University Fees Explained

University fees explained

Confused by university fees?

Here's an easy guide to what you have to pay, and how to pay them with a student loan from the government.

From 2012, tuition fees for English students at UK universities can charge up to £9000 a year for a full time course. Most top universities have chosen to go the upper limit of £9000, leaving most students with the prospect of tuition fee loans of around £27 000 for a three year course or £36 000 for a four year course (four year courses are common in Scotland, whilst most English degrees are three years), and this does not even take into account living costs.

So how does this break down?

The cost of going to university is split into two main sections:

Tuition fees

These are paid by a loan from student finance, directly to the university. This means that it never touches your bank account. This has to be repaid as shown below, however, nobody needs to pay anything up front at all before they start the course.

Living costs

These are dependent on where you go to university, and paid for from two main sources.

Firstly there are maintenance grants (These do not need to be repaid). These are means tested, which means it is a sliding scale base on family income and whether or not you are studying in London. This is put directly into your bank account.

Secondly there is your student loan. This comes from the student loan company and is also put directly into your bank account. This has to be repaid as described below.

In summary:

Loans - These have to be repaid (as shown below).

Grants - You do not, ever, have to pay these back.


Repaying loans

Firstly, loans require no repayment from you until you have finished your course and are earning over £21 000 per year. If you have not paid all your student loan off in 30 years’ time, the remaining loan is scrapped.

The amount you pay back when you are earning over £21 000 is a percentage of the amount you earn over £21 000. For example if you earn £22 000 in a year, you will repay 9% of that £1000 over the £21 000 which is £90. Typically this is taken straight off your monthly wage slip by your employer, along with your tax and national insurance. So this is only £7.50 per month when you are earning £1833.33 per month (without deducting tax and national insurance).

This makes it an extremely safe loan since you don’t have to pay a penny unless you are earning over £21 000, It’s a very small repayment relative to your wage and it requires no money from you until then.

Every effort has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information contained within this article. This information is based upon the latest figures produced by the government at the time of publishing. UniFinder cannot be held liable for its accuracy. Date of publishing: 25/03/2012.