Worrying about finance can be a barrier to considering a university or college degree. Here are the facts to help you make up your own mind.
About the student finance package
When you go to university or college you will be entitled to a student finance package. This is provided by the government and paid to you through the Student Loans Company.
The package consists of a tuition fee loan and a maintenance loan:
- The tuition fee loan covers all the costs of teaching you your course, and it is available to everyone. It is paid directly to the university. This means you do not have to pay the university anything and you don’t have to find the money to pay in advance.
- Everyone is eligible for the minimum maintenance loan to help with costs of living while at university. These costs include things like rent, food, travel, books and going out. The loan is paid into your bank account in three instalments at the start of each term. Different amounts are paid depending on your household income and your living situation. The loan can be increased if you are under the set household income threshold.
Repaying your student loan
There are some important things to remember about repaying your student loan. For the latest, up-to-date figures, plus examples, please read the clear and concise information on the www.gov.uk website.
Applying for student finance
You will need to apply online at www.gov.uk/studentfinance in the spring of the year you will start, that’s February to May. You don’t need a confirmed place. Your parents or guardians will provide the household income information. Go to www.gov.uk/student-finance-calculator to see how much you could get.
Other support available
- Students with disabilities, caring responsibilities or dependents might be eligible for extra support. There are also university hardship funds. Check www.gov.uk/student-finance/extra-help.
- You could also consider getting a part-time job. More than 75% of students have part time jobs. This also helps you gain experience of the world of work, but for most students it is a vital way of topping up their maintenance loan to cover their living costs. A maximum of 15 hours a week is recommended.
- Additional support may also be available through individual university scholarships and bursaries. Criteria for these are different depending on the university, but might include students living in certain areas or achieving good grades. Check the university prospectus and website for details.