A Guide to Student Finance
University is notoriously expensive, you hear horror stories of students living in tents to save money on rent. However, lots of ways exist to finance your studies and living expenses.
Student Finance England provides students with financial support so they can go to university no matter what their financial background is. They offer students the opportunity to get a tuition fee and a maintenance loan. The tuition fee loan is paid directly to your university in three installments each year. Fees are currently between £9000 and £9250 a year.
Student Finance offer students a maintenance loan to cover rent and the cost of living. The size of the loan is dependent on your parent’s income, as it is assumed that your parents will help support you throughout university. The loan amount also varies depending on if you’ll be living at home or away. You can also get a larger loan if you’re studying in London due to the higher standard of living. If parent support is not an option as you’re estranged from parents you can still get a loan. You’ll be classed as an independent applicant and the assessment depends on your income rather than your parents. Charities such as Stand Alone can provide you with information and help during the application process.
The word loan often scares people into thinking they’ll be ‘in debt’, with their credit scores impacted, having to immediately pay back the lump sum straightaway after graduation. However, you don’t start paying any of it back until the April AFTER you graduate. You only repay your loan if you’re earning over £25,725 a year and after 30 years your loan is written off and you don’t have to pay anymore. The more money you earn, the higher your monthly repayments are. The amount is automatically deducted from your pay check before tax so you don’t have to worry about keeping up with payments. Repayments are quite a small amount each month so work more as a graduate tax. Whilst student loans are completely free to take out there is interest added which will be included in the amount you repay.
When you get your student loan it's tempting to go on a wild shopping spree and blow it on unnecessary items. Budgeting is a skill all students (and adults) need to learn.
You can find out average monthly costs for things such as rent and food at your university at Which?.
The Money Saving Expert has a whole section dedicated to how to manage your money as a student.