Money matters

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Overview to funding for a higher education course

You can get a loan to pay university fees - you don't pay back until you are earning £21,000 or more

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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 a university or college can charge fees between £6,000 and £9,250 a year - subject to meeting conditions on widening participation and fair access. You will need to look at individual institution's websites to see what they plan to charge for courses in the coming academic year. Or go to the Unistats site which shows average course costs by institution.  

REMEMBER: You do not have to pay these costs before you start your course. You start paying back when you are earning £21,000 or more.

In addition to tuition fee loans and living costs loans (also called maintenance loans), there will be other financial support available to help full-time students with the cost of university. Mature students with children might also be entitled to other support.

Don’t forget, working part-time whilst studying at university is a common feature of student life. Also budgeting is key if you are going to make the student loan monies you receive last you a whole term. It's likely you won't be able to afford to live the high life and you may have to make sacrifices but remember that this is an investment in your future.

Spending £2.50 on a cup of coffee every week day amounts to £650 a year! Perhaps a flask is a better idea? If you are still concerned about money issues then most institutions will offer support and guidance on managing your finances.

The repayments are not as scary as you might think!

Although many mature students are worried about taking on a huge loan the reality is that repayments will not start until you are earning more than £21,000 and the debt will be written off after 30 years.

For mature students it could mean you never pay the debt back!

Even if you do, the repayments are not as scary you might think!

For example… If you earn £22,000 a-year, you’ll repay £90 a year or £7.50 a month (9% of the £1,000 earned above £21,000). If you earn £31,000, you’ll pay £900 a year (£75 a month).

Find out more about the available funding support

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

Explore Martin Lewis's guide on why mature students CAN afford to go to uni.

Also universities charging £6,000+ a year fees are required to show how they will encourage fair access to their institution from a broader range of people.

Find out what bursaries and support universities are offering by viewing their fair access agreement  (English universites only).

If you have started or completed a degree previously...

Students studying for a second degree aren't normally able to get student finance. If you have started a course before, this could also have an impact on the amount of student finance you can receive. Please speak to the Student Services department at your chosen university before you start your course if you think this may apply to you.

Part-time students

Eligible part-time students will also have access to loans for tuition costs and will not have to pay up front, as long as it's their first degree and they are studying for at least 25% of the equivalent full-time course.

Loans for those who are 24+ to study at college or for a Level 3 course.

If you are over 24 you can apply for a 24+ Advanced Learning Loan . The loans are to help with the costs of college or training. You must be over 24 and you must be studying at Level 3 or above.


The package of support also includes:

  • Allowing those taking Access to Higher Education Diploma courses to apply to the Student Loans Company to write off any outstanding 24+ Advanced Learning Loan on completion of their HE course.