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Funding for full time higher education

Higher education course fees will be between £6,000 up to £9,250 a year - but you don't have to pay up front and you only pay back when you are earning more than £25,725 a year.

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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, universities that charge £6,000 per year will need to meet conditions on widening participation. Mature students might be part of an institution's widening participation criteria, which could mean support with tuition fees. Check an institution's website to find out what they charge and what support they offer to widening participation students.

You can view the access and participation plan a university has agreed with the Office for Students (English universities only) and find out what bursaries they are offering and how to claim them.

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 through bursaries. 

Find out more about the available funding support for learning.

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

Find out about financial support for childcare when studying.

Student Finance England:

View a quick start guide about finance from Student Finance England.

Watch this video:


Getting help sorting out the funding

When planning to study it is important to understand the costs and know your sources of income.You will then need to plan your budget so that you can manage financially throughout your study.

It is worth bearing in mind that a full-time higher education course will not necessarily involve spending 5 days a week at a college or university so you might be able to work as well as study. Check what the attendance requirements are for your chosen course.

You do need to know that to qualify for full-time funding support you will need to make sure your intended course has full time course status. Check this with your institution.

Although financing a full-time course can seem complicated and challenging, there are good sources of help and guidance available. See the Which? University guide to Student finance for further information.

If you are already in work, the human resources or personnel section at your place of work may be able to help in providing some of the information you require.

Key questions to ask your employer will include:

  • Will my employer provide financial support towards my course?
  • What other support will my employer provide - for example, time off for study?

Many colleges and universities have a Student Services Centre. They are a good source of information for people making enquiries about the financial support available.

Repayment of tuition fee loans

There will be no tuition fees to be paid up front as you can get a loan to cover these fees, which you will only pay back, in affordable instalments, once you are earning over £25,725.

Graduates will then pay back 9% of their income each month, above £25,725 a year. Any outstanding debt will be wiped out after 30 years.

It will still be possible to pay university fees upfront in order to avoid accruing any debt. If you choose to take out a student loan you can choose to pay back all or some of the loan at any time without an early repayment charge.

Scholarships, bursaries and other support

The government and universities are working to widen access at both undergraduate and postgraduate level to students from disadvantaged backgrounds and under-represented students.

Universities are expected to increase their investment in widening access each year to reach a predicted £750 million by the academic year 2019-20. Many universities will therefore offer additional funding to certain target groups.

This may include for example, students from a lower income background, mature students or disabled students.

Some universities may offer a reduced level of fees or possibly a free year on some courses or a bursary for students that meet such criteria.

Each university will decide what support they’ll offer so you’ll need to check to see what your chosen university is offering and whether you’re eligible.

You can view the access and participation plan a university has agreed with the Office for Students (English universities only) and find out what bursaries they are offering and how to claim them.

Some full time students with children and disabled students in receipt of a disability benefit may be entitled to state benefits whilst they are studying. Read more here.

Find out what other financial support will be available.

For scholarship and bursary information:

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