The Big Fat Guide to Student Finance 2014

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By in Student Finance. Updated December 2014.

Student finance – it’s all very confusing now isn’t it? Why can’t university just be free and simple like it used to be?student finance guideWell, the reality is that the student finance system in the UK has gone through some huge and very controversial changes since 2012, resulting in higher tuition fees (for most students). But £9,000+ tuition fees is not the only headline! Along with the fee hike, there are new student loan repayment and application conditions which you really need to know about.

Why bother reading this guide?

student_protest_dublin_budget31Save the Student has been following the developments, petitioned against higher fees and commented in countless newspapers from the very beginning with the unveiling of the Browne report in late-2010. So by no means do we support the rise but we believe it is vital that the myths are debunked and students are aware of the facts.

Are the changes as bad as many make out? What do they mean and how might they affect you? Is it even worth going to university anymore?

If you can stick with us and get through this page (we know it’s not the most riveting topic!), you’ll be in the best position to manage your future finances and avoid any surprises.

student finance ebookPrefer an ebook? That’s cool, go ahead and download our free book, The Essential Student Guide to Finance. It’s got loads more juicy bits beyond student finance!

If you are a student from outside of England then please check out student finance reviews for WalesScotlandNorthern IrelandEU countries or international students.


In a nutshell

Student finance is never a simple topic to cover (well, except when university was free!). On this page we’ll touch only on the most important things students need to know. But if you’re struggling to find the will to digest it all right now, I’ll lay down a quick summary:

  1. The maximum universities can charge for tuition fees in 2014 is £9,000. That’s a three-fold increase on 2011.
  2. Full-time students can apply for a maintenance loan of £5,500 (more for those in London)
  3. The average university graduate will be saddled with a student debt of around £43,500
  4. You pay back 9% of everything you earn over £21,000 per annum
  5. Biggest myth: You do not pay a penny for your education until you graduate and earn a decent salary!
  6. After 30 years any outstanding student debt is written off
  7. Interest is charged at the rate of inflation +3% pa whilst you are at university, which continues at 0-3% pa thereafter (depending on your salary)
  8. Your student loan repayments are deducted from your paycheck by your employer
  9. Funding and support is available for a good proportion of students, but especially those from lower income families
  10. Many of these changes now apply for part-time students, however they cannot apply for a maintenance loan
  11. There are differences between systems in England, Wales, Scotland and N. Ireland
  12. Whilst the real cost of university education for some is tripling, some students will also be better off under the new system (see our calculator)

Still with us? Keep reading to get a clearer understanding of what the changes mean for you based on the facts.

How much will university cost in 2014?

Manchester universityAs of September 2012, the maximum a university in the UK is able to charge in tuition fees is a staggering £9,000 per year for a full-time undergraduate. There is, however, some variation in cost between countries (see below).

Prior to 2012, university fees in England stood at £3,375 pa, and pre-1998 university education was free.

Differences for universities across the UK:

England – UK students to pay a maximum of £9,000 pa, except Welsh students who won’t pay more than £3,465.

Scotland – Scottish students can still study for free in 2014. However non-Scottish students will pay the full amount.

Wales – UK students to pay a maximum of £9,000.

Northern Ireland – Northern Irish students pay £3,465 pa. However other UK students will pay the full amount.

EU students can apply for much the same as British nationals. Other international student tuition fees will not be affected by the changes.

Tuition fees and basic living costs can be covered by a student loan, repayable only when earning above £21,000 pa. The government has also brought regulation into place stating that any university looking to charge over £6,000 will have to supply extra financial support to its students from low-income families. However, as we’ll see below, over a third of universities in England plan to implement the maximum £9,000 fees, with many predicting that the average university and course will charge £8,500. Find out what your university will be charging.

If you’re looking to reduce the cost of your degree, then look towards colleges and smaller universities which have cheaper fees to attract more students. For example, Manchester college has stated that they will be charging £5,585 a year for their degree courses. It might also mean they are local to you so you’ll save a few grand by living at home. We’ll cover a few other ways to cut your student debt amount later on.

However, as we’ll see, it’s important to know that a cheaper degree isn’t always the best way to go, even if you are concerned about price. No student will have to pay for their education up-front, and will only start repaying their student loan upon earning a decent salary.

Applying for student finance

For more information on the types of student finance available for UK students see the websites below.

England: Student Finance England

Scotland: Student Awards Agency for Scotland

Wales: Student Finance Wales

Northern Ireland: Student Finance Northern Ireland

You can also follow our quick guide on Applying for student finance, which also has the application deadline dates for this year.

How much is my university charging in 2014?

Use the search field in the table below to find any UK university’s maximum fees:

UniversityPlanned Tuition Fees 2012 (£)
Anglia Ruskin8,300
Bath Spa9,000
Bishop Grosseteste University College Lincoln7,500
Blackburn College (University Centre)7,000
Brighton and Sussex Medical School9,000
Brunel University9,000
Bucks New6,000-8000
Canterbury Christ Church8,500
City University, London9,000
College of Law9,000
De Montfort9,000
East Anglia9,000
East London9,000
Edge Hill9,000
Falmouth 9,000
Glasgow Caledonian7,000
Glasgow School of Art6,750-9,000
Glyndwr University5,850-7,750
Harper Adams University College9,000
Imperial College9,000
King's College London9,000
Leeds Met8,500
Leeds Trinity8,000
Liverpool John Moores9,000
London Met4,500-9,000
London School of Economics8,500
London South Bank5,950-8,450
Manchester Metropolitan8,000-9,000
Newman University College8,500
Norwich University College8,500
Nottingham Trent8,500
Open University5,500
Oxford Brookes9,000
Plymouth 9,000
Queen Mary, University of London 9,000
Royal Agricultural College9,000
Royal Holloway9,000
Royal Veterinary College7,500-9,000
Sheffield Hallam8,500
Southampton Solent7,800
St. Andrews9,000
St. Mary's University College8,000
St. Georges9,000
Staffordshire University7,500-8,500
Swansea Metropolitan8,500
Trinity St. David9,000
University of the Arts London9,000
University Campus Suffolk7,500-8,000
University College London9,000
University College Plymouth Marjon7,800
University of East Anglia9,000
University of Central Lancashire9,000
University of East London9,000
University of the West of England9,000
University of West London7,500-8,200
Writtle College8,000
York St. John8,500

Notes about the figures:

  • These are the proposed fees for all universities in 2014 within the UK.
  • Universities in Wales, Scotland & N. Ireland will also raise their fees, though this may not always affect their national students.
  • Welsh students who study outside of the UK will have anything above £3,465 paid by the Welsh Assembly.
  • Figures correct as of Jan 2014. All figures are correct for a student looking to study a full 3 year undergraduate degree.
  • Fees shown are a maximum. Some courses may offer lower fees.

See which universities will be charging £9,000 for more info.

Don’t forget the maintenance loan!

The maintenance loan is often forgotten when discussing the rise in tuition fees. It’s entirely optional, though the majority of full-time students in the UK will have a maintenance loan of £5,500 a year (part-time students are not able to apply).

This is not a loan from the university but from your local funding body, and its sole purpose is to cover your living costs. It is normally received in 3 installments during the year. A maintenance loan is borrowed money that is added to your student loan, and you’ll  have to pay it back at the same rate as your tuition fees.

If you were to add this amount to the average cost of the tuition fee loan over a degree of 3 years, you are looking at an alarming student debt of £43,500*!

baked beans
Some students living in London can apply for a maintenance loan of up to £7,675 a year, adding on another £7,000 over 3 years. So take into account where you want to study, as it can have a long-term financial impact on your total student debt.

The amount you are eligible for depends on a number of factors, including your combined household income and place of study (inside or outside of London).

Below is a table of the maximum you can apply for:

Where you live & StudyMaintenance Loan
Living at home£4375
Living away from home and studying outside of London£5500
Living away from home and studying in London£7675
Spending a year of your course abroad£6535

If your combined household income is below £42,611 then you will be able to subsidise your maintenance loan with a maintenance grant. For more information on this see the section on what funding is available below.

* These figures are based on the 2014 maintenance and student loan figures given by DirectGov. These figures only apply if you are a full-time student, your family has a household income above £42,611 a year and you receive no grants, scholarships or extra funding.

What funding is available for students in 2014?

money on printingAs the cost of university fees in 2012 rose, so did the need for more students to seek additional funding (aside from a student loan) to study their chosen degree. This could come in the form of bursaries, scholarships or grants.

Any university looking to charge over £6,000 will legally have to offer more funding, especially to students from lower-income families.

Below is a quick overview of the most important sources of student funding available in 2014, including a few things to watch out for. For a full review of funding, see student grants, bursaries and scholarships.

Maintenance grants

Students are eligible for a grant if their family earns below £42,611 a year. The maximum available is currently £3,354 pa, which is non-repayable. However, it’s important to note that for every £1 you get as a maintenance grant, your maintenance loan is reduced by 50p.

If your family earns below £25,000 a year then you will receive £3,354 as a non repayable grant but also have your maintenance loan cut to £3,823 (total £7,177 if you are living away from home outside of London).

See the table below for an idea of what your total funding could be (living away from home outside of London).

Household IncomeMaintenance LoanMaintenance GrantFull Amount
< £25,000£3,862£3,387£7,249
< £42,620£5,530£50£5,580

The National Scholarship Programme

If your family’s household income is below £25,000 a year then you will be eligible for the National Scholarship Programme for 2014.

The amount you get from the programme will not affect your student loan amount (unlike the maintenance grant). If you are eligible then you will be entitled to a maximum of £1,000 plus accommodation, or fee waivers.

Universities differ in what they offer, you can find out what each prospective university offers here.

Awards and scholarships

These are a bit different to student grants in that they are awarded for outstanding academic achievements rather than being purely income assessed. A surprising amount of students are unaware that they are able to receive funding for a whole range of things, including their birthplace!

Disability student allowances

There are three kinds of DSAs, covering equipment and general care, which help cover the cost of studying due to a disability. They are not income assessed and apply for all ages.

Students can apply for Disabled Students’ Allowances when they apply for other student finance. For further details see

Other types of student grants

There are some other grants available such as the special support grant, travel grant, teaching grant and the NHS bursary. For more information see Student grants, bursaries and scholarships.

How much of my student loan will I pay back?

Claim supermarket money backThere are a number of factors which will determine how you repay your student loan (both tuition and maintenance loans).

With the changes in the British student loan system, you are likely to owe much more than before 2012, however you do not necessarily have to pay the whole loan back.

Moreover, you will only start repaying your loan once you hit a higher salary of £21,000 (previously £15k). So what you will have to ultimately repay largely depends on the salary you achieve as well as the length of time you have a student loan.

Most graduates will hit the £21k threshold within a few years, but you can check the average starting salary for each degree.

Once you’ve got a reasonable value for your average salary, use our accurate student loan repayment calculator to work out exact repayment figures and dates.

Typical student loan repayments for various salaries:

SalaryMonthly RepaymentYearly Repayment

To fully understand how much you will pay back and over how long, we need to take a closer look at the details.

Pay 9% of anything you earn over £21,000 pa

Graduates will leave university with an average student debt of £40,000+. Under the old student finance system, graduates are required to repay 9% of all earnings over £16,365 per annum (in 2014 & rising each year with inflation). Under the new system graduates will repay 9% of anything above £21,000 pa.

Any student debt you have remaining after 30 years upon graduating will be written off, however this is an additional 5 more years on the previous 25 year cut-off.

So in theory, you will repay less on your student loan every month under the new system.

Also, you should have noticed that you still end up paying back the same amount every week whether your yearly tuition  fees were £7,000 or £9,000. It will just take you more time to repay them if they are £9,000. Therefore it’s important to remember that despite your total student debt being higher, your repayments are just as affordable under the new system.

You pay tax on your initial salary

Unfortunately, paying back your student loan does not entitle you to any income tax breaks. You will be taxed on your income before the loan repayment comes off.

For example, if you earn £45,000 a year then you will pay income tax on that amount before having to repay £2,160 of that towards your student loan. Basically, tax and student loan payment are separate things calculated from the same salary figure.

WARNING: The government can change the repayment conditions at any time!

Some top economists have spotted that there is nothing in the student loan agreement guaranteeing that the 9% or £21,000 figures are fixed indefinitely once you graduate . Just something to watch out for which is rarely reported.

Interest will be charged on top of inflation

With the old student loans system the interest on repayments is set at the current rate of inflation (RPI). In theory, your wage should grow at the rate of inflation over time and therefore it is essentially 0% interest (commercially speaking, though it’s a bit murky).

Unfortunately, with the new student loan system, interest will be charged on top of inflation. Essentially the Student Loans Company (SLC) will be making a tidy profit off lending to students. Below is a quick guide on how this added interest will affect new students.

Whilst at university: You will pay the rate of inflation (RPI) plus another 3%. This will be the same until April in the year following your graduation. Even before graduating, students taking a loan with the SLC will have racked up a hefty amount of interest in addition to the higher fees.

After graduating: If you earn under £21,000 then your interest rate will be set at inflation (RPI), as with the old system. For every additional £1k you will be charged an extra 0.15% pa on your loan. Once you earn above £41,000 you will incur the additional 3% annual interest rate.

(A big) However, despite all of this, graduates will actually make repayments of  £540 less every year compared to the old system. The catch is that the total debt will be much higher and therefore you will be paying off your student loan for a longer period.

3 more brief points:

  1. Savings count:
    If you have savings or alternative investments of over £2,000 then any interest you make on your savings will be counted towards your income. For example, if you earn £19,000 a year you will have to make over £2,000 that year in savings interest in order to break the student finance threshold. To give you an idea (£67,000 at an interest of around 3% will equate to £2,000).
  2. Self-employed:
    If you are self-employed then you will have to file your self-assessment each year. You will need to take into account your salary for the year and pay 9% on anything over £21,000.
  3. Moving abroad:
    There is a strong rumour spread across universities that says if you move abroad for a certain amount of years then your student debt is written off. I’m afraid this is not the case and you still have to pay back anything you earn over £21,000.

How will I repay my student loan?

Simple. Your minimum student loan repayment comes out of your basic salary once you hit the £21k salary threshold. Unless you are self-employed, it is your employer’s responsibility that the right deductions are made.

When should I repay my student loan?

question_markYou can choose to clear your student debt or make higher repayments at any time, however it’s not always a good idea if you can’t afford to in the long term.

Whilst you may be tempted to pay off your student loan in full to avoid added charges, it’s important to remember that even at 3%, the rate is far cheaper than normal commercial loans. Only pay it off when you are financially comfortable and are not likely to need the money in the future.

There’s also been some suggestion that the Government may bring into force a piece of regulation that either doesn’t allow early repayments or penalises you for doing so. We’re not 100% on this, but we’ll look into this later.

5 tips for slashing student debt

So you know the broad types of funding which are available to help cut the cost of attending university. Now it’s worth absorbing a few nuggets of advice to help you save you time when applying, and ensure you’re making an informed choice.

  1. Always search to see if you are eligible for any funding

    Every year hundreds of students miss out on free money from a whole variety of sources simply because they are unaware these money pots exist for them. Even if you believe that you don’t fit the low-income criteria, there are still opportunities to secure funding through scholarships and even company sponsorship.

    If you don’t search, you won’t find. If you don’t ask, you won’t get! As tuition fees treble, there’s no better time to seek out external funding.

    I won’t go into much detail here on how exactly to find funding as we’ve got a page dedicated to Student Bursary and Scholarship sources.

  2. Choose a bursary over waived fees

    Universities now have an obligation to offer students from a lower-income background financial support, either in the form of a bursary or tuition fee waiver. If you get the option then choose the bursary, here’s why:

    As we’ve seen above, graduates pay back the same every year, whether their degree cost £6,000 or £9,000 a year. Some students will never have to pay back the entirety of their student loans, so in this case a fee waiver would mean that you miss out on a student loan.

    More to the point, student loans as of 2012 don’t start becoming repayable until you’re over the £21k. So our advice would be to take the bursary upfront and then take the fees on as your student debt.

  3. Get a part-time job

    This may not be traditional student funding (in terms of money for doing nothing more), however a student part-time job is a very good way of paying for your education whilst you’re taking it. There are lots of jobs which are be flexible around your studies. With the increase in tuition fees, getting a part-time job will be essential for a growing number of students in 2014.

    Read up on our Student job section for advice on getting a job, and have a search through our listed  Part-time student jobs to see what jobs are going in your area.

  4. Ask your parents for some money

    Yes, it’s a little cheeky, but if your parents are in a position to financially support you through some part of your university then it can be a big helping hand in allowing you to concentrate on your studies. Just reassure them you’ll do a good job at looking after them when they need you in the future!

  5. Make your own money!

    A student job isn’t for everyone, and there are lots of other ways you can make relatively easy money whilst studying. Lucky for you, we’ve shared lots of them with you in our Quick Cash Injections guide.

Remember! Your loan or funding is just one side of your student budget. Learn our best ways to save money as a student and you’re overall student debt will be slashed!

You can now find out exactly how much university will cost you with our easy student finance calculator.

You made it! Hopefully this guide to the new fees system has given you a clear idea of what it means for you, based on facts not hype. Of course there’s a whole heap of information out there which we wouldn’t want to bore you with, but use this as a launch-pad to send you in the right direction.

If you are looking to apply for student finance, then you might want to read how to apply for student finance.

You’ll no doubt have some questions, so please do ask away below and we promise to give every student a response.

Leave a comment

197 Responses to “The Big Fat Guide to Student Finance 2014”

  1. Melina

    09. Dec, 2014

    Hi, I wasn’t sure if having a zero contract part time job affected student loans so I applied to leave my job in August of 2015. If I reapply for my old job once I am settled in university, what will happen to my loan?

    • Jake Butler

      12. Dec, 2014

      Your “household income” affects the amount of student loan you get. It’s usually based on the previous tax year earnings. If you are under 25 and not totally dependent (apologies as I don’t know your situation) it will most likely be based off your parents so any job you have whilst at uni won’t matter.

  2. Kerri

    07. Dec, 2014

    Hi, my son starts uni in September but I was wondering if he could still apply for a student loan if he has some savings

    • Jake Butler

      07. Dec, 2014

      Yes he can.

  3. Ayesha

    24. Nov, 2014

    Hi, i left my parents house when i was 14 and have been living with my Uncle for 3 years. i have leave my uncle house when i am 18 and i would not be getting any financial helps from my uncle when i go to University. So what support will I get from Student finance.

    thank you

    • Jake Butler

      25. Nov, 2014

      Hi Ayesha, if you were living with your uncle before moving to university then the household income will be calculated from his earnings as far as I’m aware. You will be eligible for support if he earns below the threshold.

  4. Vinod Nair

    14. Nov, 2014

    My daughter lived in this country since she was 2 years till 14.Then she moved abroad due to family reasons while her father and mother were still working in UK and has got a home in UK.She studied abroad for 2 years and moved back to UK and did A levels here.She is a UK citizen.Is she eligible fr Home fees .Will she be considered as a Home student?I read that ‘you must also have been ordinarily resident in the UK and Islands for the full three year period before the first day of the first academic year of the course’.Will that3 years need to immediate previous yaers before they start university or any 3 years in UK.

  5. Faye Sayers

    24. Oct, 2014


    I am now a graduate and have been repaying my loan whilst employed. I recently left my job to be a full time mum. I was wondering, as my husband is financially supporting me, is he required to repay my loan?

    Kind regards


    • Jake Butler

      26. Oct, 2014

      Hi Faye, it should be off your salary alone. Your husband should not be responsible for repaying your student loan.

  6. Jamie

    21. Oct, 2014

    Hi there,
    I’ve already applied for and revived my student finance for this term. I live at home with my parents. I’m due to move out in January. Will I be able to change my household income and get more finance for the rest of the year or will I have to wait until next year?

    • Jake Butler

      22. Oct, 2014

      Hi Jamie, you will not be able to change your household income as it will still be judged on your parents. However, you should be able to receive more loan because you will no longer be living at home. Just notify student finance and your university when you make the move.

  7. Terri

    16. Oct, 2014

    My daughter studied for one year and failed her first year. She was put on another three year degree course (using a gift year). However at the during semester 1 of the new course she became very depressed and felt isolated. We had to collect her from university and she withdraw due to suffering from depression anxiety from the university after completing the first semester. She is now much better and much happier and confident and would like to try university again. I realise she has now used up two years finance and would only receive a further two years but is there any way she would be able to receive a loan to pay for her first year again as it was due to health issues that she withdrew?

    • Jake Butler

      17. Oct, 2014

      Hi Terri, as your daughter has already used up the “gift year” I am unsure as to whether she would be offered another year of extra finance (although she should be in my personal opinion).

      I’d suggest getting in touch with Student Finance or her proposed university’s student services centre to see if there is a possibility that they would allow it.

  8. Maryam

    14. Oct, 2014

    Hi i am applying for unis this year and plan on starting after taking a gap year however i will not be taking a loan to pay the uni fees for personal reasons. As my household income is was less than £25000 i was wondering if despite not taking a loan, would i still be able to apply for a grant or a maintenance loan to help with living costs etc because it would end up costing me around £15000 a year without.

    • Jake Butler

      17. Oct, 2014

      Hi Maryam, you can apply for a maintenance loan/grant even if you are not taking taking out a tuition fee loan.

      • Maryam

        17. Oct, 2014

        Thank you very much!

  9. Daniel

    13. Oct, 2014

    Hi, I started uni this year and I started off just living at home but i didnt realise the cost of travel so I am looking to move down into the halls of my uni but I can not affort to live down there with my current loan, is there anyway I can receive more money so that I am fit to affort it?

    • Jake Butler

      14. Oct, 2014

      Hi Daniel, there won’t be any funding available from your uni for these costs but there’s lots of ways you can make some extra money as a student, the most popular being getting a part-time job.

      • Daniel

        14. Oct, 2014

        is there not extra onto of the student fianace for living away from home?

        • Jem Collins

          14. Oct, 2014

          Hi Daniel,

          You’re right – you do get more student finance if you live “at university” as opposed to “living in halls” to take into account the fact you’re paying for rent, bills, food etc. If you look at the maintenance loan section of our guide you can see the difference –

          The fact you were living at home will have been something you specified on your original student finance application. You can certainly change this when you re-apply for student finance next year but we’re not 100% sure if you can change this status mid-year. How soon were you looking to move into halls?

          The student loans website does, however, say that if you have any change in circumstances you should contact them via phone as soon as possible, so they’ll likely be able to advise you if this kind of change is even possible mid-year. If it is, I expect they’ll want some kind of proof you’ve taken out a room in halls.

          As Jake says, failing this, there are other methods you can use to make money, but speaking to Student Finance should be your first call!

          Hope this helps,


  10. Kerry

    08. Oct, 2014

    My step-daughter has just started at Uni, and is living away from home in fully catered accommodation. As my husband and I earn over the threshold she does not qualify for a full maintenance loan, however, we are not in a position to loan her the remainder of the £3000 (which is quite significant) when you have other household bills and dependents to pay and look after. If she were to register living at her mum’s then she would automatically qualify for the full maintenance grant and loan as her mother earns under the threshold. Could you tell us what our options are. As she is a bright girl, however, we cannot find any other way of trying to fund the extra money, as this needs to be paid in 3 lots of £2,220.

    • Jake Butler

      10. Oct, 2014

      Hi Kerry, it does sound like your step-daughter is in a tricky position. The first thing I’d suggest (as you earn over the threshold) is to look at where you could make any cutbacks to offer any support at all. You might want to read this guide on how much the government “suggest” you should be contributing (

      Obviously there are other ways in which she can get money to help out. The first and most obvious option is a part-time job.

      In regards to changing her finance application to her mothers’ side I think it may be a bit late as she has already applied to finance. It’s also technically not allowed although you might want to look into this further.

  11. KC

    01. Oct, 2014

    Quick but complicated…

    I did a year at MMU on a course which I didn’t quite enjoy. I received finance for this year, tuition fee, maintenance loan and grant.

    I left this university and enrolled at another… Here I have just started my third year (so I am on my fourth university year having messed up the first one.) I have just received my maintenance loan, but no grant. SFE asked me to send in evidence to support my application however I am still waiting for them to process said evidence.

    Do you reckon I will eventually receive my grant? The hotline advisor said she doesn’t know until the evidence has cleared… She seemed optimistic but said she cannot guarantee anything…

    In a nut shell…
    1st year – full finance
    2nd year – full finance
    3rd year – full finace
    4th year – maintenance loan & tuition fee… But no grant (as of yet)

    • Jake Butler

      02. Oct, 2014

      Hi, you should be ok as you have been allowed student finance for an extra year but I believe they do it on a case by case basis. Sorry I can’t give a more definite answer.

  12. Steph

    25. Sep, 2014

    Hi, my question is my daughter started uni this year 2014 and finance was based on income for 2012-2013 – it’s a possibility I may move in with my partner next March 2015. When my daughter reapplies for next years finance (2015-16) we will have to show income for 2013-14. It asks for the house hold income, will I have to include my partners salary as obviously I wasn’t living with him in 2013-14

    • Jake Butler

      01. Oct, 2014

      Hi Steph, as far as I’m aware you will have to apply with both yours and your partner’s income from 2013-14 I’m afraid.

  13. Eloise

    17. Sep, 2014

    Hi Jake, was wondering if you (or anybody else) could help me?

    I have decided to take a gap year and return to university next year as my university will keep my place until next year, I haven’t enrolled yet. What happens to my student finance as I am technically not a student of my uni yet? Will it be transferred to next year or will I have to re-apply?

    • Jake Butler

      18. Sep, 2014

      Hi Eloise, it’s worth noting that all students have to re-apply for finance each year anyway (in case circumstances change). However, it’s not as detailed as when you first apply.

      I’d suggest talking to your uni about what will happen with your finance.

      Lastly, it’s important to remember that if they do start paying you by accident this year that you should NOT spend the money. They can ask for it back.

  14. Sally

    14. Sep, 2014

    We dropped my daughter off at university halls yesterday. She is extremely unhappy with her flat, which is not as we were lead to believe it would be, and is likely to decide that she will not take up her place this year. We would like her to stick it for a bit longer. She has her enrolment for her course tomorrow then a freshers week before studies start. The question is if she does decide not to go this year but has enrolled does that mean she is liable for the £9,000 tuition fees or is there a cut off point later on? If she does go next year to university, there is a chance it will be a different university.Thank you for any help in this.

    • Jake Butler

      15. Sep, 2014

      Hi Sally, it’s a shame that the flat has not lived up to expectations. I would definitely recommend that she tries to stick with it though.

      If your daughter leaves early she may have to pay back some of her maintenance loan as well as some of the tuition fee loan (around 25% of it for first term).

      However, this all depends on the stance that both the uni and student finance take so it might be worth talking to them.

      Should she go back to uni next year I believe there is a “gift year” which you are allowed on top of the usual 3 years so she may be ok in terms of getting finance again.


  15. Simon Farrell

    13. Sep, 2014

    I took some courses with the Open University between 2003 and 2007, but was unable to commit the necessary time to my studies and eventually had to abort altogether due to complications and obligations in my personal life. I did not earn any qualifications or credits with the OU during this time.
    Now, several years later, my circumstances have completely changed and I would like to enrol on a full-time undergraduate course at Birkbeck college, London. Will I be able to access the same range of financial assistance as other new students? Without a tuition loan and some help with maintenance I cannot pursue this aim. I should add that my courses with the OU were entirely self-funded. I have never received any student finance or benefited from a bursary of any sort in the past. This would be my first application for a tuition loan and aid of any sort.
    Any help or advice for me?

    • Jake Butler

      15. Sep, 2014

      Hi Simon, unfortunately even if you self-funded your first course you most likely won’t be eligible for finance when taking a 2nd university course I’m afraid. More details here >

  16. Jane

    11. Sep, 2014

    Hi had to leave University before finishing my last year if a degree five years ago due to illness which left me disabled and have been in and out of hospital. Finials felt I was ready to go back and I thought with the evidence I had, student loans complaint denied me a loan because of previous study. The OU will except the credits I have from previous university but I can’t get a loan and for one module costs £1+k. I have found if you get ill during your degree so many doors are shut and when you have conversations to mainstream universities try to explain the situation and to SLC you are treated not nice and it’s your fault. I will be disabled forever which is not taken in to account – but want a career. There are going to be other students like myself if one has a car crash, fall off ladder may need a career change because retaining a disability during a degree course after, you won’t get any help to get loans or career.

  17. Jane

    11. Sep, 2014

    Hi Jake
    I’m asking on behalf of a friend who is 22 and has been living away from his parents for 3 years, claiming benefits. He has been told that he cannot apply as an independent person because his income was under £7k. Is this true?

    • Jake Butler

      11. Sep, 2014

      Hi Jane, this may be true but I wasn’t aware of the £7k rule. Has your friend been living off the £7k alone without any contribution from parents or otherwise?

  18. Sam

    27. Aug, 2014

    Hi. I’m an EU national that has lived in the UK for 15 years and will be going to uni this year at the age of 18. Would I be eligible for any Maintenance Grants or Loans? Thanks.

    Also, on my Student Finance application it states that I’ve applied for Maintenance Loans and Grants. I am confused. Does this mean I am eligible fot it? Thanks.

    • Jake Butler

      28. Aug, 2014

      Hi Sam, you should be eligible as you are an EU national and are living in the UK as your permanent residency (over 3+ years).

      If you have any concerns I’d suggest contacting Student Finance for a concrete answer.

  19. Tanya peach

    14. Aug, 2014

    Hi, my daughters just been accepted into uni in September. Finanace have been put in place and thought all was sorted, however within the last few weeks situation has changed and I am now on lower income and so is my husband. As its a new job I will not have proof of earnings until end of September but this would mean we will be struggling with fees and settting her up. Don’t wont to let her down

    • Jake Butler

      15. Aug, 2014

      Hi Tanya if there has been a drop of 15% or more in total household income your parents can do a CYI assessment (

      Until then I’m afraid that your daughter will have to use the loan that has been set up in order to fund the beginning of uni.


      • Tanya

        15. Aug, 2014

        Thank you, that is going to be very helpfull. One more question. My daughter has student fees and a small amount of student loan given but no grant. Had can we make up money we where expected to be lgiven through a grant, does she or we now apply for a student loan and where or how do we do this. We have a bad credit rating so will not be able to borrow from a lender and would struggle to find the difference in the money already loaned and what’s actually needed for accommodation and living expenses.

        • Jake Butler

          18. Aug, 2014

          Hi Tanya, if your daughter is indeed in a tight spot I would recommend getting in touch with the student services at her uni so that they can advise the route to take. Ask about the access to learning fund.

          Other things to take advantage of are the 0% student overdraft that the banks offers as well as finding a part-time job to tide her over until/if the grant is given.

  20. Mubeen

    26. Jul, 2014

    Hi there !!
    I am a British citizen and want to apply for student loan for my PGCE can i get a loan my parents are abroad and have no contact so even asking about money is out of the question sadly.

    Looking forward to hear from you soon.

  21. milner

    25. Jun, 2014

    Hi jake,my daughter has failed her 2nd year in uni,will student finance pay for her to resit her 2nd year,thanks.

    • Jake Butler

      26. Jun, 2014

      Hi, student finance usually allow one bonus year for situations such as your daughter’s. I would suggest letting them know and double checking that your daughter is still eligible (she should be).


  22. lorraine

    24. Jun, 2014

    Are your parents savings also used to determine how much loan you get.

    • Jake Butler

      25. Jun, 2014

      Hi Lorraine, as far as I’m aware the student loans company will take into account the interest amounts from the savings accounts. Basically any taxable income is taken into account.

      I hope that helps.


  23. jack

    22. Jun, 2014

    Hello I have been doing my 3 year course at uni and have had to defer my diss for a 4th year 2014/15. I wish to know how to apply for course fee’s this 4th year if I am just doing my diss and living with parents?

    All I can find is applying for a new course, but it is the same course just another year, I entered uni in 2011 when course fee’s were closer to £3k not £9k, does my fee’s stay at same rate?

    Thanks for your time

    Jack George

    • Jake Butler

      25. Jun, 2014

      Hi Jack, I believe that you may not be able to get funding for this third year. However, as your case is quite unique I would recommend giving student finance a call as they should be able to advise you on what you may be able to receive.


  24. Lauren

    17. Jun, 2014

    Hi there,

    I have recently received a letter from student finance stating the amount that I will be entitled to (I start in September of this year). This is as follows: 7,500 to be paid to my university, 3,610 to be paid to me as a maintenance loan. However, I am studying in Wales, and will be living in halls as my current address is in the South East of England. Therefore I also applied for the maintenance grant, as I will have to support myself at uni due to my current household income being well below the 25,000 marker.

    What I am asking is, am I not entitled to the maintenance grant or did the application just somehow not go through? I don’t know whether information for the loans would have been in one letter and maybe the grant would be in another. Really in a pickle! Any advice would be much appreciated. Many thanks.

  25. Alison

    15. Jun, 2014

    Hi, I have a 16 yr old who wants to study at uni from sept 2016, he is a British citizen by birth, passport holder etc . we have lived abroad on work permits expat status since 2009 , in India for 5 years and now in Australia on a temp work visa till 2017, so we haven’t left permanently and we still maintain a home and bank accounts in the uk. Will he be eligible for student finance?

  26. steve

    09. Jun, 2014

    sorry if this subject has been done…. my daughter has completed student finance applications and based on our household income she will get a grant c1700 GBP. IF I chose to pay here rent and not take the full maintenance loan would this affect her qualification to a grant?
    I have read extensively on the benefits of the loans and not to repay using cash you can use for other things but I struggle with debt being good. I estimate if you earn c31k in year 1 and then get 3% RPI for 30 years you would reply c45k which is the amount she would borrow over 3 years? am i mad to want to pay something now?
    thanks in advance

  27. Ian

    09. Jun, 2014

    As of the last few days of March 2014, Student Finance now have new 0300 telephone numbers.

    Calls to 03 numbers cost the same as calling 01 and 02 numbers and count towards inclusive allowances on landlines and mobiles.

  28. steve

    09. Jun, 2014

    Hi Jake
    My query is- my daughter qualifies for a maintenance loan and a small grant based on declared household income. can you accept a reduced loan- ( with myself payng the difference out of savings) and still get the full grant amount qualified for? Any FREE money would be daft to ignore.
    I accept and understand the loan advantages regards low interest rates and repayment terms but as savings rates are so low i am considering using funds to pay fees/living costs. A rough calc i made was that you would need to start on c£32kpa and get a RPI rise for 30 years to pay back c£45k over 30 years which is the same as paying £45k.Am i mad? Thanks in advance

  29. Manuel

    04. Jun, 2014

    Hi all, I have another tricky one…

    What is the situation for EU students who have changed their mind during their degree at their home country? A lot of people make the wrong choice when they are 18 and have to choose what to do at uni when they are not sure. Once they finish this degree they find themselves without knowing what to do with their lives but they realise that what they really would love to do is something waaay different (e.g. going from a BSc Biology to a MEng Mechanical). It is stated in that you may still get finance if, for example: you change course, but I haven´t found more information! How does the international equivalence component affect? Does it influence at all if what you studied was a BSc (without honours) and you´d like to pursue a MEng?

    My apologies for the lengthy post and many thanks in advance for your selfless help!

  30. Cristina

    31. May, 2014

    Hi. My question is will I be entitled for a student loan if I have a bachelor degree in Romania and I want to apply for a master degree at Brunel university? Thank you

    • Jake Butler

      02. Jun, 2014

      Hi Cristina, finding funding for a masters degree is different from undergraduate and most students are expected to fund themselves. I would get in touch with Brunel to ask if there are any grants or bursaries you could take advantage of.

  31. Ann

    29. May, 2014

    I’m a parent my daughter hopes to start her course in September 2014. Her maintainence loan doesn’t even cover her accommodation costs. Any advice re legal ways of supporting her appreciated.

    • Jake Butler

      30. May, 2014

      Hi Ann, as we found in this years national student money survey the majority of students don’t have their costs covered by their maintenance loan.

      There’s a few ways to make up the difference:

      – if you earn below the maintenance grant threshold your daughter should get extra funding
      – if you earn above the threshold it’s suggested that you should help with costs
      – she can try to secure a part-time job while at uni (a popular choice for most students)
      – other forms of credit such as the student bank account overdrafts are available
      – more riskier forms of credit such as credit cards, bank loans etc.

      I hope this helps you a little.


      • Ann

        30. May, 2014

        Thanks Jake, helpful advice.
        Many sites mention the “bank of mum & dad” but don’t then explain the best way to give support, the rules about gifts to children are a bit of a minefield where taxation is concerned.

  32. Jacqueline

    24. May, 2014

    I am a student who started before September 2012 my college made us leave students finance of Wales which was cheaper, to Chester which a much higher cost for validation is £200 more. The tuition fee the college is charging (not Chester) is charging us under to the cover front of inflation is £2015 more they have also added £student rep council £50. The total tuition fee is £5115.00 student finance England will only pay £3354.00 and I am expected to find the rest. I don’t think it is fair to change the goal post when someone as already started the course. I told them that I cannot afford to pay this? I still await to see the outcome in the mean time if anyone as any advise please share. Thanks

  33. Martin

    20. May, 2014

    Hi Jake

    My daughter started Uni in Sept 2012 and got the usual loans etc. She did not get a maint. grant as our earnings were above the threshold. In January 2013 my wife & I moved abroad to live & work so I no longer have a UK income. My daughter reckons there might be a chance that for her final year (start Sept 14) she can get a maint. grant as my UK income has dropped more than 15% thus I can do a current year assessment. However I’ve looked at the forms & there is a section asking for foreign income so my assumption is that even though I am now not a UK resident that I have to declare my foreign income (which is still above the threshold) and therefore she will not get a grant. Any advice welcomed.

    • Jake Butler

      21. May, 2014

      Hi Martin,

      I would assume that to stop fraudulent activity the student loans company would have to take into account earnings from abroad.


  34. Claire

    14. May, 2014

    My son has applied for uni this September. I have today looked at the student finance situation and was shocked to see that my boyfriends financial situation will be taken into account. We live together but he has never financially contributed towards my son and has firmly stated that he will not assist me with this in the future. With both mine and my boyfriends income coming to approx 70k I will financially be responsible for a huge amount each month to top up his rent and living costs as my boyfriend will not contribute. Please advise if there is anything I can do to get this situation changed or what do I need to provide as evidence that his salary should not be taken into account?..
    Thanking you in anticipation

    • Jake Butler

      15. May, 2014

      Hi Claire,

      It is unfortunate that it works this way. People who took advantage in the past have ruined it for others…

      Student finance sometimes (although I cannot guarantee) look into singular cases such as this. As far as I’m aware you would have to prove that your boyfriend does not contribute towards the house or you in anyway (eg mortgage, bills etc).

      I suppose the reasoning from student finance is that he is indirectly contributing through yourself.

      I hope that makes things a little clearer.

  35. Kirsty

    01. May, 2014

    Im currently on a leave of absence from my course after finishing the first year, i want to change my application for student finance after a change of circumstances (i am now married).
    Will the fact that my husband is a non-UK or non- EU citizen impact my application? He is a French resident though, if that makes any difference. It is his income from 2012-13 that will be assessed for my maintenance grant/loan applications and during that period he did not live in the EU and had no income. As I understand, because he doesn’t have a UK NI number he will be required to provide documents to prove his income, but how can he prove no income??

    Thank you!

    • Jake Butler

      20. May, 2014

      Hi Kirsty,

      I am actually unsure of what to do in this particular situation. I would recommend getting in touch with The Student Loans Company in order to find out what the right course of action would be.


  36. al

    27. Mar, 2014

    My wife is a phd student with a tax free bursary. Can I transfer any of her tax free allowance to my income?

    • Jake Butler

      20. May, 2014

      Hi Al, I would assume not but I cannot be 100% sure. You will have to check with Student finance.

  37. Caitlin

    20. Feb, 2014

    I applied online for student finance and submitted my application, done and dusted; my mother just needs to support my application.

    The problem is, after making an online account for my mother, it refused to cooperate and basically, things just wouldn’t work with her account. So we are going to send her bit in paper.

    My question is:
    If I have already submitted my application online, and they receive my mother’s support in paper, will it still count? Will they still recognise it? I’m really worried that they might see my online account completed, and assume she will support it online too.

    It may be an irrational worry, but I really need an answer or peace of mind.

    So, if my application has been sent online and her support is in paper, will they still recognise it?

    • Jake Butler

      20. Feb, 2014

      Hi Caitlin,

      I wish I could give you a solid answer but I’m not actually sure on this one.

      I would always suggest doing the whole thing as a paper application or the whole thing online.

      The best thing to do would be to ring student finance and ask them whether they would merge the two or if they’ll fix the online issue.

  38. Mark Gunston

    13. Feb, 2014

    Hi Jake,

    I have been offered a place at Uni starting 2014 but will require the loans and grants to pay for it. I am a mature student and have worked abroad on seasonal contracts (skiing and windsurfing) on and off over the past 32 years.
    My current address in UK is a friends house that I use for post and banking though I do not live there. I have not worked in UK over the past 3 years, only abroad, and when I have been in UK between seasons I have stayed at various friends houses and not signed on. I have always earnt less than £10K pa so have not paid tax. Can I still get finance?

    • Jake Butler

      13. Feb, 2014

      Hi Mark,

      This is very tricky and I would advise contacting student finance to ask them whether you’d be able to claim any finance at all.

      There’s more on it here >

      I hope this helps.

      • Mark Gunston

        15. Feb, 2014

        Hi Jake, my offer from Student Finance just came through and I am eligible which is a huge relief. It would seem that as long as you are a UK resident and have an address in UK, it is ok if you have worked abroad for more than 3 months at a time. That makes sense as I have worked with lots of young windsurfing and sailing teachers who have travelled and worked for extended periods abroad before going to Uni.

        • Jake Butler

          16. Feb, 2014

          Hi Mark, that’s great news and thanks for keeping me updated. Means I can help others in similar situations in future. Best of luck at uni!

  39. Ian Kilpatrick

    03. Feb, 2014

    Hi Jake,

    My son starts Uni in September. For the year they want our household income my wife received Disability Living Allowance and Carer’s Allowance for him. The DLA is non-taxable so I assume is not included in our income, but the CA is taxable. Do you know if this needs to be included?


    • Jake Butler

      03. Feb, 2014

      Hi Ian,

      Congrats on your son starting uni this year! I envy him.

      As far as I’m aware, you are correct that the carer’s allowance is taken into account whereas the DLA isn’t.

      Hope that clears everything up.


  40. Daisy Hancell

    29. Jan, 2014

    Hello, I attended university this year and left because I didn’t agree with the ethics of the course and I have applied again for next year on a different course. In 2008 I was accepted onto a course and enrolled but as I moved away did not attend any classes and my tuition fees were refunded back to SFE. I emailed them to check I would be eligible for 3 years worth of funding but they said that I would not be entitled to the first year. Is there any way around this? I didn’t attend the first time and have no outstanding tuition fees with the uni or SFE. Daisy

    • Jake Butler

      29. Jan, 2014

      Hi Daisy,

      Thanks for getting in touch :)

      Did you receive any funding (either in 2008 or this year) that you didn’t pay back to Student Finance?

      If you received funding for your studies this year then this would be the reason that you unfortunately wouldn’t be allowed funding for the first year of the course that you will be starting next year, if that makes sense.

      If this is not the case then I would strongly suggest calling SFE and arguing your case. I believe as a blanket rule that they must discount you for a year’s funding if you’ve already received some.


      • Daisy Hancell

        29. Jan, 2014

        Hello, thank you for your reply.

        I did receieve funding this year but my tuition fees for 2008 were fully refunded to SFE. If I’m unable to get my first years funding, could I get full funding for a 2 year course?

        Thanks for your help.

        • Jake Butler

          29. Jan, 2014

          Hi Daisy,

          As far as I’m aware, because you received and used funding this year, that is why they will not let you claim for another first yeat.

          I am unsure as to the situation for a 2 year course.


  41. Jenny Mahmoud

    15. Jan, 2014

    Hi Jake,

    My son is a British Citizen, born in the UK but has been abroad for the past 12 years due to my international teaching job. He is turning 16 and would very much like to study A-Levels and eventually University in the UK. Since I am still on contract for another year I will be unable to join him but he can stay with family members there. I have read all of the comments regarding being in the UK for 3 years prior to going to University but does this also apply to under 18 further education? Also, would it make any difference if he applied to a college or a sixth form within a school?
    I stopped receiving Child Benefit when we first moved away as I notified them that we were leaving and we seem to have lost all of our entitlements. We visit my family in the UK every summer and are registered at my parent’s address. I also have a bank account there.
    It doesn’t seem fair that so many people cheat the system and yet those who are honest are penalised.

    Please advise.

  42. nelly

    10. Jan, 2014

    my course is due to start in september and i will be roughly three years by october 14th, the thing is i am british citizen but lived abroad all my life but came back in 2011 october . i just got an unconditional offer and i am dreaming of uni ever since. do i qualify for nhs bursary or assistance of any kind. no one seems to be of help in the students finance department concerning this issue. i dont see why i wont be eligible, its just some days difference into 3 years

    • Jake Butler

      12. Jan, 2014

      Hi Nelly,

      Unfortunately it sounds like you will just miss out on gaining student finance by about a month.

      The terms state that you must have been living in the UK for at least 3 years before the start date of your course.

      Student Finance England should be able to help you further if you give them a ring but as far as I can see you will not be eligible for some types of funding in this academic year.


  43. osman

    01. Jan, 2014

    Hi jake
    I am a UK citizen but I lived all my life abroad
    M I eligible for student finance?

    • Jake Butler

      06. Jan, 2014

      Hi Osman,

      I would suggest double checking with student finance but from my own knowledge you can only apply for UK finance if you have been living in the UK for at least 3 years prior to attending university.

      Hope that helps.


  44. Inga

    09. Nov, 2013

    Good time of the day, Jake!
    Thank you for a useful site.

    I have a double citizenship (Russia and Estonia), have finished russian school and for family circumstances live in Russia now.
    The question is: Am i eligible for a student loan? Because I heard something like ‘you must be living in EU for last 3 years’..
    I am confused.

  45. MARTA

    07. Nov, 2013

    Hi Jake,

    Thank you for answering. It is Open University, so distance learning and they take care of everything when you study abroad.

    The thing is I get conflicting information and is not clear at all in advisory literature from Student Finance, as well. You only know that you have to be resident “before” and “on the first day of the academic year of a course”. If Student Finance would not honour subsequent re-applications because I have moved broad after that I feel it would be misleading and people make serious commitments relying on this info.
    I am going to try and dig a little deeper into this issue. I realy would like to study, but I need this flexibility at the moment as well, so I really hope that your understanding which is the same as mine is correct.

    Best wishes, Marta.

    • Jake Butler

      07. Nov, 2013

      Hi Marta,

      I think the best course of action would be to simply call Student Finance and talk to a representative.

      Do not put down the phone until you have a definite answer.


  46. MARTA

    05. Nov, 2013

    Hi, I hope you can help. I am resident in UK (England) and want to study for an undergraduate degree part -time with the OU. What will happen if I move abroad to another EU country during my studies. Will I be able to get “top -up” on my student loan after moving to live abroad?

    And continue my study there.

    • Jake Butler

      06. Nov, 2013

      Hi Marta,

      I’m afraid that I’m not sure of the rulings here.

      I would assume that you would still receive your student loan despite moving abroad.

      However, I would guess that you’d still have to attend exams, lectures & seminars in the UK which would be a little tricky.


  47. Sophie

    12. Oct, 2013

    I am studying the BSc Medical Imaging Course (diagnostic radiography) . I failed my first year, and am now repeating first year again. However, NHS won’t fund my course for this year, but will pay for the second and third year. I have contacted Student Loans Company, and they said because my course is tied to the NHS, I am not entitled to getting a tuition fee loan. I have also contacted Barclay’s about the Career/Professional Development loan, which is really difficult to obtain. Also, my parents are not able to fund me. I was wondering what I can do in the difficult situation I am in, as I really want to stay on this course, but do not have enough money to pay for my tuition fees for this year. Thank you.

    • Jake Butler

      14. Oct, 2013

      Hi Sophie,

      It does sound like you are in quite a niche situation. From the information you’ve supplied it sounds like it won’t be possible for you to gain any funding from the government or other similar sources.

      I would highly recommend talking to your parents about how much they could support you if at all. It’s not ideal but you may have to look into a standard bank loan in order to fund this year of study!

      Hope that helps.


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