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Student Finance


Cost of Higher Education

Most higher education courses charge tuition fees which are reinvested into the institution providing the course and are used for teaching, facilities and student support. 
The maximum fee an institution can charge is currently £9250 per annum, however this is not fixed and could rise in subsequent years - course fees are dependent on the course type and institution so it is important to check with each course you are considering.

Higher Apprenticeships and Degree Apprenticeships do not charge a tuition fee as this is met by the government and the training provider. Apprenticeships also pay students a fee whilst they are completing it, the minimum pay for an apprentice is £3.50 per hour but apprentices who are over 19 or have completed the first year of their apprenticeship will be paid more.

Student Finance

Although courses charge tuition fees, the cost of higher education neednít be daunting as you donít pay a penny upfront and there is lots of help available. Student Finance England is the organisation who provide student loans across the country, to cover both the cost of tuition and the living costs associated with being a student.

What can I get?

There are two main elements to student finance:

Tuition Fee Loan - This is a loan to cover the cost of tuition and it is paid directly to the university or college you will be studying at. All students are eligible for the full amount of loan to cover their tuition fees should they chose to accept, meaning there is no requirement to pay any money upfront. 

Maintenance Loan - This loan is to cover the living costs associated with studying. This is a means tested loan, therefore the amount you receive will depend on your household income and factors such as whether you live at home or move out to live independently. 

Additional Finance - There is additional finance available for students with disabilities, those with adult or child dependants and those who are married. 

Do I qualify for Student Finance?

To apply for student finance you must 

  • Be a UK national/have settled status 
  • Have lived in the UK for 3 years prior to the first day of the course you will study

There are other criteria that might make you eligible to apply for student finance and these can be viewed on the Student Finance website. 

How to Apply

Apply online for student finance before the deadline (you donít need a confirmed place on a course ñ you can use the details of your first choice of course). If your plans change once you have applied you can log in to your account and change the details.

You can also fill out paper application forms, or call student finance if you want to apply online but cannot use a computer without help. 

Things to have to hand:

  • Proof of identity 
  • Parents/Partners NI number 
  • Sometimes additional documentation is requested 


No repayments are taken until youíve completed or left your course and earn £27,295 per year or over. Repayments are based on what you earn, not what you owe so you arenít penalised for studying longer courses. 
You will repay 9% of any earnings over £27,295. See our worked example below:

Salary= £30,000

9% of £5000= £450 per annum, £37 per month

Annual Salary Repayment
Up to £25,000  £0
£27,000  £15
£30,000  £37
£35,000  £74
£40,000  £112

Interest Rates - Interest is accrued on student finance from the date the first payment is made until the balance is cleared. Interest rates vary and are dependent on what you earn.

Any outstanding amounts are written off 30 years after they became eligible for repayment. 

Bursaries and Scholarships 

Universities and colleges sometimes offer financial help to students who meet certain criteria often in the form of tuition fee discounts or extra monetary awards. These awards are often non-repayable, but you should check what each university and college offers. Sometimes awards are made automatically based on the information you have given on your student finance application, whereas others require separate applications.