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Student finance explained

A student concentrates on the sums

The two main costs while studying are tuition fees and living costs and there is student finance available to help students with both of these.

Depending on your circumstances, course and where you study, you may be able to get other financial support too.

How much is available to me?

Loans for full-time students are available from Student Finance England. You can get a tuition fee loan to cover the cost of your tuition and a maintenance loan to cover living expenses. 

The tuition fee loan goes up to £9,250 and is not linked to household income.

The maintenance loan depends on household income and where you live. The maximum is:

  • Living with your parents – up to £7,747
  • Living away from home, studying outside London – up to £9,203
  • Living and studying abroad – up to £10,539

To get an approximation of how much you might receive check out the student finance calculator.

Part-time students who are studying at least 25% of a full-time course are eligible for a tuition fee loan and part-time maintenance loan.

Eligibility for student finance

If all of the following apply to you then you are eligible:

  • You’re a UK national or have ‘settled status’
  • You normally live in England
  • You’ve been in the UK for 3 years before starting your course

You may also be eligible in other circumstances too, check on the Student Finance England website.

Extra financial help

You may also be eligible for extra financial help if you are on a low income.

Students with dependents may be eligible for the following help:

  • Parents Learning Allowance (means tested) for eligible full-time students with children.
  • Childcare Grant (means tested) for students with dependent children. If you qualify, the Childcare Grant could cover as much as 85 per cent of your childcare costs.
  • Adult dependants’ Grant (means tested) for full-time higher education students with an adult who is dependant upon them financially.

Students with a learning disability, health problem or disability may be eligible for Disabled Student Allowance (DSA).

What is household income?

Student Finance England (SFE) counts your own taxable income plus any of the following as your houeshold income:

  • Your parents  - if you’re under 25 and live with them or depend on them financially
  • One of your parents and their partner - if you’re under 25 and live with them or depend on them financially
  • Your partner - if you’re over 25 and live with them

You’ll typically need a P60 or tax return for the previous year,  so pre-warn your parent(s) or partner as it can take some time to find them.

If you are under 25 and had no contact with your parents for over a year, you might be able to apply as an ‘estranged student’. 

How do I receive the money?

The tuition fee loan is paid direct to your university by SFE. You do not see this money at all, it does not get paid in to your account. The maintenance loan is paid termly; three payments per academic year in September, January and April.

You will need to complete an application for finance, every year during your degree.

You do not need a confirmed place at university to apply for student finance. You’ll be able to apply online for student finance from early 2021 for funding to start at university in September 2021. It can take 6-10 weeks to hear the outcome of your student finance application.

University Bursaries and Scholarships

You may be able to get extra financial support in the form of bursaries and scholarships. This varies between universities. These do not have to be repaid and are in addition to your loans.

Marjon offers:

  • Care Leaver and Estranged Student Bursaries
  • University Hardship Fund – for students who encounter unexpected financial emergencies
  • Some support for travel and accommodation on placement
  • Elite Sports Scholarships

Repaying your loan

You only start to pay back your loans once you are earning a specified amount and after you have left university.

  • You won’t have to repay anything until you’re earning over a certain amount, which is currently £26,575 a year
  • Your repayments are linked to your income, not what you owe
  • If you earn less than £26,575 a year, you won’t have to repay anything
  • You’ll repay 9% of your income over £26,575, and deductions will be made from your pay through the HMRC tax system
  • Repayments will start the April after you graduate, at the earliest
  • Any outstanding loan balance will be written off 30 years after entering repayment

This is called a loan, but there is no obligation to pay it back if you are earning below the repayment threshold.

Please note: All figures are for 2020 as the figures for 2021 were yet to be released at the time of writing (October 2020).