How much are uni fees?
What’s student finance?
Tuition fee loans
Bursaries and scholarships
Student bank accounts
Managing your money
It's one of the most important questions students have when deciding to go to university.
Here’s a breakdown of what you can expect to pay per year for your undergraduate course in the UK (fees are correct for the 2022/2023 academic year but can vary depending on the course):
UK Undergraduate Tutition Fees 2022/2023
Planning to study in...
Source: g ov.uk
Student finance refers to the money you borrow to help with the cost of your university or college fees and your living costs. With universities charging up to £9,250 a year for an undergraduate course, most students end up applying for it.
Most students also apply for student finance to help with accommodation costs and living expenses.
The University of Manchester estimates living costs for students to be around
£10,330 per year. The average living costs per year can be even more expensive for places such as London. UCL estimates living costs to be £13,364 - £15,184, depending on whether you’re living in halls or private accommodation.
What’s a tuition fee loan?
A loan that helps you pay for the full tuition fees charged by your university. The loan is paid directly to the university.
Do you need a tuition fee loan?
This’ll depend on your financial situation. Taking out a tuition fee loan is very common and recommended for most students. You don’t have to pay back a tuition fee loan until after your course and when you’re earning a certain amount.
Where to get a tuition fee loan
You can apply for a tuition fee loan through your country’s government body. The student finance companies within the UK are:
How much tuition fee loan can you get?
This’ll depend on whether you’re applying for finance in England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland. It’ll also depend on whether you’re studying full-time or part-time.
Full-time students can apply for a maximum of £9,250 and part-time students can apply for a maximum of £6,935 to cover tuition fees. Those choosing to study accelerated two-year degrees will be able to apply for a maximum of £11,100.
Full-time students studying at a public university or college in Wales can apply for a tuition fee loan of up to £9,000. If you’re a Welsh student studying in England, Scotland or Northern Ireland, you can get a loan of up to £9,250. Part-time students can apply for a maximum of £6,935 to cover tuition fees across the UK.
Full-time students from Scotland don’t have to pay tuition fees. Those who want to study elsewhere in the UK can get a loan of up to £9,250 to cover fees. The SAAS doesn't offer part-time students a tuition fee loan. Part-time students with an individual income of up to £25,000 per year can apply for a fee grant, which should cover the full cost of fees. The amount you get depends on your course.
Full-time students can apply for a maximum of £4,395 for courses in Northern Ireland and £9,250 for courses across the UK. Part-time students can apply for a maximum loan of £3,296.25. This will cover the cost of part-time courses in Northern Ireland, but you may need to cover the rest of the fee amount if you choose to study part-time elsewhere in the UK.
When does the tuition fee loan come in?
Your student finance company will pay your tuition fee loan directly to the university. This is done once you’ve applied for student finance and have confirmed your place on a course.
When do you start paying back your tuition fee loan?
This’ll depend on how much you earn in your first job after you graduate and which government you borrowed money from.
Repaying your loan will depend on which repayment plan you're on. Find out which of the four plans you're on
here. You’ll be eligible to start repaying your loan from the April after you’ve finished your course, but only if you’re earning over £27,295 per year (before tax). The government will take 9% of anything you earn over £27,295 from your salary.
For example, if you earn £31,000 per year, or £2,583 per month before tax, you'll only pay £39.60 per month in loan repayments. That's because you’re earning £440 more per month than the threshold, and 9% of £440 is £39.60.
If you become unemployed or start earning less than the threshold, you’ll stop making loan repayments.
You’re expected to pay back the full amount of your loan, plus interest. If after 30 years you haven’t paid it all back, your loan debt is written off.
Welsh students won’t have to repay their tuition fee loan until they’re earning over £25,725 per year (before tax). The amount repaid each year is based on income rather than the amount owed. Full-time students will start repaying their loan from the April after they’ve finished their course. The repayment will be 9% of their income once over the repayment threshold.
The current threshold for having to repay your loan to the Scottish government is £25,000 per year (before tax). You'll be expected to pay 9% of any income over £25,000. You’ll start to make repayments from the April after you’ve graduated.
The current repayment threshold for students from Northern Ireland is £19,390 per year (before tax). Repayments start from 6th April after you graduate, provided you meet the repayment threshold.
When to apply for a tuition fee loan
If your course starts between 1st August and 31st December, you must apply for student finance by 31st May after your course start date.
You can apply for a tuition fee loan up to nine months after the start of your course.
You’ll need to apply by 30th June for your tuition fee loan. You can apply after this date, but do it as soon as you have a confirmed place on a course. This’ll mean you get your student loan on time.
The deadline to apply for a tuition fee loan was 15th April for new students. For returning students, it’s 25th June. You can still apply for a tuition fee loan after these dates but it’s important you do it as soon as your place on the course is confirmed.
Note that applications can take up to six weeks to be processed, which is why it’s best to apply as early as possible. You don’t need to have chosen which university you want to go to before you apply.
How to apply for tuition fee loans
Apply for your tuition fee loan online through your country’s student finance company. You'll need to provide proof of your identity (either your passport or your birth certificate) and details of your household income (how much your mum and/or dad earn).
You’ll also need to include your course start date and end date (if known, otherwise you can update later), bank account details and National Insurance (NI) number. If you don’t know your NI number, you can find it on the
Your parents will need to confirm that your household income details are correct. They'll be sent an email after you've begun your application with a link to submit their details.
You’ll need to reapply each year for a tuition fee loan.
What’s a maintenance loan?
A loan to help with living costs at university. These include your rent, food, books, equipment and other living essentials.
How much maintenance loan can you get?
This’ll depend on whether you live in England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland.
Student Finance England decides how much maintenance loan to give to you based on factors such as where you study, where you’re living and how your course is structured:
England Maintenance Loan Table
2022/23 academic year
Living at home
Up to £8,171
Living away from home, outside London
Up to £9,706
Living away from home, in London
Up to £12,667
You spend a year of a UK course studying abroad
Up to £11,116
This maintenance loan is paid directly into your bank account in three instalments per year, one at the start of each term. You have to pay this maintenance loan back once you’re earning above a certain amount.
How much maintenance funding is available to you will depend on whether you’re living at home and where. Students living at home can get up to £8,790 in maintenance funding. Students living away from home but not in London are eligible for up to £10,350. Those in London can get up to £12,390.
The maintenance funding you get is split into two parts: a maintenance loan that’s repayable and a maintenance grant that’s not repayable. How much of your overall maintenance funding is repayable or not is worked out using your parents’ household income. You can find more information on what you could get on the
Student Finance Wales website.
The SAAS provides a mix of repayable loans and non-repayable bursaries, which are again means-tested using either your own or your parents’ income. This table shows the amount of bursary and student loan you can apply for based on your household income:
Scotland Bursary and Loan Table
£0 to £20,999
£21,000 to £23,999
£24,000 to £33,999
£34,000 and above
You can apply for a Student Loan for Maintenance of up to £6,780 depending on where you choose to study in the UK. This loan is repayable. You can also get a maintenance grant of up to £3,475 depending on your household income, which doesn’t have to be paid back.
You can find more information on maintenance loans in Northern Ireland on the
Student Finance Northern Ireland website.
When do you get your maintenance loan?
Your maintenance loan is paid directly into your bank account in three instalments over the academic year. Check your relevant student finance website for confirmation.
When do you pay back your maintenance loan?
You pay your maintenance loan back at the same time and under the same terms as your tuition fee loan.
How to apply for maintenance loans
You’ll apply for a maintenance loan in the same way as you would for a tuition fee loan. Your application will be made online through your country’s student finance website. Make sure you have with you proof of identity, details of your household income, your NI number and your bank account details.
Each year you’ll have to reapply for your maintenance loan.
For more information on tuition fee loans and maintenance loans, check out this video from the
Money Saving Expert, Martin Lewis:
What’s a student grant?
Funding provided by the government for those eligible based on a set of criteria. Student grants can also be provided by a business, council or charity.
Who’s eligible for a student grant?
This'll depend on the conditions of the grant. There are grants to help students whose parents earn less than a certain amount, such as an Adult Dependants’ Grant, or for those studying a particular subject, such as a Postgraduate Doctoral Loan.
What grants are available for students?
There are many student grants. What’s available depends on which student finance company you’re applying through, your personal circumstances and what you study.
If you’re a student with dependent children, you can get a grant to help with living costs. There's extra support if you have a disability, long-term mental illness or a specific learning difficulty (like dyslexia).
There are also grants and bursaries available for
nursing students (through the NHS), as well as those studying teaching and social work. You can even apply for a travel grant if you plan to study overseas for a year.
You can find out more details on what’s available and if you’re eligible on your government's student finance website.
How much student grant do you get?
This’ll depend on your household income, personal circumstances and what you study. These grants are paid on top of your tuition fee and maintenance loans.
When are student grants paid?
Grants are often paid directly into your bank account.
When will you have to pay back your student grant?
You don’t have to pay back your student grant.
Most universities and student finance companies offer bursaries and scholarships to help fund your way through university. These are awarded based on a set of specific criteria, such as academic achievement or support for students in need. They don’t need to be paid back.
You can check if your chosen university offers any scholarships on their profile pages when you
search for a university. The amount of funding offered, and application deadlines will vary from uni to uni.
What’s a student bank account?
Many banks throughout the UK offer special accounts only available to students. This will typically involve a 0% overdraft, which means you’ll have access to an overdraft without any sneaky interest charges. Some banks will offer you the same overdraft amount for each year you’re at university, while others will increase the amount you’re entitled to year on year.
Why do you need a student bank account?
A student bank account with an interest-free overdraft is a useful addition to your university funding. It can be difficult to fund your time at university without support, and often your maintenance loan might not be enough to cover the costs of living.
“While we don’t encourage students to get into debt with an overdraft and it shouldn’t form part of their budget, interest-free overdrafts can be useful to cover unexpected expenditure,” says Peter Dunn, former Head of Communications at the University of Warwick.
A major mistake people often make is relying on their overdraft as a safety net. In reality, it's anything but. Know exactly what key terms and conditions you’re about to sign up for before opening a student account, otherwise you might find that those extra little indulgences bring a flood of bank fees you didn’t expect.
How to open a student bank account
You’ll need to be over 18 to open a student bank account. Most banks will ask you for the following when you apply:
Proof of ID (passport, driving license or birth certificate)
Proof of address (a letter or bill addressed to you)
Proof of your unconditional acceptance to a university in the UK (your UCAS letter or a letter addressed to you from your university)
This isn’t an exhaustive list. Check with the bank you’re intending to open an account with before you begin the application process.
When should you apply for a student bank account?
Set up a student bank account before you apply for any student loan. Any maintenance loan, grants, bursaries or scholarships you’re entitled to will be paid directly into the account you’ve listed on your student loan application form, so it’s wise to set up your account beforehand.
How to choose a student bank account
The decision comes down to you and your personal preferences. Many students open an account with the bank their family uses, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be getting the best deal. Thoroughly research what different banks offer before deciding.
You should be smart with how you manage your money while at university. Many universities offer money management advice to help you with this and to ensure you have enough money to last you through the year.
Budget, budget, budget
The first challenge is dealing with the chunk of loan money that will land in your account in September. You’ll need to know how to make it last throughout the university year. This is where creating a weekly or monthly budget comes in handy.
Start by removing the cost of your weekly rent and seeing how much you have left. Then map out what you need for your basic necessities such as food, clothes and general expenses. You can allocate any money you have left over to your savings or to be used in case of emergency.
Any kind of paid work is worth doing either while you’re at university or during the uni holidays. Working won’t only give your bank account a much-needed boost, but it can also improve your CV for future employment.
Most universities have a dedicated job service to help students find employment during term time. Be sure to have a look on your university’s website as to what job services they offer, or even reach out to any of your lecturers to see whether they can offer any part-time work in the field you’re studying.
Be a savvy shopper
To manage your money, be considerate with how you spend it.
When it comes to groceries, go for cheap, healthy meals that don’t need many ingredients. Buying plenty of fruit and veg is a great way to eat cheap but also healthy. Also consider bulk-buying food and freezing it, to make sure you’re always stocked up.
Look for student offers when it comes to clothes shopping or going out for a meal. Your student card will automatically qualify you for discounts on certain items, while a
Totum card will give you access to more discounts. There are also plenty of voucher websites you can use to get a good discount such as Student Beans or UNiDAYS.
If you’re a home bunny, remember to book your rail tickets a week or two in advance. This way you’ll avoid paying more than if you were to wait until closer to the time. Try out the Megabus too for a cheaper option.
These are just a few hints and tips to get you started with managing your finances. There are countless ways to make your money go further. You can read more about funding your studies in the
Whatuni student advice hub.
Common Myths About Student Loans
What To Do If You Run Out of Money at University
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