How much truth is there in the statement “Everyone can afford to go to university”? Do you know what the real costs of going to university are and where does the money come from? Why do so many students have to work part time to supplement their income?
When you apply to university, make sure you understand what it will cost you and where applicable your parents. The costs will also vary significantly depending on where you decide to go to university, as the cost of student living varies enormously around the country.
1. Tuition fees
Tuition fees range from around £6,500 up to £9,250 (the maximum universities can charge from 2017 onwards). The cost of tuition fees is covered by the Student Tuition Fee Loan that you can get from the Student Loan Company and it is paid direct to your university.
Student accommodation costs vary enormously across the country, with a single room in university halls costing between £80 and £150 per week depending on where you are studying and the level of facilities included. The Maintenance Loan, also offered by the Student Loan Company is intended to cover the costs of accommodation plus other living expenses.
3. Living Expenses.
• Travel from home to university at the end and start of each term, plus any mid-term visits
• Travel to and from university each day if living off campus
• Books and study equipment (including laptop)
• Mobile phone
About the Maintenance Loan
The Maintenance Loan that students can apply for is means tested based on their parents’ income, with the amount being loaned ranging from £3,994 and £9,500 a year dependant on where the student lives and their parents’ income.
As an example, a student living away from home (not in London), whose parents earn more than £60,000 the most they will get as a Maintenance loan is £5,256. Given that the average cost of accommodation per year is £4,400, this leaves £856 for living expenses for the year – clearly not enough!
It is of course assumed that parents will make up the difference but not all parents can afford to do this or want to.
Can you afford to go to university?
These are things that you should consider and talk about with your parents when applying to university. As long as you are all aware of the situation and know how you plan to make up any shortfall, whether it is your parents helping you out, or you knowing that you will need to get a part time job to supplement your income, the fact that you do not have enough money will not come as a shock to you once you have already embarked on your course.
Planning ahead and understanding the real costs of going to university will help avoid any nasty surprises.