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Funding your degree

Funding an undergraduate degree

The current loans system for Higher Education qualifications was introduced in the UK in 2012. It is now usual for UK students to take out one loan for tuition fees, and often another to pay for living costs (accommodation/travel/food/bills etc.) which is called a Maintenance Loan.

The maximum charge for the tuition fees of an undergraduate course in England and Wales is £9,000 and almost all English and Welsh universities charge this. There is more variation in Scottish and N Irish institutions, but this depends on which part of the UK you live in. You should also be aware that interest will be added to your loan, at the rate of 3% from the time you receive the first payment. This is adjusted after graduation, depending on your annual earnings.

Scholarships may be available at some universities, and occasionally potential employers may offer funding that is tied to working for them for an agreed period of time after your degree. In general, sponsorship for undergraduate degrees is rare.

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Applying for a student loan

You should apply for a loan from the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills.

The Tuition fees loan will be paid directly to your university or collage in 3 installments over each year; maintenance loans are paid at the same intervals but directly into your bank account. Once up and running, your loans are looked after by the Student Loans Company. The Student Loans Company works with Student Finance England, Student Finance Wales, the Student Awards Agency for Scotland, the Education and Library boards in Northern Ireland, Higher Education Institutions and HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), to provide student support in the UK.

The repayment of a student loan is calculated using your earnings after graduation. If you move straight into a well-paid job it is likely that your new salary will trigger the start of you repayment, from the April after you finish or leave university. In 2015, earning less than £21,000 will mean that repayment is postponed; but once you earn more, 9% of anything you earn above £21,000 will be deducted through the PAYE system if you are ‘employed’.  

For comprehensive information on student finances and a whole range of other topics besides, see the Complete University Guide website.

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