If you have been recommended funding toward the cost of a new computer, there is a provision within the funding that allows you to ‘upgrade’ the recommended computer to a different make or model as long as you are prepared to pay any additional cost that this incurs. This is in on top of the £200 contribution that students funded by Student Finance England, the NHS or a Research Council are required to pay.
If you wish to pay a bit extra to get a better computer, you can then choose to either order the computer with any other equipment through the approved specialist supplier, or purchase from an alternative source of your choosing.
Option 1 – Order from the specialist supplier:
- You pay your contribution to the supplier and they invoice the funding body for the remainder of the cost. There is therefore less upfront cost for you.
- The specialist supplier will install the recommended software on to the computer and ensure that it is connected to any additional peripheral equipment, such as a printer.
- The specialist supplier provide full maintenance support for all equipment for the duration of your course so you have one company to contact if you have any technical problems.
- Generally, computers purchased the specialist suppliers do not attract VAT and so can be 20% cheaper than if bought from elsewhere.
Option 2 – Order from an alternative supplier:
- You pay the full amount for the computer and then claim back the funding body’s contribution. There is therefore more of an upfront cost for you.
- You should also ensure that you purchase a warranty that covers the computer for the duration of your course. You can claim this cost back, but does mean more money that you have to spend initially.
- You will also have to install the recommended software yourself and set it up with any peripheral devices that you will be using.
- However, you may be able to get a better deal by shopping around and so find that this is a cheaper option.
- If you want a very specific computer, you may also find that the specialist suppliers cannot supply it.
- If you are considered upgrading to an Apple Mac computer, you may be able to take advantage of the Apple GiveBack option and student discount by purchasing directly from Apple.
Overall, our advice would be to do some research after your needs assessment to find out what sort of computer you’d like and how much you should be expecting to pay. Once the funding has been approved, contact the specialist supplier to find out how much they would charge for the computer you have chosen and then weigh up what the best option would be.