What is: Student finance

Student finance comes in two parts. The first is a loan to cover your tuition fees (your tuition fee loan). This money will never actually end up in your bank account, the student finance company gives it straight to the university where you’ll be studying – so there is no chance to go out and ‘accidently’ spend it!

The second part of student finance is a loan to help you with your living costs throughout your time at university. This is called your maintenance loan. The amount you’ll get depends on your household income (usually the amount that your parents or carers earn). A part of this loan is paid to you every semester that you are at university to make it easier to manage.

How do I apply?

You apply for student finance online, the address is www.gov.uk/apply-online-for-student-finance. The website will take you through the process step by step, it will ask you details about your household income and you might have to send proof of identity. You can apply for student finance whenever you like, but it is best to do it as early as possible so you know it will be sorted before you begin your course.

How do I pay it back?

Unfortunately you’ll have to pay back your student loan eventually. The good news is that you don’t have to start doing this until you have started earning over £21,000 a year. Even then, the amount that you’ll pay back every month depends on how much you are earning, so repayments are always manageable. The student loans company has details of how much you’ll pay back, and when, here.

When you get a job starting to pay back your loan is easy, the payments are taken from your pay automatically in the same way as your tax. If you have some extra cash you can also make additional payments, and there is no charge for paying back your loan early.  If you lose your job, or earn less than 21,000 then your payments will stop, so there is no need to worry about not being able to pay.