Debt Advice

Student life can be stressful especially if you have outstanding debts. The pressure of having debts to pay can seriously impact your studies, and it can be hard thinking you have to deal with this all alone. Well you don’t have to because help is available!

So you have lots of debts but can’t figure out which one to pay first. Debts can be sorted into two categories, priority debt and non-priority debt.


A priority debt is a debt that is very serious and can have significant implications if you ignore it. For example, if you fail to pay your mortgage a consequence could be you lose your home.


Here are some priority debt examples:

  • Rent/ mortgage
  • Council tax arrears
  • Tv license
  • Gas and electricity bill


A non-priority debt is a debt where the problems it causes are less serious than the above. However, that doesn’t mean that these should be ignored either.


Here are some examples of non-priority debts:

  • Water bills
  • Payday loans
  • Money borrowed from friends and family
  • Credit card bill


For more detailed information on what can happen if you don’t pay a certain bill click here.


If you do need help figuring out which debts to priorities and how to tackle them, then we advise that you seek advice as soon as possible. Debt advice is a regulated activity, which means that the government has appointed a regulator to ensure debt advice is delivered to a high standard. Receiving incorrect debt advice can severely make your situation worse.

Whilst we do not provide debt advice ourselves, we do recommend the following debt advice agencies all of which are free, student friendly  and FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) authorized. If a debt agency is offering advice at a price or is not FCA authorized, then there is a chance they do not have your best interests at heart.

Recommended debt advice agencies:


  1. StepChange:


  • They have a wide range of practical debt solutions tailored to individual situations.
  • You can receive advice via online or phone.
  • Free and confidential advice which will not affect your credit score
  • Experienced of dealing with students. Check out their student debt help page.
  • They even have a 60 second test on their website for people unsure if they need help. Even the busiest of bees has 60 seconds!


  1. National Debtline


  • Free, independent  and confidential advice.
  • Advice can be accessed via Webchat Monday- Friday 9am-8pm. Even on Saturdays 9.30am-1pm!
  • Available support if you are struggling with increased energy bills
  • Have an easy to use budget tool


How Union Advice Can help?


  • We can advise and support you with submitting an Extenuating Circumstances claim if you feel that your debt problems are impacting your studies.
  • We can assist you by being present when you are calling a debt advice agency, help guide you through the conversation, make notes and help you make a plan of action with the advice received. As mentioned above, we are not debt advisors and will not be able to answer any specific debt advice questions. This is best left to the specialists.
  • Prevention is always important. So if you are worried about your finances and want non-judgmental advice on how to better manage your money, get in touch for budgeting advice with one of our advisors. Just fill in our online money case form and we will aim to respond within 3 working days.


If you have any ideas or suggestions on how we can assist students financially or provide further guidance, please email us at