Guide to Student FInance

Learn everything you need to know about student finance here!

by | Last updated 25th Apr, 2017

Student Finance can be long, tiring and confusing road, just to get to paying £9,000 a year! But we have your backs. We’ve tried to think of everything Student and everything Student Finance and we have it all here for you to take advantage of.

There’s so many rules and terms to figure out and especially to know how to max out the financing you get! But hopefully after all the in’s and out’s below you will be a power house Student Finance expert or at least know a bit more than you did 5 minutes ago.

What Is Student Finance?

Student Finance began in 1998 with students been given a £1000 loan for their course fees. The current tuition fees are now currently at a max of £9,000 and we do mean currently, as between 2006-2010 the fees were at only £3,000! BEWARE that in 2017-2018 the fees could possibly rise to £9250.
Applying to student Finance
1. How To Apply

Full-time and Part-time students can apply online for student finance at finance

Student finance is supplied by the UK government and Student Finance England.

To apply;

  1. Set up a student finance account online at student-finance
  2. Log in and complete the online application
  3. Make sure you give clear details of your household income. Your parents, partner or caregivers may need to give you support to help you with these details.
  4. Proof of identity (typically a passport) may be needed.
  5. Sign and return the loan declaration, which you should receive within 6 weeks.

If you cannot apply online;

Use the form finder found on student-finance to get the forms you need. Make sure you select the forms for the correct year and course type.

You will have to apply for finance for every university year. To apply just log back onto your student finance account and fill out the necessary forms.

2. When To Apply


You can apply for the 2015 to 2016 and 2016 to 2017 academic years. The deadline is 9 months after the first day of the academic year for your course.

You don’t need a confirmed place to apply.


When your course startsFirst day of the academic year for your courseDeadline for
Between 1st August and 31st December1st September31st May
Between 1st January and 31st March1st January31st September
Between 1st April and 30th June1st April31st December
Between 1st July and 31st July1st July31st March
The Guide
1.The Loan

The maximum maintenance loan you can receive as a full time student is as follows:

  • Living at home
    • Up to £6,904
  • Living away from home, outside London
    • Up to £8,200
  • Living away from home, in London
    • Up to £10,702
  • You spend a year of a UK course studying abroad
    • Up to £9,391

As this it still a loan, you will have to repay all costs received. However, don’t worry just yet. You don’t have to start paying your student loan back until you have graduated and are earning over £21,000 per annumIf you earn below £21,000 per annum you will not have to make any repayments, and the debt will be written off after 30 years.

Don’t think going abroad will stop you from repaying! Your employer will deduct the repayment costs from your salary automatically as stated by law. There is a difference between England, Northern Ireland and Wales Student Finance, so do check the correct options for your University choice.

It is important that you read all of the small print, so you fully understand what you are signing up to. It is all subject to change, so nothing is 100% set in stone.

2. What Costs Are There As A Student?

The biggest cost is your tuition fees, with over 70% of universities charging the full £9,000. 

The second cost, which will have the biggest effect on your bank account during your student life, is the living costs.

  • Accommodation
  • Bills
  • Transport
  • Social Life
  • Food
  • The new iPhone you can’t live without
  • General living costs 

Finally, the main cost that people generally forget about are course costs. Here we mean all costs associated with getting you through your day to day lectures, seminars and tutorials. Books, pens, folders, paper, printing and generally all material costs to keep you fighting through.

3. How Do I Get The Highest Amount Of Maintenance Loan?

Well, the truth is, you have no real control of what you get. It highly depends on your current household income. The more your parents or guardians earn, the less student finance will give you.

Student Finance assume that they will support you through your degree. Make sure you ask early if your parents have the ability to support you or if they will and by how much?

Start practising those puppy dog eyes!

4. Disabled Students Allowances (DSA)
If you have a disability that may affect your daily life, you may be entitled to DSA. It’s worth checking, as you may be given extra finance to assist you.
5. If You Need Extra Funds 
If you are from a low income household, have a disability, or are a caregiver (someone counts on you financially or for assistance), your university welfare team may be able to help you with finance. Many universities have a scheme where they keep cash to one side to help a selected amount of students with low households incomes. Contact your respective university as soon as you can! There may be only a limited number of funds available.
6. How Much Do I Repay Back To Student Finance?

Your employer will take repayments of 9% from your salary where you are earning (before tax) above the weekly or monthly threshold. The threshold is:

  • £404 a week
  • £1,750 a month
  • £21,000 a year

This all works out to be:

Annual income (before tax):Monthly salary:
Monthly Repayment:
Up to £21,000£1,750£0

It may seem like you are taking out a large loan, but the repayments are very small. Do remember if you ever fall under the £21,000 threshold, the repayments will stop until you reach the threshold again.

7. The Small Print

Firstly, you still have to pay tax whilst you repay your loan.

It is important to know that income tax is not just your weekly or monthly salary, it is any money you make i.e. work benefits and bonuses, profit from self-employment, savings interest, pension and even state benefits (unless you have tax-free incomes or savings such as an ISA).

Taking out a student loan will not affect your credit rating, contrary to belief, and as the repayments are tied to your earnings, you will not have to worry about not being able to repay them.

However, if you do not repay your bank account overdraft (if you are in one) after your student account finishes, this may affect your credit rating.

Student finance might sound great at this point, especially as the repayments are not unrealistic or too difficult to meet. Now the nasty backdoor small print you didn’t read. All these terms for repayment can be changed at any time, if its deemed fit to do so.

8. Is It All Worth It?

As high as a loan may be, and it may take a long time to repay, but the student loan will probably the best loan you will ever take out. With fixed repayments, that are in-line with your earnings, you will not have to fear about not being able to repay it. University is a big stepping stone towards your dream career, and will give you so many memories and experiences to cherish for life!

However, it is worth mentioning that not all job roles require a university degree, and it may be worth checking to see if there are any other routes into your desired field before you take out a large loan that may not help you in the long run.

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