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Starting uni or college this September? The deadline you shouldn’t forget

Are you starting university or college as an undergraduate in September 2015 and live in England? Don’t forget you need to apply for student finance by this Sunday 31 May – or risk your money being late.

Full-time students can apply for a tuition fee loan to help pay fees, and loans and grants to help with living costs.

If the costs are disconcerting you, here is our breakdown of what you are entitled to – and what happens when it comes to paying them back.

Student loans – the basics

Tuition fees –

Each uni or higher education college will charge an annual tuition fee, which are now up to £9,000 a year. The amount they charge varies and depends on where you live now and where you want to study. For example, if your home nation is Scotland and you wish to study in Scotland, there is no tuition fee.

Tuition fees may be subsidised in  Northern Ireland and Wales for undergraduates.

Tuition fees are paid directly to your university or college.


Maintenance loans and grants –

Higher education isn’t just about paying for your tuition. You will also need to consider living costs, such as travel, accommodation and food.

Maintenance grants and loans are available to help out with this for every year you study. They are paid into your student account at the start of every term (monthly in Scotland).

The maximum amount you can claim or borrow is dependent on factors such as what UK country you are from and where you’ll be living during your studies. If you are applying for a maintenance grant, your household income will also be taken into consideration.

When we asked our Tell MA Community what they thought about their student loans, most who went to university saw the resulting debt as worth it due to prospects, life experience and friendship circles.

There are four different student finance agencies according to your nation.

These are Student Finance England; Student Awards Agency for Scotland; Student Finance Wales and Student Finance NI.

Student loan repayments – the when and how

Once you graduate and earn over a certain salary threshold, you will need to start paying back your student loans.

These are repaid automatically through the tax system and stop once you’ve paid them off. The earliest you will start to pay them back is 6 April after you leave university or college.

If you are starting your studies this year and are studying in England and Wales, your earnings threshold is currently £21,000. If you study elsewhere in the UK, the current threshold is £16,910. However, it is worth noting these may change by the time you come to graduate.

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