Hit student advice site clocks one million visits
15 Aug 2012
A personal finance website launched by two University of Manchester undergraduates has clocked up one million visits – making it one of Britain’s most popular sources of impartial advice for students.
Owen Burek and Jake Butler, who have since graduated, launched savethestudent.org in 2007 after thinking about ways to save cash during their first year of a geography degree.
It was originally set up by Burek after he struggled to get to grips with his own finance and budgeting needs at University.
Five years later, the idea has mushroomed into a successful social enterprise with two full time staff, and a 15-strong team of student and graduate contributors mainly from The University of Manchester.
The site can now hold its own in a market dominated by household names such as MoneySavingExpert.com .
Burek, 24, who has been developing websites since he was a teenager, said: “Nowadays more than ever, young people need to understand how to handle money and our success is proof there’s a lot of demand for knowledge out there.
“So many people have little or no understanding of personal finance: we actually think it should be taught at schools and given an equal priority to things like sex or religious education.
“It’s amazing how many of readers aren’t even sure how to do the basics such as opening a bank account or arranging an overdraft.
“Perhaps our success is also down to our unique selling point: we offer a service for students from students who understand the issues they face from personal experience.”
He added: “We discovered we’d received a million visits after doing an analysis of our site statistics and got rather a shock.
“We went out for a few drinks to celebrate but it wasn't long before we were back in work to reach our next goal of two million visits!"
“The support and feedback we get from students, recent graduates, universities and parents is fantastic and really spurs us on – and we hope to go from strength to strength.”
Developed entirely from their own resources, savethestudent.org has also just published The Essential Student Guide to Finance for 2012 which offers advice to students negotiating their way around the new fees regime.
The 80-page book covers everything from applying for student finance to choosing a bank account, and is free to students and parents to download from the website.
The team also send a weekly newsletter to 20,000 students and have spoken on student finance for BBC News and national newspapers.
Future plans for the company include developing a graduate advice website and expanding www.StudentMap.co.uk, a local listings directory for Manchester students.