Student Finance is the official government funding you apply for in order to pay for university tuition fees and living costs while studying. You will borrow the money from the government and then pay it back gradually. You do not have to apply for both, or either, of these loans if you can afford to fund university yourself, however, most students need this financial assistance.
How to Apply
You will apply directly to Student Finance England for two different loans.
1. Tuition Fees loan: This will cover the cost of your course. Usually £9,250 per academic year. The loan will be paid directly to the university by Student Finance England. You will never see the money in your bank account and don’t have to worry about remembering to pay it to the university.
2. Maintenance loan: This is money to support your living costs whilst at university. It will be paid directly into your bank account in three instalments over each year. The amount of money you get will depend on your household income. Those with lower household incomes will receive more and those studying inside London will receive more. There is a handy calculator on the Student Finance Website to help you figure out what you are likely to receive - Click HERE.
When to Apply
Student Finance England usually opens applications in February and the deadline to complete these is usually the end of May. Although you can still apply after this date, you will only be guaranteed your money in time for the start of your course if you apply by May.
Register and complete your personal student finance application.
Complete your Parents/Carers income details.
Complete your Parents/Carers household income details to see your eligibility. You may need to send proof of income.
Sign and return your declaration.
Sign your declaration and return it. Then it is time to budget plan and get excited about your new journey!
Repaying your Loan
You will only need to start repaying your loan when you are earning enough to be able to afford it. This is currently £25,000 a year (before tax), but these thresholds change each year. No money will be taken from you if you earn below this threshold.
Once you earn more than the threshold, you start repaying. However, you only pay 9% of the amount above the threshold. For example, if you earn £30,000 a year (£5,000 above the threshold), you will pay 9% of £5,000 for the year, which is £450.
Is University worth the debt?
Student debt should never be seen as a barrier to university.
Student debt should never be seen as a barrier to university, but you definitely need to consider whether you are happy to take on a student loan or if you would prefer going straight into an apprenticeship and earning while you learn. Will you regret not having the student life experience? There is a lot to consider.
Yes, you will have a lot of debt after university, but this only has to be repaid when you are earning enough to start repaying and only a very small percentage of your wages are paid towards your student loan each month. It goes straight out of your wages too, so no need to remember to pay it; it is hassle-free. There will be nobody coming to your home to repossess your belongings or chase up your payments if you cannot afford it, and if you are unable to pay back the loan after 40 years then you won’t ever have to. Think of it more like a graduate tax.
It is important however to be aware that you will be charged interest on your loan from the start of your studies.
Disabled Student’s Allowance
You can also apply to the government for the Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSAs) to cover some of the extra costs you have because of a mental health problem, long term illness or any other disability. This will be in addition to your tuition fee and maintenance loans, and you will not need to repay it. This could cover specialist equipment (for example a computer if you need one because of your disability), non-medical helpers, extra travel because of your disability or other disability-related costs of studying.
Bursaries, Scholarships and Grants
Your university will also have additional funding to support you. Each will have different requirements and most will not need to be repaid. You should research the webpage of your chosen university to check all of the support available.
EU Student Eligibility
For More Information
Direct Gov explains everything in detail and is where you will apply for your student loan:
Student Finance England: https://www.slc.co.uk/
The Money Savings Expert gives an excellent, well-informed overview: