All your questions on student finance, answered.

We partnered up with Next Steps South West to answer your questions on student finance. 

What's the best way to pay for higher eduction?

The best way to fund higher education is with a Student Loan, compared to some other loans it has a favourable rate of interest/repayment, the interest rate you pay depends on your income – you can get up-to-date information at:

Everyone is entitled to a Tuition Fee Loan that goes straight to the university/ college at which you choose to study. Additionally you can apply for a Maintenance Loan to cover your living costs. Both loans are applied for and received annually, and are repaid at a later date. 

How and when do I apply for a student loan? 

Student Finance England provides Student Loans; you can calculate how much you could be entitled to receive by visiting calculator.

First time applicants should submit their finance applications by 31st May, and for continuing students, by 30th June.

What information do I need to apply for a loan? 

Loan applications are completed online.

You’ll need your UCAS (The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service –
an organisation that supports the application process) application number. Details of the course you’ll be studying i.e. what, where and when. You will

also need to supply your bank details and you’ll need to give the names of those supporting your application (aka your parent(s)/guardian(s). They will be contacted separately and asked what the household income is (the amount of Maintenance Loan you receive is based on this) - it’s a good idea to tell whoever it is to have their P60 handy (proof of annual earnings/tax paid). 

What's a maintenance loan and what does it cover?

The Maintenance Loan covers your living expenses e.g. accommodation, bills, TV licence, food and toiletries, travel, course equipment/expenses e.g. field trips, social activities. How much you receive depends on your household income. If you intend to live away from home, you will receive a little more, if this is in London then this will increase further.

Does all higher education cost the same? regardless of where and what I study? 

The upper most cost of annual tuition fees is currently £9250, for a full-time degree; however, you might want to consider looking at colleges rather than universities, as their fees may be lower. The cost of other higher education courses such as HNCs and HNDs will vary according to the institution. Apprenticeships by definition are different again and you will be required to study whilst you work.

How and when do I repay my loans? 

Currently your loans are paid back when your annual earnings are over £21,000. This is set to rise to £25,000 in April 2018, according to latest government information. You repay 9% of anything you earn over this threshold, if you are an employee this is calculated for you and automatically removed from your pay before tax, e.g. currently if you earn £24,000 per year you will pay 9% on £3,000 = £270, spread over 12 months this works out at £22.50 per month. If your pay decreases or you stop working your payments is adjusted accordingly. 

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Can I apply for student finance before my course place has been confirmed? 

Yes you can, it’s best to use the details of the course you’re most likely to study. You can update them online if the information you provided changes. 

Is there other financial support available?

Yes, here are some examples of schemes you may be eligible for:

  • Disabled Students’ Allowance DSA (Covers physical, mental and learning difficulties, including mental health conditions, progressive medical conditions and specific allergies). Apply directly to Student Finance England. 

  • Care Leavers bursary

  • Means-tested bursary

  • Course and placement bursaries

  • Estranged young people support

  • Unite scholarships for accommodation

  • Subject-specific scholarships

  • Sporting and Music Excellence scholarships

  • After enrolling on your course- Financial Support Fund from the institution

What steps can I take to reduce financial stress now and whilst studying?

  • Get a part-time job
  • Learn to budget
  • Buy second hand
  • Get an NUS card and join other loyalty schemes
  • Look into bank accounts specifically for students 

For more support visit the website:




Emily Baulf