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Cost of Living Payment – frequently asked questions

Reading Time: 7 minutes

Updated 25 January 2023

If your question isn’t answered, please contact us through this online form and we’ll respond within five working days. Please do not call the Student Services Centre (or any other team) as they will be unable to assist.

General Cost of Living Payment FAQs

Where are things up to with the Cost of Living payment?

Nearly all invites to eligible students have now been sent out.

If you met the 8 January deadline  but have not yet received an email from NatWest PayIt, we will be in touch with you before the end of January 2023 about an alternative payment method.

If you did not meet one or more of the deadlines set down (e.g. being fully registered on 1 December 2022 or entering your UK mobile phone number in the mobile phone number field by the 8 January deadline) you will not be invited to claim the payment. We would encourage any student who is struggling financially to apply to the Cost of Living Support Fund.

I’ve been invited to claim the money through NatWest PayIt but have an issue – what should I do?

We are aware that some students are experiencing issues in claiming their award via NatWest PayIT, and are in the process of identifying those affected. We aim to have contacted those students by 31 January 2023 with information about an alternative payment method.

What is the eligibility criteria for the Cost of Living Payment?

All full-time students who were fully registered on an undergraduate, postgraduate taught or postgraduate research programme on 1 November 2022 and added their UK mobile phone number to the student system in the correct format by 8 January 2023 are eligible to claim a payment of £170. Part time students who meet the same criteria can claim £85.

Students registered on programmes listed here are not eligible, neither are University of Manchester employees who are eligible for the staff cost of living payment.

To claim the payment, you will need:

  • A UK bank account
  • A UK mobile phone number which was up to date on the Student System by Sunday 8 January 2023.
  • Access to your student email account
  • To have completed registration for the 2022/23 academic year

What format should my number be in the student system?

You needed to make sure your UK mobile phone number was up to date and in the correct format on the Student System by Sunday 8 January 2023.

Your UK mobile number should be in the international format. This means you should put 44 in the country code field. Then the rest of your number, without the 0, in the telephone field. See the below example image:

You may notice when you click save a – or / appear in the telephone field or an extra 0 in the country field. This is a known bug and nothing to worry about.

To update your number:

  1. Click here to enter the student system.
  2. Select ‘Phone numbers’.
  3. Select ‘Add a Phone Number’.
  4. Fill in the correct UK mobile phone information, in the correct format, and click ‘OK’.
  5. Select the telephone type by ticking one of the boxes and then click ‘Save’. You should get a pop-up message confirming that your address has been saved successfully.

How will the payment be made?

The payment will be made via NatWest Payit. When your payment is available to claim, you’ll receive an email from

This email will contain an individual link, where you will be asked to enter your student ID number and the verification number sent to your UK mobile. You can either log in to your bank account directly or provide your details instead. No one else can use this link, please do not forward to your friends.

We will pass your name, mobile phone number, University email address and student ID number to NatWest PayIt. NatWest will not share your account information or use it for any purpose other than making the payment. For more information on how NatWest processes your information and your rights, please see their Privacy Notice. If you have concerns about how your data will be used contact us through our online form.

How do I know the email inviting me to claim is not a scam?

It is right to be careful of scams. When you receive the email from NatWest PayIt, you can visit the Student News website to confirm it is genuine and that payments are available to claim.

I don’t have a UK bank account – what should I do?

You need a UK bank account to receive the one-off Cost of Living Payment. It’s now super simple to set up an account with an online-only bank. In some cases, you just need a selfie and a picture of your ID. The online banks ‘Monzo’ and ‘Starling’ require proof of address in the UK, but ‘Monese’ and ‘Revolut’ don’t.

How long do I have to claim the payment?

Once you receive the email from NatWest Payit inviting you to claim the Cost of Living Payment, you will have 30 days to claim it.

What if I don’t claim the payment within 30 days?

You will no longer be able to claim the payment and it will be used for other University Cost of Living initiatives.

What should I do if I need more financial support?

If you’re struggling to make ends meet, you can apply for support via the Cost of Living Support Fund. All full-time students can apply, regardless of social background, nationality, or level of study. Find out more here.

Where is this money coming from?

The University believes that providing cost of living support for staff and students is the right thing to do at this very difficult time, recognising that it is an urgent priority for so many of people. Inevitably, this means difficult choices are being made about other areas of planned investment for this year which will have to be reprioritised.

What will happen to any money that is unclaimed?

We very much hope that all students will claim their Cost of Living Payment. Any funds that are not claimed will be used for other University Cost of Living initiatives.

Postgraduate researcher FAQs

I am a postgraduate researcher in submission pending. Am I eligible to receive the payment?


I am a University of Manchester registered postgraduate researcher currently away from Manchester undertaking fieldwork or on an extended period of study at an external institution. Am I eligible to receive the one-off cost of living payment? 


I am currently on an interruption to my studies. Will I still receive the payment?

No. Only fully registered students are eligible for the payment.

I have recently submitted my thesis. Am I eligible to receive the one-off cost of living payment?

No. Postgraduate researchers who have submitted their thesis are not eligible for the Cost of Living payment. This includes those who have been referred for re-examination.

I’m on a studentship funded directly by the University and started in 2022. How much should my stipend have increased by?

The increase in stipend payment is the difference between the UKRI minimum stipend level for 2021/22 and the UKRI minimum stipend level for 2022/23 which was raised to £17,688 in October 2022. Please refer to this Student News article for the full details of the uplift to PGR stipends.

My stipend is already higher that the UKRI minimum payment. Will I receive an increase in stipend?

No. The increase in stipend for PGRs who are on a studentship funded directly by the University is to match the UKRI minimum stipend level of £17,688. Please refer to this Student News article for the full details.

I am also a graduate teaching assistant. Will I receive the staff cost of living payment?

As Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTA’s) work variable hours, the staff cost of living payment can’t be implemented for them. Instead, we have decided to start their pay spine at one point higher, thereby increasing their point by 1, the equivalent of around a 3% increase.

This 3% increase for GTAs is in addition to the increase in the Pay Spine that took effect in August 2022. It will take effect from October 2022 and will be processed in the first instance in October 2022.

GTAs who meet the eligibility criteria will also receive the student cost of living payment.

PayIt FAQs

What is Payit™?

Payit™ allows you to quickly and easily receive the Cost of Living payment directly into your bank account, and means you will receive your funds almost instantly*. It is not an app, but an online payment platform that allows you to use your own online or mobile banking to access your funds. It’s free to use and provides you with:

  • Faster payments
  • Less manual errors
  • More data security with no shared bank details
  • No pins or passwords

*some payments could take up to two hours to be credited

Do I have to have a NatWest account to use Payit™?

No.Payit™ is provided by NatWest, but the great news is that you don’t have to be a NatWest customer to use it.

Is Payit™ secure?

Payit™ uses the UK’s Open Banking infrastructure to securely connect to your bank’s Online or Mobile banking. This allows you to log in using your existing details. Payit™ does not see your login details and Payit™ does not store or share any of your personal bank account information. More details on Open Banking.

If you choose to manually input your account details in order to receive money, we’ll only use the information to make a payment to you. We will not share your account information or use it for any purpose other than making the payment. For more information on how NatWest processes your information and your rights, please see our Privacy Notice which can be found at

Why have I not received my money?

Sometimes funds may be held by your Bank to do some further checks. You can check your mobile or online banking to see if the payment has been received or alternatively contact your bank through your usual channels.

What happens if I experience any of the following issues? 

  • I keep getting a fault when I’m trying to receive funds
  • I can’t get any further than the bank selection screen
  • The journey has timed out
  • I’m getting error messages

We suggest you wait for a few hours, then check your online or mobile banking again to see if your funds have come through. If there’s still a problem, please contact us through this online form.

If you fail the NatWest PayIt validation process on multiple occasions, as a fraud prevention measure we may contact you to request that you present us with ID before we can release the payment.

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