Funding your degree

Universities and colleges can charge up to a maximum of £9,250 per year in tuition fees for an undergraduate course in England and up to £9,000 per year in Wales. There is more variation in Scottish and Northern Irish institutions, but this depends on which part of the UK you live in.

Funding an undergraduate degree

The current loans system for Higher Education qualifications was introduced in the UK in 2012. UK students usually take out a Tuition Fees Loan to cover fees, and a Maintenance Loan for living costs (such as accommodation, food and bills). Disabled students and those with children or adult dependants may be eligible for additional allowances / grants.

Interest is added to your loan from the time you receive the first payment, at the rate of RPI plus 3%. 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 Education.

The Tuition Fees Loan is paid directly to your university in three instalments 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 your repayment, from the April after you finish university. Earning less than the repayment threshold (£21,000 in 2017) means that repayment is postponed. 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 finance and other topics, see the Complete University Guide website.

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