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A bit about student finance

It’s very normal to have worries about the financial cost of going to university. Most students don’t have savings to help pay for their time at university, and so rely on student loans. Please note that the information below is for UK students attending a UK university.

Student loans help make sure that financial reasons don’t restrict anyone’s access to university. Student Finance and costs do change on a fairly regular basis, so make sure that you keep up to date with any government changes with regards to tuition and funding. Also, it’s worth taking note that there are slight regional differences. Keep up to date with Student Finance England, Student Finance Wales, Northern Ireland or Student Awards Agency Scotland.

Government loans are split into two main categories:

  1. Tuition Fees Loan
  2. Maintenance Loan

The current maximum amount a full-time course can cost at a UK university is currently £9,250 per year. All of this can be covered by the Tuition Fee Loan, which is easy to apply for, not based on parental earnings, and will be paid directly to your chosen institution, once a final decision has been made.

You also need to consider living costs. This means paying for accommodation, bills, travel expenses, food, and other everyday things while studying. To help cover these costs, the Maintenance Loan exists. The amount you can apply for does depend on two things:

  1. Where you choose to go to university - for example, those who choose to live in London will be able to apply for slightly more money than those living elsewhere in the UK because of the higher living costs. Similarly, if you choose to live at home rather than moving away to university you’ll be eligible for slightly less money because living costs are likely to be slightly lower.
  2. Household income - everyone eligible for student finance will be able to get some of the Maintenance loans but it is also partially based on household income.

This Maintenance loan is paid directly into your bank account on a termly basis, and it’s up to you to manage this money to make sure that it covers your costs until their next instalment. You can find out more about the Maintenance loan on the Student Finance website.

Scholarships, grants and bursaries

Sometimes, universities are able to offer scholarships, grants and bursaries for certain students on certain courses. These do not have to be repaid and can be used to help with living costs.

Scholarships can be given to students who achieve exceptional exam results or if they perform exceptionally in certain sports or music. Some of these are automatically given but others may need to be applied for.

Bursaries are often given because of familial circumstance, such as coming from a low-income background may mean eligibility for extra money from a preferred university. It’s worth investigating whether additional money is available, and information about this will be on the individual university websites. Universities will usually use information from your student finance application form to assess whether someone eligible so it is important on the application that you consent to share information.

For students who have a disability, there may be extra funding available, so it’s worth investigating eligibility on the relevant Student Finance website.

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This article is from the free online course:

Live Smart: Your Essential Guide to Living at University

University of Reading