Student finance – how much can I borrow?
By Lois Looker,
Before starting university, it is essential that you know how you will fund your education and living expenses and just how much you will have to pay back. This can vary in every country, even within the UK, but we have set up this handy guide to help simplify it all for you as a quick and easy guide to exactly how much you can borrow as a university student within the UK. Fees and repayment methods are subject to change every year, so use the links that we provide to ensure that you know all of the facts.
Tuition Fee Loans
Tuition fees are the fees that you pay your university for your tuition. Every university can charge different amounts, but the maximum amount they can charge is £9,000 a year. You need to apply for this before the start of each academic year otherwise you could be liable to pay your tuition fees yourself.
- If you are living and studying in Ireland then you can borrow up to £3,575 a year. You can borrow £9,000 if you are from Northern Ireland but studying in England, Wales or Scotland
- If you live in Scotland and study in Scotland, then your fees are paid for you. Your fees each year will be £1,820 and you must still apply to SAAS for these to be paid for you here; http://www.saas.gov.uk/index.htm
England and Wales
- If you are from either England or Wales and studying within the UK, then you can borrow up to £9,000 a year
- If you don’t know what your fees are, then you can check on our university search or course search where we have fess for each uni and course.
Maintenance Fee Loans
Maintenance fees are what you borrow to cover all other expenses outside of tuition such as rent, food bills, insurance etc. They must be repaid at the end of your degree and can be applied for at any time, although it is recommended that you apply for these before the start of the academic year along with your tuition fees otherwise you might find you start university without any finance.
- If you are living at home, you can borrow up to £4,375
- If you study in London, you can borrow up to £7,675
- If you study out of London, you can borrow up to £5,500
- You can find out about how to apply here; https://www.gov.uk/student-finance/loans-and-grants
- If you live in Scotland, you can apply for a student loan through SAAS. You can borrow up to £5,500 if your household income is between £0 - £33,999 and £4,500 if your household income is £34,000 and above
- You can find out about how to apply here; http://www.saas.gov.uk/
- If you study at home and live with your parents, you can borrow up to £3,987
- If you study in London and live in your own home, you can borrow up to £7,215
- If you study outside of London and live in your own home, you can borrow up to £5,150
- You can find out about how to apply here; http://www.studentfinancewales.co.uk/portal/page?_pageid=616,6201200&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL
- If you study at home and live with your parents, then you can borrow up to £3,750
- If you study in London and live in your own home, you can borrow up to £6,780
- If you study outside of London and live in your own home, you can borrow up to £4,840
- You can find out about how to apply here; http://www.studentfinanceni.co.uk/portal/page?_pageid=54,1266217&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL#section1
A bursary is money that you are given if your household income is under a certain amount. You must still apply for this and will have to provide proof of your household income and you do not have to repay any bursary money that you receive during the course of your degree. You can apply for these at any time but it is advised that you do this before the start of the academic year. If you apply at a later stage, then you will be paid a back-dated bursary for what you were owed.
- You are entitled to a bursary if your household income is less than £34,000 per year
- If you only live with one parent/guardian, then they will only take into account the income of the parent/guardian that you live with
- You can claim a bursary on top of a maintenance loan and your tuition fees
England, Wales and Northern Ireland
- You may be able to apply for a bursary from your university if you live in a lower-income household
A grant is often also based on your household income but special grants can be given by universities if you apply based on monetary hardships or if you show exceptional talent. Again, you do not have to repay any grant money that you receive during the course of your degree. You must apply for this before the academic year and you must contact the funding department of your university about this. It is likely that you will see advertisements made about the availability of grants within your university.
- You can calculate how much you are entitled to for a maintenance grant if you live and study in England here; https://www.gov.uk/student-finance-calculator/y
- You can apply for a part-time fee grant if your household income is less than £25,000 and you live and study in Scotland
- If your household income is £18,370 or below you can claim a Full Grant of £5,161
- If your household income is between £18,371 and £50,020 then you can claim a Partial Grant
- If your household income is over £50,020, then you cannot apply
- If your household income is £19,203 or below then you can claim a Full Grant of £3,475
- If your household income is between £19,204 and £41,065 then you can claim a Partial Grant
- If your household income is over £41,065, then you cannot apply
Repaying your student loan
At the end of your degree, you must pay back your tuition and maintenance loans. When and how much you pay back depends on how much you earn upon graduating from university. You repay your loans to who you borrowed from and they will contact you upon graduating to discuss your repayment methods.
England and Wales
- If you are studying in England or Wales then you do not have to start repaying your loans until you are earning over £21,000 at which time you pay 9% of that income towards your debt each month i.e. if you earn £25,000 per year you pay £30 each month
- If you are studying in Scotland then you do not have to start repaying your loans until you are earning £16,365 upon graduating
- If you are studying in Northern Ireland and you started studying before 1st September 2012, then you do not start repaying your loans until you are earning £15,795 per year, or above. If you started studying after 1st September 2012, then you start repaying your loans when you earn £21,000 per year or above