Student finance – full-time students

Student finance costs fall into two parts:

Your university or college course must be publicly funded and lead to an higher education qualification. Applications open in February/March

  • Tuition Fee loan to cover tuition fees. Universities can charge up to £9,250 a year for tuition fees. This may change in academic year 2020 to 2021. Each university or college can decide what it charges, including whether to charge at different levels for different courses. 

    Check the details in university prospectuses and websites. 
  • Maintenance Loan to cover day to day living costs. The amount you get will depend upon whether or not you live at home, your family income and where you study and you must meet the UK residency conditions. The interest rate on your loan is based on the Retail Price Index (RPI). The amount you will repay, begins to build up from the start of your course and will also be related to your earnings, after you graduate - you will not start paying until you earn at least £25,000.

  • There is more information about other areas of Student Finance.
  • Help is limited for postgraduate course, for sources of funding see

These UCAS videos contain some useful information if you are thinking of applying for university, click on the link and search for 'applying'

For further information have a look at the information on the Student Loans Company website.

Repaying your loans

  • You will not start to repay your loan until you are earning at least £25,000
  • What you pay back depends upon your income, not the size of your loan
  • Repayment will be 9% of your income above £25,000, all outstanding repayments will be written off after 30 years

Other sources of funding

  • Most universities and colleges also offer some help with finance through bursaries and scholarships; some are based on merit and others on financial need. You may have to apply early for these before you start your degree, as some have very early cut off dates. Details are on the UCAS website, look in the entry profile, or check university websites.

  • Disabled Student Allowances (DSA) a non-repayable grant, may be available if you have a disability and are likely to have extra costs as a direct result. Your university is responsible for assessing whether you are eligible for DSA and what you will receive. Allowances can be made, for example for IT equipment or a non-medical helper’s allowance. NB talk to your university about applying for DSA BEFORE you start.
  • There may also be extra help if you are leaving care from both your local council and university. Enter this on your UCAS application when asked. The Care Leavers’ Foundation may also offer financial help, see the grants section.

Additional help for specific courses

  • Social work students - eligible students may receive a non-income assessed bursary. The amount depends on where you are studying and whether you are full or part-time student and how many bursaries are available at your university. To apply, you must have completed your first year of study but make sure you apply in plenty of time.

  • Healthcare students - on courses leading to professional registration in specific healthcare occupations. This has recently changed, so be sure to check which courses are eligable, see NHS Bursary Scheme. Healthcare students can apply to Student Loans Company for a loan.

  • Dance and Drama students - there are 17 private dance and drama schools that have scholarships funded by the Dance and Drama Awards (DaDA). The awards for tuition and maintenance elements are income-assessed. To receive an award you must be aged  between 16 and 23 and show talent and a likelihood to succeed in the industry.

Sponsorship or higher or degree apprenticeships

A range of organisations offer sponsorship to students on degree courses with a large vocational element. Usually these are large companies or professional organisations. Many employers are now offering higher or degree apprenticeships instead of sponsorships, they may also offer paid work experience and university study. Look for details on company websites and in university prospectuses, also check out higher and degree apprenticeships. You may need to apply very early for these.

Studying abroad as part of a UK course

What you pay will depend upon the university and courses you apply for. General information on travel grants for studying abroad as part of a UK course is on Student Loans Company's website.

Part-time students

Part-time students are entitled to a loan to pay their fees providing they are studying for the equivalent of a full-time course. There is more information on Student Loans Company. See also the higher and degree apprenticeship information above.

And ...

... if you don’t already have one, open a bank account.

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