Getting a degree is a great investment – graduates earn more than those without degrees and are more likely to be promoted and less likely to be unemployed. Even though there are costs involved, there are also sources of funding available to help those in higher education.
Aside from tuition fees, students will need to budget for accommodation, bills and food if they are moving away from home. Transport is usually another significant cost for students, and many prefer to pay upfront for a termly or yearly bus pass rather than drive to university. Students usually also have to pay for photocopying and printing, stationary and books. And some courses incur other costs such as materials fees, specialist equipment, field trips or enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service checks.
Most students access student finance to support them through university. This page describes the main sources of funding available and how to access it. Many students supplement this income with part-time jobs, which UCW recommends be limited to a maximum of 15 hours per week during term-time. We also strongly advise against credit cards and payday loans due to their astronomical interest rates.
The savvy student knows that there are loads of other ways to save money, such as student bank accounts and getting discounts with NUS Extra cards. Full-time students who only live with other students will also be exempt from paying Council Tax. Another great tip is to avoid restaurants and nightclubs and instead share meals and drinks at home with friends.
Universities also offer a host of scholarships and bursaries to eligible students, and short-term and emergency funding to those in need.
So even if student finance seems daunting, it really is just a case of being informed and doing some upfront planning to make sure the correct finances are in place.
Tuition Fee Loans
Tuition fees are more competitive at UCW than at most traditional universities and, regardless of where a student goes to university, they do not need to be paid in advance or during the course of studies. Students can take out a loan to cover the cost of tuition fees, which is paid directly to their university on their behalf.
Students will also need money for accommodation, food, transport, additional course fees and other living expenses. The Student Loans Company provides Maintenance Loans to help pay for these expenses. For 2017/18, students not living with their parents can borrow up to £8,430 for the year; those living at home can borrow up to £7,097; and students in receipt of government benefits can borrow up to £9,609. This funding is paid directly to students in three instalments at the start of each term.
How much will be loaned?
Tuition Fee Loans are non-means tested, whereas the size of a Maintenance Loan is partially determined by the finances of either the student, their partner, or their parents, depending on their circumstances. The Student Loans Company calculate the size of Maintenance Loans by looking into the income of a student’s parents (including a parent’s spouse/partner if the student lives with them). If a student is married or aged over 25 and living with their partner, then the income of the student’s spouse/partner will be assessed to determine the size of the Maintenance Loan.
Students who are classed as having ‘Independent Status’ will not receive a Maintenance Loan based on their parents’ or partner’s income. This applies to students who meet any of the following criteria:
• Aged over 25 at the start of the academic year
• Have been married prior to the start of the academic year
• Supported themselves for at least three years
• Have no living parents
• Are responsible for a child/children
• Are estranged from their parents
Repaying the loans
Upon finishing the course and graduating, the Tuition Fee Loan and Maintenance Loan are bundled together and start to accrue interest. Repayment takes the form of 9% of income above £21,000. This repayment is taken even if a student did not finish their degree.
|Annual salary before tax||Approximate monthly repayment|
- Register your details at www.gov.uk/studentfinance.
- Answer the security questions, create a password and write down the Customer Reference Number somewhere safe as it will be needed every time you log in.
- Go step-by-step through the application process and remember to save as you go. You can always log in and change the information you have entered.
- Use the links to UCAS to drag information into your Student Finance application.
- When asked about your university choices, use the details of your first choice, especially if it is for a London university as you will be entitled to a bigger loan. If you change your mind, you will still be able to change this at a later date.
- The system can verify your identity using your passport number. If you don’t have a passport you will need to post your birth certificate and a complete proof of identity form to Student Finance England.
- Once you have completed the application and checked all the sections, you can submit it. Check its progress using your password and Customer Reference Number.
- If you do not qualify for ‘Independent Status’, you will need to provide your parents’ or guardians’ financial details for the previous tax year. This can be done either online or via a paper application. Proof of income may be required.
- If you are married, your partner’s income will need to be assessed or, if you have ‘Independent Status’, you will be assessed based on your own income.
- We recommend that you give ‘consent to share’ so that your university can assess you for additional financial support.
- Complete the Student Finance England PN1 form (which can be found on its website) if you prefer not to apply online.
UCW finance timeline
|Spring 2017||Summer 2017||September 2017|
|Apply for student finance online at www.gov.uk/studentfinance||Receive the Student Finance Entitlement letter telling you how much money you are going to receive. Sign and return the Student Finance Declaration form.||Register your student finance with us during enrolment. You will not receive any payments until you do so.|
Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA)
Students with a disability, mental health condition or specific learning difficulty (SpLD) may be entitled to DSA. This support is calculated based upon needs, not income. DSA does not have to be repaid and can be used to pay for any required additional support, equipment or resources, for example: specialist equipment or computer software; a one-to-one study skills tutor; non-medical helpers; or any extra travel fees. UCW students should contact the Learning Support Team on email@example.com for more information and help with the application process.
Other funding for parents and carers
Students with children or other dependents may be entitled to other funding:
• Parents’ Learning Allowance: up to £1,617 a year, dependent on household income.
• Childcare Grant: up to 159.59 a week for one child in approved childcare, or up to £273.60 a week for two children.
• Adult Dependents’ Grant: students with an adult who financially depends on them (other than their adult children) may be entitled to a grant worth up to £2,834.
Carer and care leaver support
UCW may be able to provide additional financial support to care leavers, young carers and people who are estranged from their parents. Please contact Abby on either firstname.lastname@example.org or 01934 441 323 for more information.