Student Finance: a simple guide for UK students

Confused about student finances, what you’re entitled to and how to find it? Read our simple guide to student funding for a straightforward explanation of what’s out there, or for a quick overview, take a look at our infographic.

Money from the Government - There are three main sources of funds from the government available to students:

  • A Tuition Fee Loan – this is a loan of up to £9,250 a year, made to you to pay for your tuition fees and it is paid directly to the University you will be attending. You have to pay the loan back.
  • A Maintenance Loan – this loan of up to £11,354 a year is intended to help towards your living costs whilst at University including accommodation. Everyone is entitled to a percentage of this loan, but to be eligible for the full amount you will be required to provide details of your household income. You have to pay the loan back.
  • Student Grants - although the maintenance grants have been scrapped, there are also still some grants given by the government  for specific needs or for particular courses of study.

How much will the loans cost me?

If you do take a loan it is important to understand how much it will cost you and how much you will need to pay back. Students are charged interest on their loans, but the amount you finally pay back depends on what you earn once you graduate and not how much you originally borrowed.

The loan is also cancelled after thirty years, so if you have not paid it all back within that time, you will be cleared of the debt. Current estimates suggest that around 40% of students will never pay of the full amount of the loan.

Here is a simple diagram of how student loan repayments work. 
The important thing to realise is that whilst the thought of owing tens of thousands of pounds may seem incredibly daunting the repayments will always be 9% of what you are earning, a figure which has been fixed on to ensure that it is not going to take up a huge chunk of your earnings. It will also be deducted by your employer from your salary before you receive it so you won’t even miss it!

Money from Universities - in addition to the money provided by the government, Universities have their own schemes which provide scholarships and bursaries to students, to provide fairer access to higher education or to reward or attract applicants with high achievements. Some of these schemes are merit based and others are assessed on your financial needs

Other Scholarships, Grants or Bursaries - As well as those offered by university there are also many scholarships increasingly being offered by companies, professional associations, charities and trusts to encourage new talent in to a particular industry, widen participation, recruit graduates or even just to get their brand in front of students. May of these are not tied to a particular subject or university so do not limit your search to the university website. 




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