UK students are entitled to certain financial support from the government in the form of loans. There are two repayable loans available to you when you go to university for the first time - a Tuition Fee Loan and a Maintenance Loan. If you are applying for an NHS course, please visit our NHS finance information page.
Tuition Fee Loan
As their name suggests, Tuition Fee Loans pay for your tuition fees while you’re at university. They are paid directly to the university by the Student Loans Company, so, once your loan has been approved, you won’t have to worry about remembering to pay your fees.
You need to apply to your relevant funding body for your Tuition Fee Loan, by filling in an online application. You don’t need to have been accepted on a course or made a firm decision about where you’d like to study when you apply for funding - you can use the details of the course you’re most likely to attend initially and can amend this at a later date if you need to.
A Maintenance Loan is designed to contribute towards your living costs, such as accommodation, food, transport, bills and other day-to-day expenses, while you’re at university. These loans are only available to students who have been living permanently in the UK for at least the last three years. Both full and part-time courses are eligible, excluding distance learning courses (unless you are studying long distance due to a disability).
The first 65% of your loan will be the same regardless of your background, while the remaining 35% is means-tested (based on your household income).
Maintenance Loan amounts for September 2021 entry:
|Where you live and/or study||Maximum Maintenance Loan|
|Living with your parents||£7,987|
|Studying in London and not living with your parents||£12,382|
|Studying outside London and not living with your parents||£9,488|
If your course lasts longer than 30 weeks and three days, you might be able to get a Long Course Loan as well as your Maintenance Loan.
All students, even those from the highest income backgrounds, are entitled to a level of Maintenance Loan support. You need to apply for your Maintenance Loan through one of the four funding bodies listed above. Once your loan is approved, you will receive it in three instalments, typically one payment each term/semester. The Student Loans Company will pay it directly into your bank account.
Maintenance support while on placement
UK students undertaking a year in placement are generally entitled to a reduced Maintenance Loan. The level of loan is fixed (i.e. it isn’t means tested) and for September 2021 entry will be paid as per the bandings below:
- Students living in the parental home - £2,155
- Students undertaking their placement in London - £4,035
- Students undertaking their placement elsewhere (including overseas) - £2,874
The above bandings relate to both paid and unpaid placements.
Exceptionally, if you are undertaking an unpaid placement with a hospital, local health authority related to childcare or a prison, then you may be entitled to claim the full support of increased loan and maintenance grant. Please contact Student Finance if you think your placement may apply to one of the above.
If you are joining us from Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Channel Islands or the Isle of Man, please see the relevant funding bodies for details of Maintenance support.
Students from the Channel Islands and Isle of Man
Students from the Channel Islands and Isle of Man are subject to different funding arrangements to mainland UK students, and are not eligible for the Maintenance Loan, BU Maintenance Bursary or BU Financial Support Fund.
For information on the support available for tuition fees and living costs, you should contact your island education offices:
Applying for your funding
You can apply for your funding from early in 2021 (usually February) and we recommend that you do so as soon as possible. This enables your funding authority to make a decision about the value of your loans and ensures you will receive your money at the start of term.
Your student loan will usually be paid once you have enrolled, but can take a week or two to come through after the start of term, so it’s sensible to budget for this.
Repaying your loans
The good news about tuition fee and maintenance loans is that you don’t have to repay either of them until you have graduated and are in full-time employment earning more than £25,000 per year.
No student loan repayments will be taken until at least the April after you graduate, and only then if you are earning over £27,295. Once you hit this pay threshold, 9% of your income over £27,295 will be deducted to go towards your student loan. This will be deducted at source, like tax, so it will automatically come out of your wages each month.
You’ll only have one repayment to make, as the Student Loans Company will combine the totals of your tuition fee and maintenance loans once you graduate. After 30 years, your loans will be written off, regardless of how much you have paid back.
If you leave the UK after you graduate, you need to inform the Student Loans Company of your new address and profession. The repayment thresholds vary outside the UK, so it is sensible to check these if you plan to settle outside the country.
Your student loan is not taken into consideration when calculating your credit rating. It therefore will not affect your ability to take out a mortgage, or any other form of loan later in your life.
If you’d like to find out more, MoneySavingExpert’s Mythbusting article looks at the realities of student loans and repayments in further detail.