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Money Management Tips 

1. Establish your Expenses

Attending college is a very exciting time in your life, you get to learn new skills, make new friends and step out of your comfort zone but there are costs associated with college and it is important to plan for this.

Students can have different living costs depending on where and what they are studying, their lifestyle and what financial commitments they have.

Good budgeting practices will help you manage your finances and in turn, enhance your student experience.

Please have a look at the tips below on how to plan ahead and be money smart, make sure to also read the section on 'how UCD can help with these costs?'

Image of a women looking at a receipt, a graduate cap with coins under it, a student sitting an exam, a piggy bank with cost over it

Image of graduation cap on top of coins.

Undergraduate tuition fees consist of the following three elements:              

Tuition Charge                                                                

Under the Higher Education Free Fees Initiative (this scheme is currently under review), the State pays the tuition costs for eligible full-time, non-repeat undergraduate, EU/EEA/Swiss confederation students who:

  • Are first-time undergraduates.
  • Hold EU/EEA/Swiss Confederation nationality or official refugee status see here for details.
  • Have been ordinarily resident in an EU/EEA/Swiss Confederation member state for at least three of the last five years preceding their entry to an approved course.

Only students who are not eligible under the initiative are liable to pay full charges.

  • Students who are classified as non-EU students pay non-EU rates. The fees schedule and information is available here.
  • Fees are set by the Department of Education and Skills.
  • For more information and a detailed breakdown of funding options for different enrolment routes please visit the main ucd fees page for more information.
Student Contribution Charge

Please see updates regarding the student contribution charge by clicking here.

The Student Contribution Charge for undergraduate students who qualify for ‘free fees’ is €2,000 in 2022/23.

  • If you are eligible under the Higher Education Free Fees initiative, you still have to pay the Student Contribution Charge and the Student Centre Levy.
  • If you are not eligible for the Higher Education Free Fees initiative you will have to pay the full programme rate and the Student Contribution Charge. 

Students have the option to pay the Student Contribution in two parts: at the start of semester one and at the start of semester two. 

The Student Contribution Charge may be paid by the exchequer in respect of students who qualify under the Higher Education Grants Scheme. For further information on Ireland's national awarding authority for all further and higher education grants - SUSI (Student Universal Support Ireland) please click here.

For more information and a detailed breakdown of funding options for different enrolment routes please visit the main ucd fees page for more information.

Student Centre Levy

Please see updates regarding the student centre levy charge by clicking here.

All students are also liable for the Student Centre Levy. This levy is €254 in 2022/23. The combined payment of Student Contribution Charge and Student Centre Levy for 2022/23 is €2,254.

The Student Centre Levy fee is a funding system that has been used over the past 25 years at UCD for non-academic student-focused development and activity.

The Student Levy fee provides you, as a student of UCD, the opportunity, support, and facilities required to strive at life outside of the lecture theatre.

As an enrolled student of UCD, the Levy also grants you access to two gyms. 

For more information, please click here.

Repeat Costs

In case you do need to re-sit/repeat an exam there will be a fee involved.

For more information on the cost involved please click here.  

Image of people studying

Academic Expenses

Academic expenses can differ depending on what course you are doing, and the resources needed.  Most students will spend money on the below:

  • Books
  • Photocopying and printing

For a breakdown on the cost of printing and photocopying please click here. Print on both sides if possible as you will save money!!

Remember to use the library as it could be very costly to try and buy all the required books. The UCD SU Bookshop, located in the Student Centre buys and sells second-hand textbooks. All faculties in UCD are covered in the shop.

Specific Course Costs

Certain programmes can require students to buy specific course equipment or participate in offsite visits.

These expenses are often unexpected and can easily be forgotten about when writing up your budget.

It is worth touching in with your Programme Office to find out about specific course costs. 

Consider the daily costs of being a student

A collage of student expenses, rent, groceries, utility bills, transport and social life

Being aware of the possible expenses you will incur, will help you to budget and see where you could cut back on your spending.

Below is a list of other possible expenses that students may incur while studying:

  • Rent
  • Bills
  • Transport
  • Groceries (food & toiletries) 
  • Social Life

Please download resources below and you will see a more intensive list of possible expenses. 

Image of coins stacked in a row, with household items on the top of the stack including a university graduation cap, trolley, house, plane, piggy bank and rings.

2. Plan Ahead

Now you know the potential costs involved in college life you can start to make a plan & put a budget in place.

Budgeting is simple, it is the process of creating a plan to spend your money

Add up the money you have coming in and compare it to your expenses. If you don’t have enough to cover your costs you need to reduce what you’re spending, increase your income, or both.

Budgeting is simply balancing your expenses with your income!!!

Money management skills are not just important for students but throughout your life and now is a great time to practice implementing a budget.

It is a good idea to keep track of your spending and understand your spending habits, if you know where your money is, you will feel less stressed, and you can concentrate on your studies and fully enjoy student life. No-one wants the stress of situations like not being able to pay your rent. It is good to plan ahead and make choices based on your available income.

To help you get started we have included some tips and resources below:

Image of an umbrella over a rolled up dollar

3. Be Money Smart

Now you have a budget plan in place, review it and think about ways you can maximise the money you have!! 

There may be financial support that you are eligible to apply for.

It is important to research your options as early as possible as there are deadlines to submit applications & for some scholarships and bursaries you can only apply in your first year.  

  • Please click here for further information on financial supports in UCD.
  • There is also a laptop loan scheme for more information click here.
  • Please click here for further details on other financial assistance.
  • Please click here for further information on additional scholarships and bursaries.

When applying for any financial assistance be aware of your reckonable income.

  • Get discounts.
  • Take advantage of your student card and get money from some of your favourite shops.
  • Make sure to get your student leap card, click here for more information.
  • Look out for other student deals like at the cinema or the hairdressers.
  • Eat out less.
  • Cook meals at home – look out for deals at the supermarket, buy supermarket own brand products, make your own sandwiches, refill your water & bring your own tea/coffee (this alone could save you €40 a month!!)
  • Use a meal planner to help you get organised!!
  • Plan for social activities and set money aside for them. 

Other Quick Tips 

Image of a road sign that reads Quick Tips

Here are a few quick tips to help you manage your money:

  • Make enquiries/apply for scholarships in the first two weeks of term. 
  • Make sure to avail of the services that UCD offers – health, counselling, sports etc. It is important to be mindful of your physical and mental health.
  • If you’re house sharing – set up a shared “kitty” with your housemates and take turns cooking.
  • Try and get as many course books as you can second hand and get used to using the library – you don’t need to buy all of the books on your book list.
  • Can you walk or bike to college so you can save money on transport and reduce your carbon footprint?
  • Have you considered getting a part time job while you're in college? It is a great way to increase your regular income, but you shouldn't work too hard as you course is your priority!! (Experts say 10 to 12 hours a week )
  • Make sure your CV is up to date and ready for employers - avail of the UCD careers service to help you with this.
  • You could also get involved with initiatives happening on campus and can get compensated for them for e.g. consider being a UCD Access Leader or a UCD Residential Assistant.
  • Check out the UCD student union jobs website for opportunities.

Further Supports