Handling your own finances for the first time can be a challenge but there’s lots of help out there.
So your first student loan payment has come in and you are riding high on the amount in your bank account. Before you go on that shopping spree or all-nighter just remember that some of that money is going to quickly disappear as you use it to pay for your necessities – one of which is your rent/accommodation fees.
To help you budget (more on that later), make sure you don’t miss any payments, and to make things easier, we’ve answered the five most common accommodation fee questions we get asked about:
How do I find out what I need to pay and when?
Unless you are a short term student (who will need to need to pay their fees in full on the first day of the academic term), you can either pay your accommodation fees in full (in which case this will need to be paid by the first day of the academic year – this is Monday 25 September 2023) or in instalments throughout the academic year. For undergraduate students, this means three separate payments and four separate payments for postgraduate students (who have a longer contract length). Whichever option you pick does not change your accommodation fee total.
If you are paying in instalments you will need to pay on the first day of each term (if you are an undergraduate) or if you are a postgraduate student on the first Monday after Arrivals Weekend (18 September 2022), 1 January, 1 April, 1 July. You can check your payment dates and amounts by logging in to the MyAccommodation Portal (where you applied). Here you can download your Accommodation Agreement which shows your payment dates and amounts. You can also check University term dates for future years online.
Alternatively if for any reason you can’t log in to your account, you can check the amount due on our prices webpage – just double check you’re looking at the correct academic year, but be aware that this is not a substitute for your Accommodation Agreement.
If you have an accommodation agreement in Pier Quays, you will need to make payments directly to Unite Students who manage the building. They will communicate with you how and when you should pay your accommodation fees and if you are unsure visit your reception in Pier Quays for more information.
How do I pay my accommodation fees?
There are two main ways to pay your accommodation fees:
- Via an automatic payment plan on Epay. – You will need to log in to set this up in advance of your first payment date and be able to enter the correct dates and amounts for the whole year as shown on your Accommodation Agreement. Please note, if these amounts do not match when the payment is due then your payment plan will be cancelled and require immediate payment for the term.
- Manual payment online via Epay.
There are other ways to pay which you can read about on Kent’s Student Finance website.
If you are a short term student living on campus for a single term then you will need to pay your fees in full on the first day of the academic term manually via Epay.
You will not receive an invoice for your accommodation fee payments, instead, you should download your Accommodation Agreement (from within the MyAccommodation Portal) which will show the payment information you need regarding amounts and dates.
Why are the termly payments different amounts?
This is an easy one, the amount you pay per term depends on the number of days in that payment period.
Now I know my budget and needs, can I move to a more/less expensive room?
There are a number of reasons why you may wish to move rooms after you’ve arrived on campus, and we help facilitate this from November onwards via an online application form. Any room move must be authorised through the Accommodation Office (to ensure you are charged the correct rate for the room you are occupying as well as for fire and safety information), and unless there are exceptional circumstances it’s unlikely you will be allowed to move/swap rooms earlier. Full information about how you can move rooms, finding a potential room swap and more will be available on our website just before Room Moves begin in November so be sure to check back then.
If you’re reading this before applying for accommodation then it’s worth taking a moment to work out your budget
Where can I get support if I need it?
There’s often a learning curve when you’re handling your own finances properly for the first time and you have to consider certain bills (such as rent or food shopping) that you may not have needed to worry about before (plus if you’re living off-campus you’ll also have your water, heating, electricity and wi-fi bills to factor in) so for many, it can be a good idea to draw up a budget. Creating, and sticking to, a budget can sound daunting but it doesn’t need to be. Making a budget can be as simple as knowing what money you have coming in to your account (and when) and estimating what money you have going out like the below example. Plus there’s lots of online calculators that can help with this such as Save the Student’s rent calculator.
Over 71% of students (Save the Student 2020) said they wished they knew more about finances before starting university which is why Kent has signed up to give you free access to the online Money-Ready for Uni short course from Blackbullion. This is a great way to make yourself more confident with money matters, however, there are lots of other reputable sources you can also use to help keep on top of your money, which Kent have pulled together on our student budgeting webpage to make it easier for you.
If you find yourself in need of financial support then please visit Kent’s Student Finance website, here you can find out more about emergency student funding available, student finance timeline (so you know what to do when) and who to contact.
If you have questions about your accommodation payments please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call +44 (0)1227 824242, If you have a query relating to your accommodation itself then contact your college reception or the Accommodation Team for support.