Starting university in 2011? Find out what grants and loans are available to you.
Costs for higher education can mount up when books, rent and living expenses are considered, to say nothing of socialising. You should also consider your tuition fees - the cost of studying can be up to £3,375 a year. These fees exist to top up the Government's contribution to the course.
When are these fees due?
You won't have to pay fees at the start of each university year. Instead, fees of up to £3,375 a year are paid back after you graduate through loan repayments once your annual income passes £15,000. Repayments will be a minimum of 9% of all earnings over £15,000 per year and have to be paid from the April after you finish your course.
How much will it cost you to study?
Students will pay different costs depending on the following:
- Where you live
- If you live at home or in university accommodation
- What university you choose to go to and the type of course that you choose
- Your household income
- Your personal circumstances
There are many grants and loans available to help with the cost of university - so do your research.
What help is available?
Your dreams of new-found independence, hours spent in the student union and the all-important degree don't have to be dashed. You may be entitled to financial support from the Government, as well as your uni or college. You may be eligible for financial support if:
- You have special needs or a disability
- You have children, especially single parents
- You have been in care
- You are from a low-income family
Alongside a loan to pay tuition fees, you may also get a maintenance loan - both will need to be repaid - and a maintenance grant that doesn't have to be repaid.
Check out the government's student finance site for more information.
You may also be entitled to bursaries and scholarships.
If your tuition fees are the full £3,375 and you're eligible for an entire maintenance grant from the government, your uni will have to give you a £338 bursary - which doesn't have to be repaid. As the average pay-out is £800, you may get more.
Students suffering financial hardship may get access or hardship funds. There is no specific definition of hardship, so apply if you think you need this.
Student parents, those with disabilities, or other special circumstances may receive extra cash. Those studying medicine and related subjects or new teacher training students also have payments available to them. Plus try your Students' Union, it may have its own independent hardship fund and be able to help out there.
Scholarships for everyone
Whether you're short of cash or not, there are bags of scholarships for academia, sports and hobbies. Use Scholarship Search, or go to a local library for a wider range of grant directories.
The Educational Grants Advisory Service also offer info on alternative funding, including educational trust funds.
Starting uni in 2012? Everything's changing
As you'll probably know, the price of university in England will rise sharply from 2012. The way fees are paid back will change too. Before you file university under 'unaffordable', read our article about how the rise in fees will affect you. The National Association of Student Money Advisors has also worked with the Government to create some videos with answers to the most frequently asked questions (scroll down and click on the blue text to open the videos).