University: Student Finance & You

In all honestly, one of the worst bits about being a student for me is the lack of money (I’ve so enjoyed my placement year for this reason!). I also found applying for student finance one of THE most stressful things in the whole process. They simplified and improved the website now and it is a lot easier, but yep. It wasn’t fun. When Ryan offered to send over these tips for dealing with SFE I couldn’t help but share;

 photo iStock_000044027192_Large_zps4pwrvkup.jpgAs the end of A-Level exams approaches along with the start of a long summer break, many of you will be thinking towards higher education come September.Whether you’re going to college or university, you’ll likely have been going through the student finance process with your parents in order to get your affairs in order for when you fly the nest.But before you start panicking about how you’re going to afford to live on your own, and before you nag your parents to get on the phone to their financial advisor, it’s worth understanding what you’re entitled to for both your studies and your living costs.

Tuition Fees

When you get accepted onto a university or college course you will be entitled to a tuition fee loan to cover the costs of the course. You won’t see this money, as it will be transferred directly to your institution from the student loan company. The currents rates are as follows:

  • Up to £9,000 for full-time students
  • Up to £6,000 for full-time students at a private university or college
  • Up to £6,750 for part-time students
  • Up to £4,500 for part-time students at a private university or college

When it comes to repaying your student loan, the first thing to remember is that you won’t start paying anything back until the April following the end of your course, and only once you start earning over £21,000 per year. Repayments are then made at 9% of your earnings. You loan will also accrue interest at the rate of inflation plus 3%.

Many people wonder whether it is worth paying off a student loan early, but as it’s one of the best loan rates you’re ever likely to receive it is often not worth doing so; after 30 years of payments, if there is an outstanding balance it will be wiped.

Your parents’ income will have absolutely no impact on your tuition fees, unlike…

Maintenance Loans

If you are moving away from home for University then obviously you are going to need money to live. A maintenance loan will allow you to pay for your rent, bills, food, travel and books (as well as ‘socialising’, of course…), though how much your parents earn will have an impact on the amount you can receive. The current maintenance loan values are:

  • Up to £4,565 if living at home
  • Up to £5,740 if living away from home, outside of London
  • Up to £8,009 if living away from home, in London
  • Up to £6,820 if you spend a year of a UK course studying abroad

Households with an income of over £62,000 per year are expected to help with living costs through a ‘subsidised contribution’ of £2,009, which means maintenance loans (outside London) are then capped at £3,731 per year.
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Free Money

Yes, that’s right: University students can actually receive free money! Don’t be fooled into thinking your maintenance loan is free money, you will end up paying it back alongside your tuition fees. There are, however a number of bursaries (set by each individual University, and not always eligible to all) as well as maintenance grants that don’t need to be repaid. Whether you’re eligible for a maintenance grant, and exactly how much you receive will again depend on your parents’ household income:

  • £3,387 per year if from a household with an income of £25,000 or less
  • £2,441 per year if from a household with an income of £30,000
  • £1,494 per year if from a household with an income of £35,000
  • £547 per year if from a household with an income of £40,000
  • £50 per year if from a household with an income of £42,620
  • No grant if from a household with an income of over £42,620

The government’s official student loan calculator will allow you to work out just how much maintenance loan and grant you should receive.


It sounds boring, but to ensure you don’t blow through your maintenance loan in Freshers Week and are living on a diet of plain rice right through until Christmas, you’re going to have to set yourself a budget. Take a day this Summer to work out exactly how much you’ll be getting, how much your rent will be (student halls are usually inclusive of all bills and paid up-front each term), and how much you’ll have left over for books, food and fun.

Most students have to live on a budget of less than £500 per month, and that includes your rent and bills, so budgeting and finding out all of the special student discounts you can receive is essential in order to stop the calls to Mum and Dad to get an extra tenner every couple of weeks.

*Sponsored Post. Ryan Smith is part of the content development team at Local Financial Advice, connecting people with independent financial advisors in their local area to help them achieve their financial goals.

I hope this has helped new students understand a bit more about the student finance allocation – it’s definitely made it a lot clearer in my eyes!