As outlined in the previous section, the new University fees mean that the majority of students will end up leaving university with two types of loan…
…a tuition fee loan and a living cost (or maintenance loan).
When do I Start Paying Back?
You won’t have to pay either kind of loan back until you’re earning over £21,000 a year. You repay your loans back at a rate of nine per cent of your income over £21,000. So if your salary is £25,000 a year, you pay nine per cent of £4,000, which is £6.92 a week. Although this will change for students starting University in September 2012.
Grants are not available to everyone and it’s totally dependent on your household income. If you’re from a lower income background a grant could help towards your living costs. The good thing about a grant is that it doesn’t have to be paid back. If your household income is less than £25,000 you may be eligible for the maximum grant of £3,250 a year. There is a handy grant calculator.
A lot of universities also offer something called a bursary. Each university decides on what bursaries they’re going to offer and who is eligible. Getting a grant doesn’t mean you won’t get a bursary. The best way to find out about bursaries is to contact the institution you’re interested in attending. Like grants you don’t have to pay your bursary back!
National Scholarship Programme
There is a new £150m National Scholarship Programme which may benefit some students from lower income families. You may be offered a discount on your tuition fees or even a free year on your course. The level of support is determined by each individual university, so like with a bursary you’ll need to check with the institution your interested in applying to. A good link to follow is The National Scholarship Programme this gives you a list of all universities in the scheme.
Students with Dependents
There may be extra financial help for you if you’re a full-time higher education student with dependent children. As well as a Childcare Grant which helps with childcare costs, there’s also the Parents’ Learning Allowance which helps with your learning costs. Other help includes Child Tax Credit and the Access to Learning Fund.