Going to university is an exciting time. There are the open days, choosing your course, selecting your university, leaving parents for the first time, and of course, all the friends that are to be made. However, a quality university degree from a UK establishment does not come cheap. Not only are British courses recognised the world over, and wherever you end up you can be sure you’re getting a first-class education that will set you up for life in your chosen career path, but this does come at a cost.
NUS figures show that the total cost of attending university – when accommodation and living fees are taken into consideration on top of the course fees – is in the region of £20,000. A mind-blowing sum when that is multiplied by a 3, 4 or even 5-year course. It’s even more if you plan to study abroad for part of it.
So where does all this money come from to pay for it? Let’s take a quick look at the finances you will need and how to secure the funding.
The cost of a standard university degree for a UK student studying full-time is capped at £9,250. Unless you have parents who can pay that for you, or a nice trust fund, you’re going to need to apply for a student loan from the government. You will need to fill in an application form that takes into account your parent’s earnings and the level of funding is determined in part from those figures. The good news is that you don’t have to start paying that back until you begin earning around £20,000 per year or more. This payment is sent straight to your university and you do not receive it into your bank account.
In addition to studying, it’s not likely that you will be able to hold down a full-time job and earn enough to pay for things such as rent, utility bills or shopping. For this reason, the government also can provide you with a loan each year depending on whether you live at home (up to £7,500) or not (up to £8,950) – these figures rise slightly if you are in the London area. Again, this is ‘means-tested’ against your parents’ income. You do have to pay this loan back once you finish university, but unlike a tuition fee loan, it is paid directly into your bank account so you can pay for everything you need to keep you on the course successfully.
The above two loans are not all you are entitled to being a full-time UK student. If you have children or have exceptional circumstances with a disability, you can apply for a hardship fund, and you may even be able to claim income support if you have a family of your own.
There are a wealth of other funds to support you too, such as childcare grants, child tax credits, working tax credits, parents’ learning allowance and there’s even an adult dependants’ grant you can claim for.
Depending on the course you choose, you may also be entitled to special course-specific university bursaries and grants.
The costs involved with studying in further education can be massive, but the potential to secure a great job after it is also increased greatly. The UK government makes it quite easy for you to attend university or college regardless of your background or financial situation, so you can confidently choose the course most suited to you without the worry or fear of being able to sustain it to completion. Why not use the government calculator to find out what you could be entitled to?