Deciding to go to university is one of the biggest decisions you’ll ever have to make and it comes at a time when you’re only just entering adulthood. One of the most talked about aspects of continuing higher education has been the financial impact it can have. However, let’s get back to basics and explain the facts about applying for student finance.
One of the main points to remember is that you will not be paying anything up front. So if your parents are worried about the immediate financial impact, reassure them that this will not be a factor until you have finished your education. The first thing to do is to visit the government’s dedicated website (www.studentfinance.direct.gov.uk) where you can apply for student finance even if you do not have a confirmed place at university. The main student finance package compromises of the following:
Tuition Fee Loan
In nearly all cases, a loan to cover your tuition fees is essential. All institutions can now charge between £6,000 and £9,000 for a year of university education. However bursaries must be made available for poorer students. While this may sound like an extortionate figure and the initial reaction is to worry about how much you need to borrow, the most important thing to remember is how much you’ll need to repay.
Once you’ve graduated and entered the working world you will only pay 9% of what you earn annually above a £21,000 pre-tax salary threshold. If you find a job paying less than this a year, you will only be required to a tiny percentage or nothing at all.
While it may be tempting to always earn below this figure, you’ll find the 9% over £21,000 will make a minimal impact on your nice big paycheque.
If you’re a UK or EU full-time student you can get a loan of up to £9,000. A dedicated student loan company will pay the money directly to your university or college.
You can apply for a Maintenance Loan to cover living costs like rent and utilities or more important things such as beans and beer. During the application process, you may have to include details of your household income so the assessor can fully understand your own individual situation. Your parents or guardians will also need to support the application.
Maintenance Loans vary from £4,375 all the way up to £6,535, but this depends on whether you are living at home, located in London or studying abroad for a whole year. This loan will be paid directly into your bank account, just try not to spend it all at once.
The Maintenance Grant is more dependent on your household income, so information regarding this will also have to be included with your application as well as your course start date.
Unlike a loan, this money does not need to be paid back, so university isn’t all doom and gloom when it comes to money.
For courses starting from September 2013, Maintenance Grants range from £50 to £3,354. The grant you receive however will reduce the Maintenance Loan amount.
Those are the basics covered, but for more information on applying, eligibility, repayments, extra financial help and special support grants, visit the Student Finance website.