Money matters

Money to learn for full-time higher education courses

University even with higher fees!

It is true that students studying a higher-education course now have to pay fees between £6,000 and £9,250+ a year - but you don't have to pay upfront and you only pay back when you are earning more than £25,000 a year.

So don't dismiss the idea of HE. Find out the facts and you will see that it is more affordable than you might think.

Martin Lewis's MoneySavingExpert site has lots of useful information showing how the loans are affordable including a Student Finance Calculator.

Costs of higher education include both tuition and living costs.

Tuition costs and financial support

The tuition fees will be decided by the institution offering the course - look at an institution's website to see what they plan to charge. Click here to see institutions in the South.

To compare the fees and other characteristics of different universities look at the Unistats site.

The Open University, which offers part-time distance-learning degrees, will be charging £5728 for credits equivalent to one year at a university. Find out more.

The government will lend you the money for the tuition fees and you won't have to pay anything back until you are earning more than £25,000. If you never earn more than that you NEVER pay the loan back!

Stories in the press and worries about leaving uni with huge debts have made some young people think twice about uni but really the loan repayments are manageable.

For example.

  • If you are earning £26,000 you will pay back £90 a year which is £7.50 a month - less than a cinema ticket!
  • If you are earning £29,000 you will pay back £30 a month - that's about the same as a mobile-phone contract!

Your loan repayments will be automatically deducted from your earnings in the same way as income tax.

It will still be possible to pay university fees upfront in order to avoid accruing any debt. If you choose to take out a loan you can choose to pay back all or some of the loan at any time without an early repayment charge.

Another thing to consider is that more universities are starting to deliver accelerated two-year degree courses. They already exist but the plan is to introduce more from Sept 2019 onwards. This will allow students to save on one year's worth of tuition fees and living costs, which could make a university course more affordable and desirable.

Student Finance - Repaying your Loan 2017/18 onwards - lower costs over time.

The government announced that the starting threshold for repayment of student loans will increase from £21,000 to £25,000 from April 2018. This is a significant change and it means that the amount of student loan that most graduates will repay will be significantly reduced. For example, a graduate with an average income of £26,000 would have repaid £13,500 of their student loan in total through the income-tax system over a 30-year period prior to this change. Following this change, the same graduate would now pay just £2,700 in total.  

For more information:

Find out more about student finance and loans from or more student-friendly information can be found in the Student Room.

View a Student Calculator to check your eligibility for loans and grants and to work out your possible income against your possible spending.

Use the Open University's Eligibility Checker, which can be used to indicate whether you may be eligible for any financial assistance.

View a quick start guide about finance from Student Finance England.

Student funding explained video

Loans for living costs from the government

You can also apply for a loan to cover some of your living costs such as rent, bills and food. 

You may have to give details of your household income.

The loan is paid directly into your bank account at the start of each term. You have to pay the loan back. You can use this Student Finance Calculator to see what loans you could get. It will ask about household income.

Financial support you do not have to pay back

There are also other sorts of financial support available - which you do not have to pay back.

  • Parents Learning Allowance, Childcare Grant, Adult Dependants Grant & Disabled Students Allowances - which is money for students who are also parents, and/or students who have an adult with a very low income who is financially dependent on them, and/or Disabled students. Find out more from
  • Bursaries, scholarships and awards - Many universities will offer additional funding to certain target groups. This may include, for example, students from a lower-income background, care leavers or disabled students. Some universities may offer a reduction in tuition fees or possibly a free year on some courses and some universities may offer a bursary, which is a non-repayable grant. Each university will decide what support they’ll offer so you’ll need to check to see what your chosen university is offering and whether you’re eligible.

For more scholarship and bursary information:

Getting help sorting out the funding

When planning to study it is important to understand the costs and know your sources of income. You will then need to plan your budget so that you can manage financially throughout your study.

It is worth bearing in mind that a full-time higher-education course will not necessarily involve spending 5 days a week at a college or university so you might be able to work as well as study. Check what the attendance requirements are for your chosen course.

To qualify for full-time funding support you will need to make sure your intended course has full-time course status - check this with the institution.

Although financing a full-time course can seem complicated many colleges and universities have a Student Services Centre. These are a good source of information for people making enquiries about the financial support available.

Funding if you are thinking about study in Europe

Some students are now choosing this option as the fees can be lower than in the UK. Also, many courses are offered in English.

The European Funding Guide has information to help students in 16 EU countries access more than 12,000 scholarship programs and other forms of financial aid, worth a total of 27 billion Euros.

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