How much do you know about the financial support for young people in higher education?

As a parent/carer, it may be useful to understand how student finance can support students in their application to further studies.

When applying to UCAS, they will also be able to apply for a tuition fee loan and a maintenance loan. Student Finance England is the support provider for students enrolled in a higher education qualification and will be the primary financial aid source.

The current cost of an undergraduate degree in the UK is up to £9,250 a year*. The tuition fee will cover this, and Student Finance England will directly pay the university for every year you apply for finance. This means that students will never have to worry about this as it will all be done automatically! To receive this every year, they will need to re-enrol to renew their student status and update their household income.

Students can also apply for a maintenance loan, which can help with costs such as accommodation, travel, and study resources. This is worked out through their household income. The current figures for the maximum maintenance loan through Student Finance England is listed below;

2019 to 2020 academic year2020 to 2021 academic year
Living at homeUp to £7,529Up to £7,747
Living away from home, outside LondonUp to £8,944Up to £9,203
Living away from home, in LondonUp to £11,672Up to £12,010
You spend a year of a UK course studying abroadUp to £10,242Up to £10,539

(Taken from https://www.gov.uk/student-finance/new-fulltime-students)

This loan will be different for each student depending on their circumstances and requires information from parents/carers regarding their income. As seen above, it will also depend on where the student chooses to live during their studies. Unlike the tuition loan, the maintenance payments will be paid directly to students and provide financial support for them through their time studying higher education.


Now you might be worried about the term ‘loan,’ as this means they will need to pay this money back. But there is no need to panic as there is a straightforward repayment system.

Firstly, a student will not be required to pay their loan back unless they earn £26,575 or more a year, £2,214 a month, or £511 a week (before deductions)*. And even then, they will only pay 9% of their income that is over the threshold, monthly.

An example given on the UCAS website shows if they earn £2,250 a month, they will repay £3 a month. This is because £2,250 is £36 above the monthly threshold of £2,214, and 9% of £36 is £3.

Even when they begin earning an amount high enough to begin repayments, it is only a very small percentage, and any outstanding loan balance will be cancelled 30 years from leaving higher education.

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*Current figure for course fees in the UK as of 2020

*Current model for Student Finance England loan repayments as of 2020