The cost of living during college can come as a big shock for students and parents alike and it varies from year to year. It's important to manage your resources well, no matter how scarce they are! While there may be temptation to substitute a food budget for a “social” budget, you will quickly realise that finding a way of balancing your spending to ensure a healthy, happy and suitably social life during the academic year will be incredibly important. Learning to make a budget of weekly spending and sticking to it may seem tedious, but you will quickly get the hang of it, and will find that you will be managing your money much more efficiently and effectively in no time.  All students should fill out the online budget planner at: and make an appointment with the Financial Advisor for assistance with their budgets by emailing .

Financial concerns

Student Financial Aid Fund - The Financial Aid Fund is intended to tackle disadvantage by providing financial support to students who require financial support to enable them to fully benefit from their third level studies.  The Financial Aid Fund comprises the Student Assistance Fund and an additional contribution from the University.  Support from the Financial Aid Fund takes into account a student’s financial situation and other personal circumstances.  A standardised assessment system is used to determine the level of need and aid.  The ability to support a student depends on the size of the fund available, the number of applications and the circumstances of the applicants in any givenyear. If you feel that you may be entitled to receiving this financial aid then please contact the NUI Galway Student Services Office.

Phone: 091 492364

I need to repeat a year/exams based on medical grounds. Do I still need to pay the fee?

Unfortunately yes, unless you took a formal leave of absence from your course on the basis of a medical certificate. In this case you need to provide your medical evidence and a covering letter to the Fees Office indicating that you wish to repeat on medical grounds as a “free tuition fee” student.  You will have to supply detailed medical certificates that must include referrals to a consultant or consultants and/or hospitalisation obtained at the time of the illness. It should be clear from this documentation that you were actively prevented from attending or participating in your academic course for a significant period of time.  If you become ill after lectures (tuition) for the academic year have ended, then you are not entitled to apply for "free tuition fees" on medical grounds and therefore you will have to pay fees to repeat the year.

I feel like being low on money may affect my social life and means of making friends in college

Making friends in University does not require you to spend too much money. There are a vast and varied number of ways in which you can meet, interact and bond with fellow students at little to no cost. Joining any of the various Societies and Clubs in the college is a more or less free way of meeting people with similar interests to you. It’s also a way of keeping active and becoming a member of the dynamic university atmosphere, away from the academic side. Going to the Societies’ and Clubs’ days at the start of each semester will give you the opportunity to find at least one that interests you. After that, your only job will be to commit, join and be outgoing with members, remembering that many of them will be as new and willing to meet new people as you are!

I’m finding college life to more expensive than I thought I would and am not sure what to do about money problems

As mentioned above, budgeting is the key to successful money management in college. Again, while it may seem tedious, eventually it will feel like second nature and you won’t even realise that you’re doing it anymore. Here are some tips on effective money management and using what you have most efficiently.

  • Always ask in a shop, restaurant or hairdressers if they do a student discount. You would be amazed at the number of places that do so, but don’t advertise them!
  • You will save a huge amount on bills if you are energy conscious. Always turn off the light in a room when there is no one in it. Turn off the television completely if no one is watching it. Little things like this will save you a lot of money and are good for the environment!
  • Don’t bring a debit card on a night out! It may seem a bit harsh and untrusting of yourself, but budgeting a night out can be a wise move. Giving yourself a designated amount to spend on a night will not only benefit your pocket but also your head.
  • Work out which shops have the cheapest offers and best deals. Almost all budget, own-brand products do exactly the same job as brand name versions. In the same way, own-brand foods are very rarely noticeably different from brand versions, and are much cheaper.
  • Learn to cook some cheap meals! You may think that you can live off chicken rolls for an entire academic year, but what you will soon find is that buying cheap foods like pasta, vegetables, potatoes and rice in bulk and preparing easy, effective, varied and nutritious meals is just as convenient and satisfying, not to mention twice as healthy.
  • Don’t take up smoking just because your parents won’t catch you. Seriously. Just don’t bother. You’ll save so much money.