Tuition fee loans
If you live in England and are applying to university in the UK you may be able to borrow money to cover the cost of your tuition fees.
How much can I borrow?
You can borrow up to £9,250 for each year of full-time study and, if you are studying part-time, you can borrow up to £6,935. If you are doing an accelerated degree you can apply for up to £11,100.
This money will be paid directly to the university or college.
If you’re an EU, European Economic Area or Swiss citizen applying for a higher education or further education course starting after the 31st of July 2021, the rules regarding student loans have changed. To find out if you’re eligible for financial support, please see this guidance from the Department for Education. There is no change to support for Irish citizens living in the Republic of Ireland or the UK.
How to find out more about tuition fee loans
Find out more on the GOV.UK website for information on tuition fee loans.
Repaying your loan
Repayments start in the April after you finish your course, but only once you are earning £27,295 or more per year. The amount you repay will be 9% of the amount you earn over £27,295.
Your repayments are collected with your tax or national insurance from your salary.
You can also find advice and tips on MoneySavingExpert.
Watch the Student Finance England video about Repaying student loans 2019/20
Loans for living costs
These are also loans from the government to help you pay for accommodation and other living costs. They are known as maintenance loans.
How much can I borrow?
The amount of maintenance loan you can get depends on your household income, which is either your parents’ income, or your own, depending on your circumstances. The more you or your parents earn, the less you’ll get. You may have to give details of your household income when you apply.
The maximum amount of maintenance loan available for full-time students is:
Living at home: up to £7,987
Living away from home, outside London: up to £9,488
Living away from home, in London: up to £12,382
One year of your UK course studying abroad: up to £10,866
Over 60 years old on the first day of first academic year: up to £4,014
The money is paid into your bank account.
How to find out more about maintenance loans
GOV.UK has detailed information about maintenance loans.
Repaying your loan
Repayments for maintenance loans work in the same way as tuition fee loans.
Bursaries, grants and scholarships
You don’t need to pay back a bursary, grant or scholarship.
Scholarships are often given to those who do very well academically, or excel in areas like music or sport.
Bursaries and grants are usually awarded to students based on their personal circumstances. This could be having a low income or being from a background where fewer people go to uni.
There are special bursaries available for students studying teacher training or social work.
How to find out more about bursaries and scholarships
University and college websites will have information about bursaries and scholarships they provide. They will tell you what criteria you need to meet. If you’re not sure if you’re eligible then you can contact them.
You can find links to bursary and scholarship information on our course pages.
There is extra help available for:
- Care leavers or students who are estranged from their parents
- Students who have dependent children, or who are caring for an adult
- Disabled students
- Students who have a low household income.
A fee waiver is when a university or college pays part, and sometimes all, of a student’s tuition fees. This means you will need to borrow less money.
This option might be offered to you if you have a low household income or are a care leaver.
If you have a disability or additional needs, you may be able to get Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSA) to cover any extra study costs. This can include mental health conditions, epilepsy or dyslexia.
You will need to be assessed or provide evidence, but there’s money available to pay for:
- specialist equipment or software
- a non-medical helper
- other things that help your studies such as travel, books, or printing.
Disabled Students’ Allowances do not depend on your household income and do not need to be paid back.
GOV.UK has more information about eligibility and maximum amounts for DSA.
Disability Rights UK has factsheets about DSA and other useful information.
Care leavers are entitled to a maximum maintenance loan and there is help from other sources available specifically for care leavers.
Higher Education Bursary
This is a bursary of £2,000 paid by your local authority. It’s usually paid in instalments over the duration of the course. However, local authorities also have their own care leavers pledge, which differs from county to county. Speak to your social worker, leaving care worker or personal assistant who will be able to advise you.
Leaving Care Grant
This is a grant paid by your local authority when you leave care to help you with the costs of setting up home, including things you need when you go to university. Government guidance says it should be at least £2,000.
There are charities and foundations that can provide support.
Propel has been set up by Become, the charity for children in care and young care leavers and has a wealth of information around financial support across the UK.
The Unite Foundation works in partnership with 27 universities across the UK and offers bursaries and scholarships. You will need to apply for these and they are not guaranteed.
Care leavers (up to the age of 24) who choose to start an apprenticeship will receive a £1,000 bursary to help with the transition to the workplace.
University or college bursaries
Universities and colleges usually have grants and bursaries for care experienced students. These may include:
- fee waivers
- fee reductions
- reduced accommodation fees
You can check what you may be entitled to with your chosen university or college.
If you are estranged from your family, your parents’ income is not taken into account for student finance. You can also sometimes get extra help from other sources.
StandAlone is a charity that offers extra support for young people (18–25 year old for student finance) who become estranged from their family.
Students caring for children or for an adult
You may be able to get help in the form of a grant. This does not have to be paid back and is on top of other student finance.
Childcare Grant (full-time students only)
Parents’ Learning Allowance (full-time students only)
Adult Dependants’ Grant (full-time students only)
Students experiencing financial hardship
Your university or college may give you extra money if you’re experiencing financial hardship. They will decide if you’re eligible and how much you will get. Check with them to see if you can apply.
Other things to consider
Working while studying
Working while studying can help. You can work part-time while studying, as well as working during summer holidays.
If you do a degree apprenticeship, you will work alongside studying and be paid for it. Your employer will also pay your tuition fees.
Find out more about degree apprenticeships.
You may be receiving larger amounts of money than you are used to managing. It’s important to budget so that you can make it last.
You can find advice on budgeting at:
Applying for student finance
You can apply for loans and grants from the government after you have been offered a place on a course. You can find out how to apply and what the deadlines are on GOV.UK.
Deadlines are given to make sure that money is available for when you start your course. If you miss these, you can apply for funding up to nine months after you have started your course. But this will mean you will not have the money until up to six weeks after you have applied.
You will need a bank account to apply for student finance. There are a number of student bank accounts that offer a range of incentives.
For more information visit MoneySavingExpert - student bank accounts