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“I’m gonna start taking money seriously now – I’ve got a mortgage!” 1st year uni student & New MyBnk Trained London Citizens Money Mentor

Schools out, exams done, decisions made.

The 16-18-year-olds who sat those tests have had a tornado of a year, juggling political activism and studies amongst the talking, striking, arguing and fighting over tuition fees, EMA, pensions and budget merry-go-rounds.

Come September most young students can no longer count on that £15-30 a week and 75% of London universities have the all-clear to charge up £9,000 a year in fees.

Just a third of secondary school pupils understand the new system and applications soared this year as nearly 350,000 young people sought to avoid higher fees – one thing they will not avoid is the increasing financial burden of being a third level student.

The average London rent is now over £1,000 a month, RPI has increased to 8.5% and bread, cereal and cooking oil prices rose over 30% in the last year alone.

It’s the reason we started Uni Dosh two years ago.

Our pals over at London Citizens also saw the need to prepare young people at these crossroads and brought us in to train up 18 First Year university students to become MoneyMentors, helping 1,500 young Londoners from 20 schools.

The mentors knew firsthand the sharp lessons of university life.

With expertise from the FSA, MoneySavingExpert.com, Fair Pensions, and Credit Action, students came to Kings Collage and Queen Mary, University of London for all-day financial credit, debit, consumer choices and budgeting lessons to cope with the true cost of independent living and decide whether uni was for them at all.

Tom Chigbo, a Community Organiser with London Citizens told us that managing your finances was an important part of being a responsible citizen:

“In order to build a stronger and fairer society, our communities need to be confident and capable in managing money. This depends on active citizens working together to tackle the roots of poverty, which include a lack of financial education”.

Those first few weeks are like a playground, thousands of pounds are just appearing in your account and you’re being bombarded by deals and offers – many take their eye off the ball trying to juggle all their new responsibilities.

MyBnk Education Officer Steve Korris told the new mentors about his novel approach to the Bank of Mum and Dad:

“Rather than just ask for a handout I basically went to them with a business plan. I said, here’s what I want to do, this is how much it will cost and here’s how I can pay you back. Interest free of course!”

De-bunking the myths around tuition fees and part-time work also had an effect on the Summer Mentors.

Seun Ogunsakin , 21, went to Birmingham University and it’s the second time he’s been a money mentor:

“It got me thinking about my own situation and relationship with money. After the first summer sessions I looked at my student loan and today I’ve cleared half of it. Money, it’s like a wild beast, if you don’t control it, it’ll control you!”

Now Seun has shared his experience with nearly 2,000 youths, we’re a big believer in peer-to-peer learning, it’s what we do!

So, congrats to the mentors and all those who took part – share the knowledge, share the power, there’s work to be done.

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