Student Finance Centre
Student Finance Myth Buster (Frequently Asked Questions)
Debt and Costs
I'm already in debt from my first year at university. The additional charge for tuition means I won't be able to complete my degree...
The increase in the cost of tuition does not apply to existing students. It only applies to students entering higher education for the first time in September 2012 or later.
The changes to higher education funding mean I can no longer afford to go to university...
It's important to remember that the cost of tuition does not have to be paid up front. You only start to repay your tuition loan when you are earning more than £21,000. Support – in the form of loans or grants - is also available to help cover living costs. This means that under the new arrangements, most full-time students should have the same amount of financial support available as current students. Students from lower income families will get more non-repayable maintenance grant support to help towards living costs than they do now.
I'm worried that I'm going to take on a lifetime of debt as a result of the changes...
A graduate earning £25,000 per year would repay their loan at a rate of £6.92 per week. If earnings fall, then the repayments will fall as well. Graduates won't have to pay back anything until they are earning more than £21,000 a year. The £21,000 earning threshold will be uprated annually in line with earnings from April 2016. Any outstanding payments will be written off after 30 years. If you are in lower paid work or unpaid work (which may include time bringing up a family) you won't be asked to make a contribution.
I'm an existing student - do the changes affect my repayments?
The current £15,000 earnings threshold remains but it will be uprated annually in line with inflation from April 2012.
I'm a graduate - do the changes affect my repayments?
If you are currently repaying a loan your repayment threshold will rise in line with inflation from April 2012. If you're not sure if this affects you then go to www.studentloanrepayment.co.uk.
There's no point in doing a degree, there are no graduate jobs available.
The current jobs market is a tough one. Having a degree improves a person's chance of getting a job and they will earn more than non-graduates in years to come. Research shows that graduates are more likely to be in a job than those with lower qualifications. On average, a university graduate earns £100,000 more during his or her lifetime – net of tax – than someone who leaves school at 18.
Paying back higher fees means I'll never get a footing on the property ladder...
The Council for Mortgage Lenders advises that a student loan is very unlikely to affect your ability to get a mortgage. Mortgage lenders usually take account of your monthly net income. Under the new scheme, graduates will have a higher monthly income because the increase in the repayment threshold means that they will be making lower monthly repayments on their student loans.
We're paying more, but we're getting nothing in return...
Universities are charging higher fees due to the reduction in the Government teaching grant which was how degrees had previously been funded. The cost of teaching a degree has not changed and there is no additional money available to institutions.
I'm considering doing a part-time degree, but a friend doing a full-time course has told me it isn't worthwhile. Is that true?
Eligible part time students who start their degree from September 2012 will have access to loans for tuition costs and will not have to pay upfront, so long as they as it's their first degree and they are studying for at least 25% of their time. More part-time students will get support under the new system.