When you’re planning to study in higher education it is important to know about the financial costs of studying and the help you can get to pay for it.
How much will it cost to go to university?
There are two main costs:
- Tuition fees for your course, charged by your university
- Your living costs while you're at university such as housing, food, transport
Martin Lewis from the Independent Taskforce on Student Finance Information explains the new student finance system
Each university lists it's tuition fees on their website. You do not have to pay any money for fees up front or while you are studying. The full cost of fees can be covered by a tuition fees loan which doesn't have to be repaid until you are earning over £21,000 a year.
There are four main types of funding you can get to help with living costs:
How much you'll actually get will depend on your personal circumstances, for example how much your parents earn.
The amount of maintenance loan you can receive depends on your household income. and where you are studying. You can see the different amounts of loan you could get in the GOV.UK Student Finance Guide.
Full time students can apply for a Maintenance Grant which doesn’t have to be paid back. The amount of grant you can receive depends on your household's income. If you receive a Maintenance Grant, the amount of Maintenance Loan you can get may be reduced. See how much you could get on the GOV.UK Student Finance pages.
If you qualify for a scholarship you could get reduced fees, free years or help with living costs through the National Scholarship Programme, which is a scheme to help students from lower income households. Find out what each university is currently offering and how to apply, by downloading an A-Z of Universities on the programme from GOV.UK.
Most universities offer their own bursaries and scholarships, the amount available and the criteria you need to meet are set by individual universities. Check universities' websites to find out what they are offering.
If you're training for medicine, dentistry or healthcare you may get a student NHS bursary.
If you're training for social work you may get a bursary to help with tuition fees and living costs. More information on social work bursaries on GOV.UK.
Repaying your student loans
Student loans have an easier repayment and interest system than commercial loans. You do not have to start paying back the money you have borrowed until you are earning a wage of at least £21,000 per year. The amount of interest you pay is also based on your earnings.
Calculating your repayments
Use the Student finance calculator on the Money Saving Expert website to calculate how much you are likely to pay back
Applying for financial support
The quickest and easiest way to apply for financial support is online. All applications are dealt with by Student Finance England. You can register and apply online on the GOV.UK website.
If you're applying for a scholarship or bursary, contact your university or college to find out how to apply. Some universities and colleges look after their own bursaries and scholarships and some are handled by Student Finance England.
Page last updated 18/10/12