How can I fund my education?

There are various forms of financial support available for higher education students. The type of support available to you will depend on your individual circumstances.

Financing options

There are various forms of financial support available.

Examples of the type of help available include:

For more details relating to the different types of financial support you may be entitled to see these detailed factsheets at DirectGov.

Student loans

Nearly every student takes out a student loan to fund in his or her studies. Most students see the loan as a worthwhile investment, as it helps finance their studies, but it is important to bear in mind a few facts:

Student loans are available from the Student Loans Company. The loans are available to full-time students studying for a degree course although part-time students may be eligible for smaller awards.

Here is a summary of the maximum loans available in England, Wales and Northern Ireland for 2007/2008.

Students living away from home and studying in London

. Maximum Loan available 75% (non-means tested) 25% (means-tested)
Starting 2017 £6,315 £4,736 £1,578
Students living away from home and studying away from London

. Maximum Loan available 75% (non-means tested) 25% (means-tested)
Starting 2017 £4,510 £3,382 £1,127
Students living at home

. Maximum Loan available 75% (non-means tested) 25% (means-tested)
Starting 2017 £3,495 £2,621 £ 873
In Scotland, the scale is Students living in halls or lodgings, full year

. Maximum Loan available 75% (non-means tested) 25% (means-tested)
Starting 2017 £4,400 £3,300 £1100
Students living at home

. Maximum Loan available 75% (non-means tested) 25% (means-tested)
Starting 2017 £3,485 £2,614 £871

How do you apply for a student loan?

Repaying the student loan

How much does it cost to take the student loan?

Interest is charged on the student loan, but it is only equivalent to the rate of inflation, and so is adjusted annually. This makes a student loan cheaper than other loans available. In 2006/07 for example the loan has been charged at a rate of 2.4%. In 2007/08 the rate will be considerably higher (around 4.8%) as the level of inflation has been higher during the past year.

University funds

Check with your university, as most institutions have funds to help students who are facing financial hardship.

Banks

Most high street banks provide special banking arrangements for students, including interest free overdrafts up to around £1,500. An overdraft can provide a useful safety net if you’re struggling to manage on your student loan alone. Many students chose a bank because of the overdraft it offers. However, before you sign up with a bank, check:

Also make sure you understand the risks of taking on extra debt. Check out the Moneybasics borrowing section to make sure you’re up to speed.

Managing your finances

Compiling a budget and sticking to it will help you manage your finances. Try the MoneyBasics budgeting form to get started.

If you are having difficulties managing your money at college, Credit Action and the Consumer Credit Counselling Service have a helpline — call 0800 138 1111.

Credit Action also has a helpful booklet called “Moneymanual for Students”. Find out more here.

Further Information

The Student Loans Company has an excellent web site. There are also calculators to find out how much loan you would qualify for, and to tell you about repayments you will have to make.

www.studentsupportdirect.co.uk

Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills. This government department has a section of its web site devoted to help and support for students:

www.dius.gov.uk

Support 4 Learning runs a web site with all you need to know about student loans and government and other grants for higher education, with many links to relevant sites.

www.support4learning.com

National Union of Students. This site has useful support information, including discounts available to union members.