As either a full time or part time student, you may be eligible for up to three different types of financial support as you enter your University or College studies.
Bursaries are granted by the college or university which you are planning to attend.
Applying for a loan or a grant.
You may apply for your loan or grant from the February of that academic year. i.e. February 2016 for the academic year 2016/2017 beginning in September. It doesn’t matter too much if you forget though because you can apply for up to 9 months after your course has started if you are studying a full-time course or 6 months after your course has started if you are studying a part-time course.
The application is made online via the Student Loan Company website. You will need to set up an account with a lot of detail on it. You will be asked to verify some of the detail with specific documents. Be prepared, your parents may have to fill out some forms too - this will show what your household income is. If any of the details change you can just log into your account and amend them.
Once you have completed your application it will be processed by the SLC. Your application ONLY applies to the year you apply. This means that you have to re-apply for the second year loan and again for the third or fourth year. Don’t worry though because if your circumstances haven’t changed it will just be a quick mouse-click on your account to re-apply.
If your circumstances have changed, or those of your parents, the amount of loan that you maybe entitled to may change also.
Applying for a bursary
This is normally done directly to the college or university faculty you will be studying at. The exception to this is an NHS bursary which is done through the NHS and the government websites.
Loan for tuition fees
The maximum tuition fee that a university or college can charge you as a full time student is £9,250 per year and as a part time student £6,935. Your tuition fee loan will exactly match your tuition fee if you are a full time student and will match your tuition fee if you are a part time student and the course is at least 25% of the full time course each year. It will be paid directly to your college or university, in three amounts, one at the beginning of each term.
EU students may also apply for a tuition fee loan.
Loans for living costs
These loans are there to help you with your living expenses whilst you are studying. The amount that you are able to borrow will depend on:
These are the amounts that you will be able to borrow. The exact amount that you are entitled to borrow will depend on your personal circumstances but as a general rule the maximum amount will be available to those with a household income of £25,000 or less and the minimum amount will be available to those with a household income of £59,000 or more.
Other circumstances which may affect the amount you can borrow are if:
The loan will be paid directly into your bank account in three installments. One at the beginning of each term.
EU students may not apply for a maintenance loan.
You will be charged interest on the amount of the loan that you have outstanding.
Once you leave education and begin work you will be expected to begin to repay the loan. How much you repay each year depends on how much you earn. If your income is below £25,000 per year then you will not have to repay anything for that year. As soon as you begin to earn more than £25,000, 9% of the excess will be taken directly from you in the same way that tax and national insurance is. You will be able to see how much has been taken from your salary and repaid to your loan account on your wage slip each month.
If you want to, you will be able to repay your loan early. There won't be any penalty associated with doing this.
Special Support Grant
Extra support will be made available to low income students and also those with disabilities.
Maximum grant held at £3,387 for 2018/19
We have provided a link here to Student Finance Calculator: estimate how much you could get . Feel free to have a play around with it to get a feel for how much money either as a grant or a loan you may be entitled to.
A bursary is a sum of money paid by the college or university to offset your tuition fees. Most students are able to apply for a bursary place but these are very limited and are given out quite sparingly. If you are successful and are awarded a bursary place you may be asked to take on extra duties by the college by way of ‘payment’.
You will not receive any money as a bursary but the tuition fees that you will be charged will be lower. The bursary is not repayable.
Because the interest payable on these student loans is much higher than its earlier counterparts it might be worth while looking to repay the loan earlier if you can. If you can’t invest your savings at a higher rate than you are being charged for the loan then it makes sense to clear some of the debt. You may choose to repay the loan early without penalty.