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Unaware of what your choices – application explained

Here at University Compare, we like to think of ourselves as your complete guide to university life; we’ve been there, done that, and customised the fresher’s t-shirt for the nightlife takeover. We’ve also stressed over UCAS deadlines, lost sleep over our personal statement and worried about how on earth we will pay back our student debt. Basically, we know what you’re going through. It’s for this reason a recent article has caught our eye for all the wrong reasons.

The Guardian newspaper recently surveyed almost 1700 students at pre-university level about their plans for the future. The results were shocking as they found that almost 6 out of 10 sixth-formers have decided against going to university purely because of worries about fees. What’s more, they found that almost a third of those who were on the fence about university admitted they didn’t understand the system of paying back tuition fees over a number of years based on yearly income.

It’s made us realise that college lecturers and head of sixth forms aren’t doing enough to educate the future doctors, scientists and mathematicians on their financial options. This is where we come in.

With fee’s rising to a staggering maximum of £9,000 a year, England has become the most expensive country in the world to earn a degree. We understand this would make a lot of students think twice about applying for university but we’re going to explain how easy it is to apply and how it is still possible to earn a good living despite being over £20,000 debt after graduation.

Every single person who applies for a full-time course at university is eligible for a student loan that will cover tuition fees and maintenance costs. Full-time students can expect a tuition fee loan of up to £9000 per year and a maintenance loan of up to £7675 if living on campus or £4375 per year if you live at home and travel into university. Anyone with a household income of less than £42,000 a year is also eligible for a grant on top of tuition and maintenance loans. A grant is a non-repayable sum of money that can help towards travel costs or materials for your course. These grants range from £50 to £3,354 a year depending on your household income.

For those who require extra help, Student Finance offer a Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA’s) Eligibility for DSA’s ranges, it covers students with long-term illnesses, mental health conditions and those with dyslexia. This entitles you to claim extra help whilst studying, if you require help for specialist equipment, non-medical helpers such as note takers or readers or need help with extra travel costs because of your disability this will come under the DSA. The disability-based UCAS application is has some small differences, so make sure to research the process.

Once you add up your tuition fee loan and maintenance loan over the three years, it seems as though you will be leaving university with a big debt to pay off. It’s important not to panic; you will not be expected to pay it back as soon as you graduate (and student loans don’t look bad against your name in the way other loans do). Before the government takes a penny off you, you will need to be in full time employment and earning over £21,000 per year. Once you are earning over that amount, you will be required to pay 9% of your income over the threshold of £21,000. Confused? Don’t be. Here’s an example: Once you’ve finished your course, you find a full time job and are earning £25,000 a year. The amount you are earning beyond the threshold of £21,000 is £4,000. 9% of £4,000 is £360. Therefore you will be expected to pay back just £30 a month. If you’re still unsure check out the helpful page on repayment methods found on the Student Finance website:

We hope this proves to you the rise in tuition fees is not something that should stop you from going to university. It is a worrying concept that young people are apprehensive considering the high levels of unemployment in England. Not applying for university leaves young people with few opportunities, as it is hard to get into other forms of education or careers that offer learn as you earn schemes.

It is also important that you choose the course that is right for you based on its content, not the tuition fee. The Guardian found that almost a third of the students surveyed admitted that the cost had affected which institution they applied to. We cannot stress enough how important it is that you choose the course because you’re passionate about it and not for any other reason. You will strive to do better in a degree you enjoy rather than a degree you chose because it was a few hundred pounds cheaper than another. Our explanation of the repayment methods proves that the cost will not affect your life significantly.

Hopefully this has cleared up any niggling questions you had about student loans and how to pay them back. Our aim is to help you make an informed decision about university without your judgment being clouded by money worries. If you want to have the time of your life and gain valuable knowledge at the same time then we strongly recommend visiting the Student Finance page on how to apply to university which can be found here: They have everything you need to know on how start you application, what documents you need to support your application and they have staff working round the clock to answer any questions you may have.