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Overview to funding for a higher education course

You can get a loan to pay university fees - you don't pay back until you are earning £25,725 or more


This information is for students from England only. Students from Wales, Scotland & Northern Ireland studying in the UK have their own separate funding arrangements.

In England a university or college can charge fees between £6,000 and £9,250 a year - subject to meeting conditions on widening participation and fair access. You will need to look at individual institution's websites to see what they plan to charge. Or go to the Unistats site which shows average course costs.  

REMEMBER: You do not have to pay these costs before you start your course. You start paying back when you are earning £25,725 or more.

In addition to tuition fee loans and living costs loans (also called maintenance loans), there may be other financial support available to help full-time students with the cost of university and mature students with children might also be entitled to other support from bursaries and scholarships.

The repayments are not as scary as you might think!

Although many mature students are worried about taking on a huge loan the reality is that repayments will not start until you are earning more than £25,725 and the debt will be written off after 30 years.

For mature students it could mean you never pay the debt back!

Even if you do, the repayments are not as scary you might think!

For example… If you earn £26,000 a-year, you’ll repay £25 a year or £2 a month (9% of the £725 earned above £25,000). If you earn £31,000, you’ll pay £475 a year (£40 a month).

You repay a lot less now than you used to!

The government has increased the starting threshold for repayment of student loans from £21,000 to £25,725. This is a big change and it means that the amount of student loan that most graduates will repay has been significantly reduced. This starting threshold will continue to increase as average wages increase. For example, a graduate with an average income of £26,000 would have repaid £13,500 of their student loan in total through the income tax system over a 30 year period prior to this change. Following this change, the same graduate would now pay just £750 in total! 

Find out more about the available funding support

Use a Student Finance Calculator which estimates what loans, grants and extra help you can get.

Also universities charging £6000+ a year fees are required to show how they will encourage fair access to their institution from a broader range of people.

Find out what bursaries and support universities are offering by viewing their access and participation plan (English universities only) or by giving the Student Services department at your chosen university a call.

If you have started or completed a degree previously...

Students studying for a second degree aren't normally able to get student finance. If you have started a course before, this could also have an impact on the amount of student finance you can receive. Please speak to the Student Services department at your chosen university before you start your course if you think this may apply to you.

Part-time students

Eligible part-time students will also have access to loans for tuition fees and living costs and will not have to pay up front, as long as it’s their first degree and they are studying for at least 25% of the equivalent full-time course. Find out more here.

Loans for those who are 24+ to study at college or for a Level 3 course

If you are over 24 you can apply for a 24+ Advanced Learning Loans. The loans are to help with the costs of college or training. You must be over 24 and you must be studying at Level 3 or above.

The package of support also includes:

  • Allowing those taking Access to Higher Education Diploma courses to apply to the Student Loans Company to write off any outstanding 24+ Advanced Learning Loan on completion of their HE course.

Read more about the 24+ Advanced Learning Loans

Funding for healthcare courses e.g nursing - changes from September 2017

The funding for healthcare courses changed in September 2017 from the NHS Bursary system to a students loan system. Find out more here.


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