Guide to finance at university

Guide to finance at university

Posted in Applying on Mar 02, 2020 by

University Finder

University is notoriously expensive, but there are lots of ways to help you finance your studies.

University tuition fees vary between universities but tend to be between £9000 and £9250. The cost of living varies depending on the area, with cities such as London having extremely high costs of living compared to Northen cities. Find out the average cost at each university around the country here here.


What is Student Finance England?

Student Finance England provides students with financial support so they can go to university no matter what their financial background is. They offer students the opportunity to get a tuition fee and a maintenance loan.

What is a tuition fee loan?

Regardless of your financial background everyone can get the full tuition fee loan from Student Finance to pay university tuition fees. This is paid directly to your university in three instalments each year. Fees are currently between £9000 and £9250 a year.

What is a maintenance loan?

Student Finance offer students a maintenance loan to cover rent and the cost of living. The size of the loan is dependent on your parent’s income, as it is assumed that your parents will help support you throughout university. The loan amount also varies depending on if you’ll be living at home or away. You can also get a larger loan if you’re studying in London due to the higher standard of living.

If parent support is not an option as you’re estranged from parents you can still get a loan. You’ll be classed as an independent applicant and the assessment depends on your income rather than your parents. Charities such as Stand Alone can provide you with information and help during the application process.

How do I pay the loan back?

The word loan often scares people into thinking they’ll be ‘in debt’, with their credit scores impacted, having to immediately pay back the lump sum straightaway after graduation. However, you don’t start paying any of it back until the April AFTER you graduate. You only repay your loan if you’re earning over £25,725 a year and after 30 years your loan is written off and you don’t have to pay anymore.

The more money you earn, the higher your monthly repayments are. The amount is automatically deducted from your pay check before tax so you don’t have to worry about keeping up with payments. Repayments are quite a small amount each month so work more as a graduate tax. Whilst student loans are completely free to take out there is interest added which will be included in the amount you repay.


What are grants/bursaries?

Grants are non-repayable sums of money awarded by organisations for different reasons. Universities and charities offer means-tested grants for students from lower income families. Private companies also offer grants and bursaries to students for all sorts of things, from the standard good grades grant, to grant for having the surname Graham!

What are scholarships?

Scholarships are a form of cash gift that’s non-repayable. Universities offer students scholarships for academic achievement in A-Levels/IB results throughout their time at university. Most scholarships require students to apply BEFORE receiving their A-Level results, so as soon as you've picked that university as your firm choice apply for a scholarship - you never know what your grades are going to be.

How else can I finance university?

Most courses will leave students with enough time to get a part-time job in their union or university town. Universities will have their own job websites and offer advice to help students get a job.