Olivia Taylor

Our Guide to University Finance

It is natural to feel worried or apprehensive about finances before starting but there is plenty of support. Some people worry about loans and debt. This is our guide explaining finances and loans for university. 

The first thing to say is that university is expensive and shouldn’t be something you rush into. It is an investment in your future and you need to be sure that you want to invest both your money and time into a degree. However, there is support in place so that everyone – should they want to – can afford to get an undergraduate degree. 

How do student loans work? 

For all UK students, Student Finance England provide loans to cover “tuition” and “maintenance”. Everyone gets a full “tution” loan that goes straight to the university, most often £9,250 a year, to cover your course costs. The other loan “maintenance” is means-tested which means that everyone gets a different amount based on family income, if they are staying at home for university and if they live inside/outside of London. 

There are also other financial support – lots of universities offer bursaries (money you don’t need to pay back) based on need or scholarships (also money you don’t need to pay back) based on academic success.

It’s also very common for students to have part time jobs or tutor while studying.   

How and when do I have to pay my loans back?

Student loans aren’t like other loans. It isn’t like typical debt. You pay back your loan at a rate of 9% on anything you earn over £25,000. That means if you earn £25,100 a year you pay £9. The money just gets taken out of your paycheck. If you earn £24,999 or below, you pay nothing. The debt gets cleared after 30 years if you didn’t pay it. 

What if I run out of money?

If you really get into financial hardship while at university through no fault of your own, there will be hardship grants and loans available to access through you university to help you out.