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Applying for Student Finance

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  • University Advice

If you are entering higher education you may be eligible for help with your tuition fees, living costs and travel. This is known as Student Finance and is lead by Student Finance England Service by the government.

When should I apply for Student Finance?
You should start the registration process just before A Level results day to get everything prepared. Once you have received your results and secured a place at university, you can add a university and a course onto your application. Visit the Directgov website to start your application.

Can I apply for Student Finance through UCAS?
UCAS is just for you to apply to potential universities of study, Student Finance is a separate application.

Are all university courses paid for after I have attended?
No, there are some courses for which you have to pay an application fee, this will be stated on the form when you apply. Courses which may require a fee include teacher training and performing arts, performing arts courses may also require you to pay an audition fee.

What am I entitled to?
Tuition Fee Loans: These loans cover your tuition fees – how much your course actually costs to take. If your course costs £9,000 a year, and it is a three year course, it will cost a total of £27,000. Student Finance will pay this amount straight to the university and you will start paying it back when you earn enough after graduation.

Maintenance Loan: These are loans that help to cover your living costs and general day-to-day life. Student Finance calculates how much you can borrow from your household income, where you live, where you study and how long for. You also pay this back when you earn enough after graduation.

Maintenance Grant: This is different to the loans as a grant is to help with your day-to-day life, which you do not have to pay back. This is free entitlement from the government and it is yours to keep. Student Finance calculates how much you may be entitled to by your household income. This grant is only offered to students with a low income.

Do I get extra help if I have a disability?
There is a grant, Disabled Student’s Allowance (DSA) that offers financial support to any student with a disability or learning difficulty. This money is for special computer programmes, office equipment and travel costs to attend university. This grant does not need to be paid back.

How do I apply for the Disabled Student’s Allowance (DSA)?
You can apply for the Disabled Student’s Allowance on your Student Finance application. Student Finance will inform you of the right organisation you need to contact and you will need medical or supporting evidence for your case. DSA’s can take up to three months to arrange so make sure you apply as soon as possible.

When will I receive the money?
In Scotland, the annual payment is split up to monthly payments that automatically go into your bank. In the United Kingdom and Wales you are paid every three months, or the start of every term. All the loans and grants are paid in at the same time, so if you are entitled to a maintenance grant and loan then you would be paid the amounts the same time.

What is a bursary?
A bursary is offered by your college or university and this is extra financial support to help you with your studies. Bursaries are not connected to Student Finance and will not affect what you are entitled to from the government. The National Scholarship Programme helps students whose household income is £25,000 or less. Bursaries and scholarships do not need to be paid back.

When do I start repaying my loan?
From September 2012, students are not required to pay back their student loan until they are earning at least £21,000 annually.

How do I repay my loan?
The loan repayments will automatically be deducted from your pay when you start earning enough to pay it back. There is nothing that you need to do to set this repayment up.

What if I can’t afford to?
The amount that you pay back each month is incredibly small in comparison to what you will be bringing home each month. But if you do find that you can’t afford it, you can freeze your repayments for 5 years. The repayments will not be taken out of your pay cheque during this time.

I am not sure I am eligible?
You can register with Student Finance and fill out an application form to see if you are eligible for support. Not everyone is entitled to support, and there can be many reasons, such as where you have been living or the amount you have been earning.

I am from outside the United Kingdom?
Visit Directgov website for international student support and what you are entitled to.