One of the biggest things you’ll need to sort before you start a Bachelor’s degree or other undergraduate course is how to fund your studies.
Your loan will help pay your tuition fees and living costs. But there are lots of factors to consider when applying for student finance and it will be up to you to find out how this will affect your eligibility.
Remember, you can always speak to a university directly for advice if you need help or have any questions, but we’re here to ease your worries about what type of funding is available, who’s eligible, how to apply, how any loan is repaid and all the key deadlines.
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2 main types of loans
There are 2 main types of loan you can borrow from the government – the tuition fee loan and a maintenance loan.
Tuition fee loan
Tuition fee loans are there to pay for your course. They cover the cost of your course, including academic staff, access to the library and course facilities. Fees are £9,250 a year (as of September 2021).
Every student, no matter what your background, is entitled to borrow the full amount. This money is paid directly from student finance to the university you are going to, meaning you won’t see this money in your bank account.
Maintenance fee loan
Maintenance loans are there to help you with everyday living costs such as buying food, paying for your accommodation and bills, social life and travel. This money is paid directly from the student loans company into your bank account in 3 instalments.
You're in charge – it’s your responsibility to manage this money wisely. The amount you receive for your maintenance loan does depend on your household income. Here are some useful money saving tips.
There’s an eligibility criteria
Not everyone can have student finance. Qualifying factors for things like student loans, bursaries and scholarships depend on your age, where you live, your household income and your personal circumstances. Find out more about eligibility.
How to apply for your student loan
If you're a student from England, apply for your loan on the Student Finance England website – all the steps are outlined. If you're from Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, apply through your home government and if you're from Jersey, Guernsey or the Isle of Man, contact your local education authority.
You may be required to send copies of documents off to your local authority for it to be assessed. If you are asked to do this, do it as soon as possible in order to avoid missing the deadline.
When to apply for your loans
You can apply for student loans and other student finance in the spring before the start of your course. Don't wait until you get an offer or receive your exam results – apply as soon as you can.
Remember – you'll need to re-apply before the start of each academic year, not just before your first year at uni.
Scholarships and bursaries
You may be able to partly or fully fund the costs of your study with a bursary or scholarship. You can usually use these alongside student loans and you don’t have to pay them back.
But they're competitive pots of money. After applying for one, you'll be in competition against other applicants before being awarded it. You'll need to match a certain criteria to be entitled one, such as coming from a low income family or excelling at music, sport or a particular subject. Some courses will have additional support, such as the NHS courses. Find out more about scholarships and bursaries.
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Don't let the cost of uni put you off the experience of a life time. Find out how repayment works when you've finished studying and start your new career.
More student finance support
- Student loans guide
- Tuition fees and living costs
- Cost of living in UK cities
- Finance and money support