A guide to student finance at university, made simple.
What types of loans and fees are there?
For starters, your university will charge you a set amount for your lectures, seminars and university provisions. These are called tuition fees.
If you’re from England, these fees range from £9,000- £9,250 a year. These fees are set for any institution you chose to study in across the whole of the UK and is the same for Scottish students who move outside of Scotland for university. Those students who choose to stay and study in Scotland will do so, free of charge. Same kind of rule if you are Welsh, although studying in Wales isn’t free, it is half the price of studying anywhere else in the UK, meaning you’ll have a bit more pocket money when repaying your loan than your English pals.
These fees are set within the UK, so unless you’re from Wales or Scotland looking for a deal by staying in your home country, you have to just suck it up. If you’re ok with going a bit further a field, some European uni’s offer free or cheapened tuition. It’s true that post-Brexit Britain means that UK students may have to dig a bit deeper into those pockets for international fees, but for now, it could be your last chance to jump on those reduced raced before the laws change.
Tuition fees will be paid directly to your university, so you don’t have to worry about scheduling in your payments. It’s the bulk of what you have to pay off but you’ll never see a penny of it in your bank account (which is much better than having the temptation to spend it).
The stuff you need to survive – y’know shelter, food, heat, VK’s etc – these will all be covered by your maintenance loan. This loan should cover the bulk of your rent, and if you’re fortunate enough to be studying somewhere the cost of living isn’t extortionate, it should be enough for bills and your food. If you are from a low income family, check out online information regarding additional grants or loans you are entitled to.
With bills, and the calling of a ‘but it’ll be so fun’ night out, seemingly being thrown at you left right and centre, chances are you’ll likely need extra dolla’. Definitely consider a part time job if your parents can’t support you with bonus cash. There are loads of flexible options when you are at uni, from part time supermarket shifts, to club promotion – find something that suits your busy lifestyle. Most universities will give you access to a job shop (or similar) to help you find some part time work.
How do I apply? Am I eligible?
If you are a first time student, you will be eligible for student finance. Simply visit the student finance website and complete the application process. If you are from England, apply via Student Finance England, regardless of if you are studying in Scotland or Wales. You must apply for the finance from your home country for all fees.
Loans are paid in at the beginning of each term, and there are three instalments throughout the year. This is where your willpower is put to the test since it’s up to you to make it last the rest of the term. If you are unsure of the best way to work out how much money you have to spend, make a budget book taking note of all of your rent and bills payments, then you will be able to see exactly how much you have left over to spend at the SU each week.
Do I need to get a job?
Tuition fees, as already mentioned, will be paid directly to your university, while the maintenance loan will come to you. You don’t have to take out a maintenance loan, but you’ll have to have a big savings account and probably a job throughout university to keep yourself afloat. And, uni is a lot more fun with extra cash. Remember, work hard, party hard, make friends and take full advantage of the educational resources you pay so much for, e.g. attend the occasional lecture. If you can, fit in a part time job around that, to remind you why you want to go to university.
After you graduate: repayments.
Both loans, tuition and maintenance, are added together to give the total amount that you’ll need to repay. It’s hard to note one total amount as there are so many variations of the end cost. However, typically an English student on a three-year course who lives outside of London is looking to graduate with around £35,000-40,000 in student loans. Yeeesh, yep. That’s a whole lot of money.
But don’t panic about making those repayments as soon as your take your graduation cap off… You aren’t expected to pay back any of your loan until you’re earning £21,000+, so if you never earn over that, you’ll never pay back your loan.
To keep it simple, here are how the repayments work: If you’re earning below £21,000, you won’t pay anything back yet. When you start earning up to £25,000 you’ll pay back roughly £360 a year, that’s approximately £7 a week. If you’re earning £30,000 + you’ll be jumped up to the higher payment of £804 a year, roughly £15.50 a week.
After 30 years, all remaining debt gets wiped, so unless you’re earning BIG money, most people will never pay back the full amount. It also will not affect your ability to get a mortgage in the future.
Student debt comes off in the same way that tax does, so you will never actually see it come out of your account. However, if you earn above a certain tax bracket, you will have to pay more tax and student debt every month. Income doesn’t just refer to salary. It refers to any taxable income you may have, such an interest on savings accounts and some additional job perks.
Student debt does not affect your credit rating, but might ever so slightly affect your ability to get a mortgage simply in the fact that you’re taking home a bit less money every month.
Lastly, try not to fret about the student debt you stack up throughout your years of studying. Hundreds of thousands of students are in the same position. Ultimately, the prestige of achieving a good degree should pay off, and you won’t look back.
Once you’ve sorted out your student finance you need to begin the hunt for your accommodation! Check out our available properties HERE and see what takes your fancy…