s likely that you’re earning less than your personal allowance (currently £11,500) in which case you won’t pay any income tax.

Do I pay National Insurance contributions?

Similarly, many students are not required to pay National Insurance contributions.  Again, this is not a result of there being special rules for students.  Rather, it results from many students’ earnings being below the threshold for payment (of £113 per week).

What is the national minimum wage?

The national minimum wage is the minimum pay per hour almost all workers are entitled to by law.  It doesn’t matter how small an employer is, they still have to pay the minimum wage.

From 1 October 2015 the new rates are:

£5.60 per hour for workers aged 18-20 years inclusive

£6.70 per hour for workers aged 21-24 years inclusive

£7.50 per hour for workers aged 25 years and over

#3 Tenancy deposits

Have you moved into private rented accommodation this term and paid your landlord or letting agent a deposit? If so, if you occupy the property under an assured shorthold tenancy, your landlord should have confirmed to you that s/he has paid the deposit into a government backed tenancy deposit scheme.

  • Tenancy deposit schemes make sure you’ll get your deposit back if you:
  • Meet the terms of your tenancy agreement
  • Don’t damage the property
  • Pay your rent and bills

Your landlord or letting agent must put your deposit in the scheme within 30 days of receiving it.

If you’ve paid a deposit and haven’t yet had notification that it’s been paid into an authorised scheme, check with your landlord/agent that they’re going to. If you’re concerned that your landlord is avoiding her/his responsibilities, get advice on what you should do next.

#4 University-related issues

The Advice Service is available to advise and assist students on a wide-range of University-related issues.

This includes appeals, complaints and disciplinary cases.

If you’re involved in any of these processes and would like some confidential advice from an independent adviser, do contact us.

#5 Who’s responsible for repairs in rented accommodation?

Your landlord is responsible for most repairs in your home.  However, if your tenancy agreement says that you are responsible for something that is not your landlord’s legal responsibility, probably you’ll have to keep to that part of the agreement – for example, keeping the garden tidy.

Landlords are always responsible for repairs to:

  • The structure and exterior of the building, such as the walls, roof, external doors and windows
  • Sinks, baths, toilets and other sanitary fittings, including pipes and drains
  • Heating and hot water
  • All gas appliances, pipes, flues and ventilation
  • Electrical wiring

Reporting repairs to your landlord

You should report the need for repairs to your landlord as soon as possible.

Emergency situations

In an emergency such as a gas leak, call your gas supplier or the emergency services immediately, but remember to tell your landlord too. 

Key advice

  • Report problems to your landlord in writing and give a reasonable time to respond
  • Keep copies of all letters and a record of all calls to your landlord
  • Gather evidence of required repairs with photos

#6 Shopping safely online

Choose your shopping sites carefully
Research the site you want to buy from. Does it have bad customer reviews? If so, it may be best to try somewhere else. If you're buying a well-known brand, check with their official website for authorised dealers.

Think price, place and packaging
If the price is very low, for a product that is normally higher, then it might be a fake. Also think about where and how the goods/services are being sold – is there a postal address on the website?

Is the site secure?
Look for https and the padlock sign. The padlock on the screen is usually an indication that a website is secure. Using a credit card for payments of over £100 provides extra security. Paypal also provides ‘buyer protection’.

Keep a copy of your order
Make sure you hang on to details of the website and acknowledgements of your order. Note down the full website address and any contact details that are available. Also, if you have any liaison with the supplier, keep a record of this too.

#7 Getting additional financial help

If you’re in financial difficulty you may be able to get assistance from your University’s hardship fund.

The funds are designed to help students meet any unforeseen expenses: course-related costs such as books and equipment, travel, or general living costs.

If you think you might need help from the hardship fund, don’t wait until you’ve run out of money. Instead, using the links below, to access an application form. Falmouth students must apply using a hard copy, while Exeter students should apply online.

Falmouth’s Hardship Fund

Exeter’s Hardship & Retention Fund

For further information about applying, click here.

Also, if you want help completing the form, make an appointment to see an FXU Adviser.

#8 Academic appeals

If you’re a Falmouth student and you trailed a module (from 2016-17) into the current year (2017-18), you’ll get your results on Wednesday (i.e. 13 December).

If you passed, great. On the other hand, if you failed, it’s likely to have consequences for you remaining on your course.

If that’s something that’s likely to affect you and you’re considering appealing the decision, you can get advice and assistance from FXU’s Advice Service.

#9 Tips for House-Hunters

House-hunting can be fun and exciting, but can have its pitfalls too.  If you want to avoid some of those pitfalls, have a quick read through the ‘house-hunting tips’ set out below. 


Choose your housemates carefully - there will be an advantage to you getting along for at least a year.


Before committing to a tenancy agreement, work out what you can afford and stick to it.  Don’t forget to include a deposit in your budget (usually about 1 month’s rent).


At the time you move in make sure that you prepare an inventory (i.e. a list) of all the items provided by the landlord and their condition.  Once completed, the tenants and the landlord should sign it and each keep a copy.  Doing this will help avoid disputes when you come to move out.

Get your tenancy agreement checked

Before you sign a tenancy agreement, get it checked by one of the FXU advisers.  Here’s what they can do.

Trust your own judgement

If you don’t like the house and/or don’t like the landlord, trust your own intuition or judgment because probably you’ll be right. 

To get more information about house-hunting, go to the FXU website.

#10 Are you appealing?

Around now, students will be receiving assessment results.

Depending on their respective results, students will have greeted the outcome with emotions ranging from elation to indifference to despair.

If you’re somewhere in the indifference to despair end of the range, you may want to consider making an academic appeal.

You should bear in mind that a challenge to the ‘academic judgment’ of the assessor or marker does not constitute a valid ground of appeal. So, thinking that you should have been awarded 65% rather than 55% doesn’t give you a ground of appeal.

To find out more about your University’s appeals process click here for Exeter and here for Falmouth. You can also discuss your situation by making an appointment to see an FXU adviser – phone FXU reception on 01326 255861.

Need Advice? Contact our FXU Advice Service

FXU’s Advice Service provides free, confidential, impartial advice and guidance to all University of Exeter Cornwall Campus students and Falmouth University students.

FXU’s Advice Service can do this because it is independent of both universities.

What type of advice does the Service provide?

  • Money matters – e.g. grant/loan entitlement, bursaries, University hardship funds, emergency loans, budgeting, debt, welfare benefits
  • Housing - rights and responsibilities
  • Employment e.g. income tax, national insurance
  • Consumer rights
  • University related issues e.g. academic appeals, complaints, disciplinary issues, fitness to study, extenuating circumstances, intermitting, withdrawing

How does the Advice Service provide support to students seeking individual advice?

How to book an appointment

  • Drop into the FXU office on either campus
  • Phone the FXU reception on 01326 255861
  • Email your request to
  • Via The Compass reception