Warning: Late repayment can cause you serious money problems. For help, go to moneyadviceservice.org.uk
14 May 2018

Loan Options for Students

There are a number of different ways you can receive funding in order to complete your university education or simply get along whilst undertaking your studies. Whether you are full-time or part-time, or undertaking undergraduate or postgraduate studies, there will be a suitable student loan option for you to help you cover both tuition fees and living costs.

Many students often look towards payday loans and other short-term finance arrangements in order to see them through their studies with regards to the everyday living costs associated with being a part or full-time student in the UK. However, there are a number of different loan options for students available and knowing exactly what applies to which kinds of students can be a great help in choosing the best loan for your specific needs and requirements.

Before jumping in and committing to a specific loan agreement, it always proves worthwhile to look at and assess some of the different forms of funding that are available to you, which can help you to have the very best university experience that you can with as little stress and monetary worries as is possible.


Government Tuition Fee loans


If you are a full-time UK undergraduate student, you will most likely be able to apply for a tuition fee loan from Student Finance England. The amount you can apply for is up to £9250 for 2018. This loan is paid directly to the university at the beginning of each year of study. If you are a dental or medical student, you may also be able to acquire additional help in order to help you fund the costs associated with attending placements as part of your degree programme.

In terms of paying this loan back, repayments start once you begin earning more than the threshold of £21,000 per year. Repayments taken amount to just 9% of your total income above this amount.

If you are a part-time student and your course will be starting after 1st August 2018, you may qualify for a tuition fee loan, but this will depend on what the GOV.UK website defines as the ‘course intensity’ of the specific studies you are undertaking.  This equates to at least 25% or more and is based on how much of the course you complete in each academic year compared to if it was full-time. If eligible, you may be able to receive a loan for tuition fees of up to £6,935.


Student Maintenance Loans


This type of loan is to help students cover living costs as opposed to the cost of the degree or course being undertaken. This kind of maintenance loan may also provide an alternative to short term loans online, being tailored specifically for the needs of students. Your household income as well as the location where you are studying may be factored in when it comes to the amount you receive. For example, those living in London may receive up to £11,002 (in line with London’s higher living costs) whereas elsewhere in the country, you can apply for a maintenance loan of up to around £8,430.

If you are unsure as to the types of government loans you could receive over your time at university, you can always take a look at the student finance calculator on the government website to give you an estimation.


Student Bursaries

Many universities and charitable trusts across the UK offer bursaries to help students. Bursaries by their very nature, do not need to be repaid, but in order to receive one you will usually need to meet certain eligibility criteria, for example, many bursaries and grants are intended and designated for students on lower incomes and those coming from lower income families. To check if you may be eligible for one in the UK, it is worth looking at the Turn2us grant search website.

Postgraduate Masters Loan

It is possible to get a government funded masters loan in the UK. However, the funding system works differently if you reside in Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland. This loan can help to cover living costs and the often-costly masters course. You can receive a loan of up to £10,280. These loans are not means tested or credit checked; however, it is important to remember that many masters courses alone cost around this amount, without taking into account any additional living costs.

Professional and Career Development Loans

If you are considering doing a postgraduate course but are trying to find funding in order to make it happen, it may be worth researching these specific types of loans available for those undertaking career development through studying. These are bank loans that are given to students in order to help progress their career and they are usually available at a reduced interest rate compared to other types of loans available on the market.

The government will also pay the interest on the loan whilst you are studying. However, you will be expected to pay the debt and the interest accrued within a month of the course ending. If you are considering applying you will need to apply two months before your course starts but no further ahead than this, as your application will be declined

Studentships Funding

Studentships are usually postgraduate positions that have funding available to help with both living costs (in the form of a stipend) and fees. They may also include help with training, travel and placements and the borrowed amount does not need to be paid back unless you leave your PhD early. This type of funding is usually provided by Research Councils UK for those doing PhD study to help support academic research at university.

There are seven Research Councils in the UK across a number of subjects with a budget between them of around £3 billion. To apply for a studentship, you do not apply for funding from the Research Council directly, but instead contact your chosen university.

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Warning: Late repayment can cause you serious money problems. For help, go to moneyadviceservice.org.uk