Find out what you’re entitled to for support with further study


Student loans are avaliable to help with both tutition fees and costs of living

Money Advice Service

So, you want to go to university or college to study further, but aren’t sure of what the costs might be, and how you can afford them. Student loans are avaliable to help with both tutition fees and the day-to-day costs of living. Find out what you’re entitled to, and how you pay back these loans.

Tuition fee loan

Every university and college will charge a tuition fee for each year that you study there. The amount they charge can vary, and can also depend on where you live and where you want to study. The maximum yearly tuition fees for higher education are shown below.

Maximum yearly tuition fees Where you currently live Location of university or college      
     England  Scotland  Wales  Northern Ireland
  England  Up to £9,000  Up to £9,000  Up to £9,000  Up to £9,000
  Scotland  Up to £9,000 No fee  Up to £9,000  Up to £9,000
  Wales  Up to £9,000  Up to £9,000  Up to £9,000  Up to £9,000
  Northern Ireland  Up to £9,000  Up to £9,000  Up to £9,000  Up to £3,575
  EU Up to £9,000  No fee Up to £9,000  Up to £3,575
  Other international  Variable  Variable  Variable  Variable

 (Source: UCAS, August 2013)

You can get a tuition fee loan, which covers the full cost of your tuition fees, for every year of your studies. The tuition fee is paid direct to the college or university. Remember that previous study might affect your entitlement, so check with your funding agency.

Students from Wales

Students from Wales can apply for a fee loan of £3,575 in 2013/14, with any remaining fees paid through a grant of up to £5,425. (Source: Student Finance Wales, August 2013)

Take a look at the fees different universities charged in the 2012/13 academic year on the BBC website

Maintenance loan

On top of tuition fees there are a number of other things you’ll need to pay for. These may include accommodation, food, books and travel. A maintenance loan is available for each year of your studies to help with these costs. The maximum amount you can borrow depends on which UK country you’re from and where you’ll be living during your studies.

The table below shows maintenance loan amounts for students from England choosing to study in an English university.

 Maximum maintenance loan        
 Academic year  Living with parents  Living away from home  Living away from home (London)  Living away from home (overseas)
 2013-14  £4,375   £5,500  £7,675  £6,535

(Source:, August 2013)

Maintenance grant

You may be entitled to a maintenance grant to help with living costs. Maintenance grants do not need to be repaid and are dependent on household income. The less your household income is, the more grant is available each year.

Any maintenance grant you receive reduces the amount of maintenance loan you can take out.

Example: An English student starting in an English university in September 2013 whose household income is £28,000 will receive a maintenance grant of £2,416. If they’re living away from home, the maximum maintenance loan they can get is £5,500.

The maintenance grant amount of £2,416 has to be taken away from this number, meaning the total maintenance loan available to them will be £3,084.

The amount of maintenance grant you can get varies between UK countries.

Repaying student loans

There are special rules on how you repay a student loan. Repayments are linked to your income, and you’ll only start making repayments when you earn £21,000 or over in a year. The repayments you’ll then make will be 9% of anything you earn over £21,000. If you’ve not repaid the full loan 30 years after the first payment you made, the rest of the loan is written off and you no longer have to pay anything.

Example: Shona left university owing a total student loan amount of £43,500. At age 23 she began earning over £21,000, so 9% of what she earned above this went towards repaying the loan. Five years later Shona had a baby and started working part-time, earning less than £21,000 – she stopped making any loan repayments at this point. At age 40, Shona began working full-time again, earning over £21,000 – she began repaying her student loan again. After 30 years from her first repayment, Shona still has £18,500 left on her loan – this is now written off as it is over 30 years since her first repayment. Shona doesn’t need to make any more loan repayments.

Use the student loan repayment calculator at to see what your repayments could be

Other forms of student financial help

There are a number of other financial support packages which you may be able to access depending on your circumstances. These include students on a low income, those with children or dependants, disabled students, and those studying for particular professions (such as the NHS).

Find out more about additional financial support you may be entitled to at the website

Further Information

For further information on student loans, grants and other financial support:

This article is provided by the Money Advice Service.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here