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 advice@fxu.org.uk or call 01326 255861.  We are here to help.

Advice Tip #18 – Are you appealing?

Have you got your results?  Are you thinking about submitting an 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.

Nevertheless, depending on a student’s circumstances, there are grounds on which valid appeals can be made.

To find out more about the appeals process click Exeter or Falmouth as appropriate.  You can also discuss your situation and get help with preparing an appeal by making an appointment to see an FXU adviser (01326 255861).

 

Advice Tip #17 – Repaying your student loan

 

If you’re finishing your course this year you need to pay back any loans you’ve borrowed – but not until your income is over £21,000 a year.

You’ll be due to start repaying your loan in April 2018.

The amount you repay each month is linked to your income, not what you borrowed.  You’ll repay 9% of any income you earn over the current threshold of £404 a week, £1,750 a month or £21,000 a year. If your income falls below this, your repayments automatically stop.

Your employer will automatically take 9% of your income above the threshold through the UK tax system (Pay As You Earn – PAYE).  If you’re self-employed you’ll pay through self-assessment.

If you live or work abroad when you finish your course, you’ll need to contact the Student Loans Company before you leave the UK so they can make arrangements for you to start repaying.

Interest is charged on your loan from the day you receive the first loan payment until the loan is repaid. Any loan remaining after 30 years will be written off.  

 

FXU Advice Tip #16 – Free Food

Not so much an Advice Tip – more just useful information. 

FXU has taken delivery of a range of frozen food for distribution free to students.  We have a variety of meat and vegetarian pies – beef pasties, chicken pies, sweet potato, and spinach & goats cheese pies.

So if you’re running low on money and need a meal or two or three or… drop into FXU’s Penryn Campus reception and grab a few.

 

Advice Tip #15 Hardship Funds

It might be the start of a new term and you’ve just received this term’s maintenance funding, but quite a few students have accumulated debt and you might be one of them.

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

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 on-line.

  • Falmouth’s Hardship Fund
  • Exeter’s Hardship & Retention Fund

 

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

Email: advice@fxu.org.uk

 

Advice Tip #14

Falmouth uses the expression ‘intermit’ while Exeter uses ‘interrupt’, but they mean the same thing - a temporary break from study for specified period and which is agreed by the student and the University.

The large majority of students are settled and starting to prepare for end of year assessments.  However, if you’re contemplating taking a break, now’s the time to reach a decision.  For instance, Exeter’s procedure states, “Undergraduate students may not normally apply to interrupt in the summer term for resumption of studies at the beginning of the next academic year.”

In addition, for undergraduate students of both universities, there’s also the issue of the tuition fees liability – the second half of your fees falls due for payment on the first day of the summer term.

If you’re considering interrupting your studies, you should start by speaking to a member of staff – your tutor or course leader is a good starting point.  After that, if you want advice about the implications for your student funding entitlement, make an appointment to see an FXU Adviser by phoning FXU reception on 01326 255861 or dropping in to FXU reception.

 

Advice #13 Dealing with Debt
 

5 steps for dealing with debt

  1. Take time to identify the problem.  You may have several debts mounting up, or a single specific debt that is causing you problems.
     
  2. Make a list of all your creditors (i.e. all the people you owe money to) putting them in order of priority – it’s more important that you pay some than others.
     
  3. Speak to your creditors, such as your bank or credit card company – they may be able to give you some help, like freezing interest or offering you a ‘payment holiday’.
     
  4. Make a plan – prepare a budget plan
     
  5. Get help – you can get help from FXU’s expert advisers.  And, if you’re feeling anxious, you can contact the universities’ counselling service.
     
  6. Take action now- that’s a 6th step, but the sooner you deal with it, the sooner you can get on top of it.
 

Advice Tip #12 – Extenuating or Mitigating Circumstances

Sometimes students suffer illness or other adverse personal circumstances that affect their ability to complete an assessment to a standard that they would, in normal circumstances, expect of themselves.  This could result in not being able to hand in a piece of assessed work on time or not being able to attend an exam.


Possible outcomes: Falmouth (click here to see the full procedure)

  1. Gain extra time to complete an assessment
  2. Remove a ‘cap’ that has been applied to an assessment that was submitted late due to extenuating circumstances


Possible outcomes: Exeter (click here to see the full procedure)

  1. Deferral of the assessment (sometimes even if the assessment has been attempted)
  2. Permitting an extension to the submission deadline


Or possibly:

  1. Setting aside the assessment mark or module mark when considering progression or classification
  2. Substitution of a proxy mark for any affected assessment

 

Deadlines

If you want to submit an application for extenuating/mitigating circumstances you should do so on or before the day of the assessment or, ordinarily, at the latest:

  • Within 4 weeks of the assessment deadline (Falmouth)
  • Within 1 working day of the assessment deadline (Exeter)

 

Further help

If you need help in dealing with the pressures of your circumstances or with submitting an application, you can get advice from Student Services, including the Accessibility and Counselling services, and FXU Advice. 

Email: advice@fxu.org.uk

 

Advice Tip #11 Getting Additional Financial Help

We’ve given this tip before, but 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.

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

You can get further advice on student funding and a whole range of other issues from the FXU Advice Service.

For an appointment call 01326 255861 or email advice@fxu.org.uk

 

Advice Tip #10 Students as consumers

Once you’ve started your course, your relationship with the University is governed by the terms and conditions that you accepted at the time you enrolled. But those terms and conditions must:

        •   Strike a fair balance between the rights and obligations of the University and the student; and

        •   Not give the university a wide discretion to change the cost or content of a course.

If you think the University might have breached your consumer rights, book an appointment to see one of the FXU advisers.

In the meantime, click here for a 60 second summary of the current guidance.

 

Advice Tip #9 – Reducing condensation in your home

You are unlikely to prevent condensation in your home completely, but you should aim to reduce it to a level so that it doesn’t cause problems. The following tips should help you to achieve this.

Produce less moisture

  • Put lids on saucepans while you are cooking to reduce steam.
  • If you need to dry clothes indoors, open the window and close the door of the room where the clothes are drying, so that moisture can escape outside rather than circulate around your home.
  • If you use a vented tumble drier, make sure it’s properly vented to an open window or through an outside wall.

 

Stop moisture spreading through your home

  • While cooking, bathing or washing, use an extractor fan and/or open a window, and keep the door closed. Keep the extractor fan on and/or the window open for about 20 minutes after you have finished (with the door closed).
  • When condensation appears, wipe it away.

You can get advice on a whole range of welfare issues from the FXU Advice Service. For an appointment call 01326 255861

 

Advice Tip #8 – 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. 

 

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

 

Budget
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).

 

Inventory
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. 

Email: advice@fxu.org.uk

 

Advice Tip #7 - Getting additonal 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 on-line.

  • 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. Email: advice@fxu.org.uk

 

 

Advice Tip #6 Students and Council Tax

Full-time students are exempt from paying Council Tax. So, if you live in a house where everyone else is a student too, none of you should be paying Council Tax. If you haven’t already done so, get a Council Tax Exemption Certificate by logging on to My Falmouth (Falmouth students) or ELE (Exeter students) where you’ll be able to download it. You can then take it to Cornwall Council’s One Stop Shop in Falmouth.  If you do all that you’ll avoid the hassle of receiving a Council Tax bill or, worse, a summons to attend the magistrates’ court.

 

 

Advice Tip #5 Shopping online – credit card vs paypal

A couple of weeks ago our Advice Tip suggested using a credit card for online purchases with a value of more than £100 because the cardholder gets additional protection under consumer law. For instance, if the seller goes out of business or the goods are faulty, the purchaser can get their money back from the credit card company.

However, you may not have or want a credit card, but still want to shop online in which case you might want to use Paypal. Paypal doesn’t give buyers the same level of statutory protection, but it does have its own buyer protection scheme. 

So, if you have the option to pay for goods over £100 using a credit card without any extra cost, that’s the better route. But Paypal is a reasonable alternative.

 

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, but to provide extra security, use a credit card for payments of over £100.

 

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 then keep a record of this too.

 

 

Advice Tip #3

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

 

 

FXU Advice Tip #2

 

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.

You can get further advice on student funding and a whole range of other issues from the FXU Advice Service.

For an appointment call FXU reception on 01326 255861

 

 

FXU Advice Tip

 

If you're a 1st year student and you're thinking that university might not be for you then you might also be thinking about withdrawing or interrupting. Before you reach a decision you should speak to your course leader or personal tutor, who may be able to answer any concerns that you have. After that, if you're still thinking of leaving, speak to an FXU Adviser to find out about any implications for your student funding. Lastly, don't delay dealing with this - withdrawing before the end of this week means that you won't be charged the 1st term's tuition fees (of £2,250). 

To book an appointment 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 advice@fxu.org.uk
  • Via The Compass reception

 

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