When looking at higher education, the first question you may be asking yourself is 'can I afford to go to university?' Now that fees cost £9,250 a year you might think you cannot afford it, but this is not the case because the government will cover most of your expenses with a series of loans.
When attending university you are offered two loans; a tuition fee loan and a maintenance loan, for living expenses. The tuition fee loan is fixed and covers all your fees, however the amount offered in your maintenance loan and grant depends on a number of factors including where you live, where you study and your parents' income. In addition to this, there are different university tuition fee schemes and financial support for students resident in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. For more information, select the country you reside in (not the country you are attending university in!).
Repaying the Loan
If you are looking to undertake a three-year undergraduate degree with the new fee regime in England, you'll be averaging more than £44,000 in debt. This may make you very nervous. However, if you feel that university is the right option for you, don’t let the debt hold you back. In fact, don’t think of it as debt at all, treat it as a sort of graduate tax. After all, your loan repayments come out of your salary at the same time as tax, and they will only start when you are earning over £25,000. If your salary later goes below £25,000, you lose your job, or you choose not to work, your repayments will cease once again. Furthermore, if you fail to repay your loan within 30 years, any remaining debt will be written off.
Every time you borrow money from the bank, you have to pay back the original sum, plus some extra, that the bank charges. This is called interest. In England and Wales, the interest rate is fixed at RPI (inflation) + 3%. This can all get a bit complicated, so if you want to better understand how much you'll pay back, use the Complete University Guide’s nifty student loan repayment calculator.
Student Finance England offers a number of loans and grants including:
Tuition Fee Loan of up to £9,250, paid directly to the university.
Maintenance Loan of up to £11,354 depending on circumstances, paid triannually into a designated bank account. For a breakdown of current allowances see the Student Finance website.
Other Support- There is additional support available to disabled students, carers, care leavers, students with young children and those studying certain courses such as NHS degrees, social work or teaching.
University Support- Many universities run scholarship and bursary schemes for exceptional students or those from poorer backgrounds. You can find details of this in the finance section in our UK Universities section.
You need to apply online for any government loans and grants by 31st May 2018.