Every academic year, Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) allocates £1 million of hardship funding to support a diverse student population. However, the large number of students applying for hardship funding more than once indicated that money alone was not the issue, but it was also about how to manage their money in a sensible and sustainable way.
Through the team’s interactions with those students needing help, it was clear that financially-induced anxiety was often seen as overwhelming and education would be an effective antidote. Additionally, the money advice team didn’t have the human resource or capacity to run the financial education workshops needed to help larger groups of students develop better habits. Instead, they often found themselves ‘fire-fighting’ during one-to-one sessions, often when it was too late.
The challenge was to introduce an accessible resource that ran independently and in partnership with the funding team, one that spoke to the students in their language, helping them to understand the psychology of money and how a better ‘relationship’ with money can support their studies and life beyond university.
- Make financial awareness one of the University’s key strategic objectives
- Enhance the student experience, in particular for those who are more vulnerable, to reduce anxiety and support mental health
- Support and financially prepare a diverse demographic of students for university life in an effective, efficient and engaging way
If you are preparing for an exam — you are going to study and revise… so why wouldn’t you plan a budget for your time at university?
The University added the Blackbullion platform into their existing financial capability initiative. They ensured the students received the right messages at key transition points and educated the staff, so that they fully understood the benefit of encouraging students to engage with the platform.
The money advice team invited all staff, including academics and student halls managers, to attend sessions raising awareness about Blackbullion. A key part of the strategy was in getting these staff members to actively encourage students to use Blackbullion.
LJMU has expanded the funding process session of their open day talks to include an introduction to financial capability. They give each attendee an access code for Blackbullion so that they can prepare for the financial side of university life long before it starts. They include flyers and information, supplied by Blackbullion, within the pre-entry pack, also ensuring they reach out to care leavers, estranged students and their Young Adult Carers.
Additionally, LJMU includes Blackbullion information when sending out accommodation booking links and the Residential Assistants proactively target those who need more help once students are at the University.
Solutions in use
students introduced to Blackbullion since June 2018
of the campus have engaged with the platform
Since LJMU introduced Blackbullion in June 2018, over 2,000 students, 8% of the campus, have engaged with the platform. The money advice team are now able to efficiently reach and help all of the students using the tools, structure and literature provided by Blackbullion.
The next focus for LJMU is ensuring the students have embedded their learning and are able to apply what they’ve learned from Blackbullion.
Historically, we have spent too much time firefighting money issues, resulting in us not having the time to be proactive.