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Articles > Money September, 10, 2020

Student Finance explained…

Edward Leggett
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7.13 / 10

A big area of concern for many prospective students is what the finances available would be at university. Maintenance loan, grants, tuition fees; there is a lot to think about! With this blog post, I hope to describe the process about student finance, to try and make it a bit less daunting.

Loans for students in England are provided by Student Finance England (SFE)

Their website has lots more information and how to apply can be found here: ( On this page, you will have to register and answer some questions about your personal details, parent’s details, your income and the course and university details. This takes around 30 minutes. Your parents are then be sent an email to confirm their income and the amount of finance you receive can be calculated. SFE states that after they have this information, the process takes 6-8 weeks, but can sometimes take longer. The earlier you apply, the better!

The finance you will receive is broken into two parts:

The Tuition Fees and the Maintenance Loan.

Both are loans, not grants, meaning that they have to be paid back after you finish university when you start earning money through employment. The current figure you pay is 9% for anything over the threshold of £25,725 per year. As an example, if you earn £28,800 in the year after graduating, you will pay just £23 a month. After 30 years since graduating, the balance is written off. It may seem like a huge amount of money initially but when broken down, it seems a lot less.

The tuition fees

This covers the amount paid for your course. The maximum that universities charge is £9,250, so this is the maximum amount of tuition fees you are able to apply for. This is the same amount for every student at that university, so everyone can get this amount. It is provided by Student Finance England and is paid directly to the university; it never even touches your bank account.

The maintenance loan

You receive this into your bank account and is used for living costs. Such as rent, food, going out, travel and course material. It is your money to spend on what you need but it is important to use it wisely as you will need to cover all bills when they fall due. This is the part that’s value depends on parental income; it is ‘means-tested’. Each individual has their personal situation calculated by special algorithms and calculations, and you find out the amount you will receive in a letter which is sent in the post.

Despite your household income, everyone applying for finance is eligible to receive a minimum (as of March 2020) of £4289. There is an additional amount you can apply for however this is dependent on whether you live with your parents, away from home in London or away from home outside of London (and a number of other factors). This additional loan amount can be up to £7,721 (if you are studying away from home, in London). All of these figures change at the start of each tax year and vary by individual circumstances and parental income. Below are links to a really useful Student Finance Guide and a Student Finance Calculator.


Student Finance Guide –

Calculator –

I completely get that this may still seem like a lot of numbers, but I hope that this breakdown has made it a bit clearer as to exactly what Student Finance is and what amounts you may be eligible for!

If you enjoyed this article and found it useful, let us know in the comments below!
You may also enjoy these articles about student life:

The Brutal Reality of Starting University

5 survival tips for a first-generation student

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