Understanding fees, loans, and grants for university

Student Finance England offer a range of support to help cover tuition fees and living costs, your two main expenses while at university or college.

The range of financial support available depends on your circumstances, your course and where you study. The main types of finance are Tuition Fee Loans and Maintenance Loans (which have to be paid back) as well as grants and bursaries (which don't). The good news is most students won't have to pay anything up front.

Tuition Fee Loans

Most undergraduate courses tuition per year will be £9,000. Tuition fees are usually either loaned from the Government Student Finance service or, if you are undertaking certain healthcare qualifications, paid for by the NHS.

Government tuition fee loan:

A government tuition loan is available for £9,000 per year and paid direct to the university. You can borrow the whole fee or part-fee and repayments do not begin until you earn over £21,000 per year.

Apply online for Student Finance England. To ensure you receive your full entitlement apply at the earliest opportunity.

Repayments

You start repayments once you are earning £21,000+ per year. Repayments start in April, provided you are earning above £21,000. You will replay 9% of income above £21,000:

Salary Monthly Repayment
£15,000 £0
£18,000 £0
£21,000 £0
£25,000 £30
£35,000 £105
£45,000 £180
£60,000 £292.50

 

After 30 years, any outstanding loan is written off. The government will charge you interest on a sliding scale; the higher your salary the higher your interest. The maximum rate of interest is 3%.

Living Expenses Loans and Grants

From 2016/17 all means tested student maintenance grants will be replaced with loans

2016 entry onwards: Maintenance grants will be replaced with loans for new full-time students in England starting their courses from September 2016. From 1 September 2016, the student finance package will include a tuition fee loan and a maintenance loan only. Students will still be able to apply for grants if they’re eligible for certain benefits, disabled, or need help with childcare costs.

Student Loans Company

A Quick Guide to Living Costs

 
Average cost per academic year
Average cost per week (based on 39 week year)
Essentials
Accommodation
£4,888
£125.34
Laundry
£130
£3.34
Travel home (six journeys per year, pre-booked)
£120
£3.08
Course costs (will vary, check with school you are applying to)
£500
£12.82
Essentials estimate
£5,638
£144.58
Other potential costs
Leisure (includes going out)
£1,200
£30.77
Mobile phone
£240
£6.15
TV licence
£145.50
£3.73
Local travel
£200
£5.13
Food
£1,170
£30
Gym / sports
£200
£5.13
Other costs estimate
£3155.50
£80.91
Total costs
£8793.50

 

Visit Student Calculator to help plan your budget in more detail. The universities may have their own financial help available to students so it is always worth checking with their Student Finance department before your course commences. Universities will also have dedicated Careers Departments who can help you source part-time and holiday jobs.

Once you have registered online with Student Finance England and are ready to start your application, remember to have the following documents to hand:

  • Passport (if you have one)
  • University and course details (don’t worry: these can be changed at a later date if necessary!)
  • Bank details
  • National insurance number
  • Your parent’s details, including their National Insurance number and household income information

The online application process is interactive and responsive to the information you submit, so your experience of completing the online forms may be different to that of your friends. 

In addition, you may also find the following sites useful:

Bursaries, scholarships and awards

Scholarship Search

Scholarship Hub

Contacts

If students have queries about student finance, please see The Careers Team or contact Student Finance England directly:

Student Finance England

Phone number - 0300 100 0607

Opening hours - Mon - Fri, 8 am to 8 pm; Sat and Sun – 9 am to 4 pm

Address for paper applications and evidence - Student Finance England, PO Box 210, Darlington, DL1 9HJ.