Your financial position will determine what type of loan your son or daughter will need. You may require a Tuition Fee Loan to cover the cost of the yearly tuition fees, a Maintenance Fee Loan to cover the cost of living expenses. Or, you might need both loans to afford the costs of university.
Different Types of Loans
Tuition Fee Loans
What: Covers the yearly university tuition fees.
How much: Up to £9,250 per year - this is the maximum a course will cost. The cost of each course will vary according to the university.
How is it paid: In three instalments, directly to the course provider.
What am I eligible for?
This will depend on where you live in the UK and Ireland. Scottish students don’t pay any fees. Welsh students applying to study in the UK can apply for a Tuition Fee grant which doesn’t have to be repaid. Northern Irish students pay up to £3,805 of their fees if they study in Northern Ireland.
How to apply for a Tuition Fee Loan
The site you’ll apply through will depend on where you live.
What: Maintenance Loans cover living costs, including accommodation, food, travel and study materials.
How much: Full-time students will be eligible for a loan of up to £8,200.
How is it paid: The student will receive money at the beginning of each term (monthly in Scotland), paid directly into their bank account.
How much am I eligible for? This depends on your household income, the university, where the student lives and how long they will live there.
Student studying outside London (household income – £ per annum) (Table from UCAS)
8,200 (maximum loan)
3,821 (minimum loan)
Maintenance Grants and Special Support Grants are no longer available for students. Whereas previously this loan took the form of a non-repayable grant, it will now need to be paid back once the student graduates (and earns more than £25,000 PA).
Applying for Student Loans
Make sure you plan ahead to ensure your child receives the money on time - it can take up to six weeks to process student finance applications. So apply early, even if your son/daughter has a conditional offer – you can amend or cancel your application if anything changes.
You can apply for your loan through Student Finance England.
When you submit the application, you’ll need the following three bits of information:
National Insurance Number
Up-to-date bank details
You’ll also need to sign and return a declaration form, if you apply online. Then you’ll need to register at the university who will confirm the student’s attendance with Student Finance England (they can’t pay out until this is done).
Paying the Loan Back
The Tuition Fee Loan and Maintenance Fee Loan are both paid back in the same way. They don’t have to be paid back until the student graduates and only when they start earning over £25,000 (£16.910 in Scotland, £16,365 in Northern Ireland).
9% of the amount they earn over £25,000 is then taken each year to pay back the loan. This is taken directly from their pay each month. If they lose their job, or sink below £25,000 in earnings, the repayments stop.
Bursaries and Scholarships
University Bursaries and Scholarships
A bursary or scholarship can be paid out by the university to help your son or daughter with their studies. This support would be in addition to any loans and does not need to be paid back. A bursary is usually based on household income, whereas a scholarship is usually based on merit, for example sporting achievement.
The amount offered will vary for each university.
Is my child eligible?
All universities will offer bursaries for low-income families - but this is not to say you’ll automatically get it as limited funds are available each year. Each university will have different criteria to determine who receives the support. If you don’t succeed through the university, try reaching out to your local council. Their current school may also know about local charities that offer support.
NHS Bursary, Grants and Funding
The NHS can provide financial support for those studying
social care, medicine, dentistry or healthcare.
£1,000 NHS grant and £4,395 NHS bursary (more for those studying in London). This is in addition to a maintenance loan from Student Finance.
What am I eligible for?
The amount received depends on where you live, where you study, whether the student lives at home or away, study hours per week, and household income.
Visit the NHS website to apply
Teacher Training Funding
Training teachers should research the possibilities of claiming extra financial support. This will depend on the type of training programme, the degree/teaching subject, where the student lives, where they’ll study and their personal circumstances. You can find out more on the
Department for Education's website.
Social Work Funding
Students studying social work should look into the bursaries available. A bursary in social work won’t depend on household income rather where you live and where you’ll be studying. You can find out more on
the NHS website.
Disabled Students’ Allowances
If your son/daughter has a disability or specific learning difficulty, they may be eligible for Disabled Students' Allowances (DSAs). These allowances cover extra disability-related costs or expenses they will incur while studying.
What am I eligible for?
How much you receive will completely depend on the needs of each individual. There are four allowances to cover four different areas of need:
Specialist equipment allowance
Non-medical helper’s allowance
General and other expenditure allowance
How to apply:
The website that you apply through will vary according to the area that you live in.
England (They can apply at the same time as making their online UCAS application)
Scotland Northern Ireland: Your regional Education Authority
Now time to help your child with their application! - good luck! For more information on student support, visit our advice pages.