Understanding, fees, loans and grants

Student Finance England offer a range of support to help cover tuition fees and living costs, your two main expenses while at university or college.

Click here to download a finance help document from Student Finance England.

The range of financial support available depends on your circumstances, your course and where you study. The main types of finance are Tuition Fee Loans and Maintenance Loans (which have to be paid back) as well as grants and bursaries (which don’t). The good news is most students won’t have to pay anything up front.

Tuition Fee Loans

Most undergraduate courses tuition per year will be £9,000. Tuition fees are usually either loaned from the Government Student Finance Service or, if you are undertaking certain healthcare qualifications, paid for by the NHS.

Government Tuition Fee Loan:

A government tuition loan is available for £9,000 per year and paid direct to the university. You can borrow the whole fee or part-fee and repayments do not begin until you earn over £21,000 per year.

Apply online for Student Finance England. To ensure you receive your full entitlement apply at the earliest opportunity.


The amount you repay depends on your income, not what you borrowed. You will repay 9% of any income over the current threshold. If your income falls below this, your repayments will automatically stop.

The table below shows some examples of what the expected monthly repayment amount would be:

Income each year before taxAmount paid per month

After 30 years, any outstanding loan is written off. The government will charge you interest on a sliding scale; the higher your salary the higher your interest. The maximum rate of interest is 3%.

A Quick Guide to Living Costs

Average Cost Per Academic YearAverage Cost Per Week (Based on 39 Week Year)
Travel home (six journeys per year, pre-booked)£120£3.08
Course costs (will vary, check with school you are applying to)£500£12.82
Essentials Total£5,638£144.58
Other Potential Costs
Leisure (includes going out)£1,200£30.77
Mobile phone£240£6.15
TV licence£145.50£3.73
Local travel£200£5.13
Gym / sports£200£5.13
Other Potential Costs Total£3155.50£80.91
Total Costs£8793.50£225.49

Visit the Student Calculator to help plan your budget in more detail. The universities may have their own financial help available to students so it is always worth checking with their Student Finance department before your course commences. Universities will also have dedicated Careers Departments who can help you source part-time and holiday jobs.

Once you have registered online with Student Finance England and are ready to start your application, remember to have the following documents to hand:

  • Passport (if you have one)
  • University and course details (don’t worry: these can be changed at a later date if necessary!)
  • Bank details
  • National Insurance Number
  • Your parent’s details, including their National Insurance Number and household income information

The online application process is interactive and responsive to the information you submit, so your experience of completing the online forms may be different to that of your friends.

In addition, you may also find the following sites useful:

Bursaries, Scholarships and Awards