Due to the recent rise in tuition fees, new students in the UK will owe an estimated £8,393 in annual tuition fees, more than twice the old fees of 2011. More than ever, students are having to rely on their loan to afford the costs, as well as textbooks and course equipment, and basic living expenses. Graduates will now spend even more of their lives paying back these loans, and some may never be able to afford to repay the loan fully.
It is therefore more important than ever to manage your finances well during your higher education. While home finance software can help you keep your spending in line you must also ensure you get the financial help that you are entitled to. This normally depends on your course, where you live while studying and your individual circumstances. However, the main types of help for new full-time higher education students in the UK include:
- Tuition fee loans to cover the full cost of tuition fees
- Maintenance loans to cover the cost of living expenses
- Grants to cover the cost of living expenses
- Bursaries and scholarships from universities and colleges
For the majority of students in the UK, a loan will comprise of the tuition fee loan plus a maintenance loan, and this will be paid directly at the start of each academic term. Everyone on an eligible course qualifies for 75% of the maximum loan, regardless of income, and the rest is income-assessed. The repayment of loans is repaid through the tax system, and only begins after the student has left higher education and is earning over £21,000.
So that you are fully aware of all the issues involved here, listed below is a selection of websites crammed with helpful information and links to other relevant sites. Have a look through one or two of them and you will feel much better informed of what's involved here:
The Official Government Site - Sounds really official but worth looking at. It's easy to navigate and is kept well up to date.
UCAS - Another useful site which has a particularly good section on managing and saving money.
Student Loan Company - The SLC provides and administers loans and grants to over 1m students annually across the UK. Their site provides useful personal finance information including good summaries of the four types of help mentioned above.
The Guardian - It may not be your daily read but it has included a good site on its website covering student finance so have a look.
Money Dashboard - Once you have your loan, the way to get the most out of it is to keep track of your spending with finance software. You'd be surprised how fast unmonitored spending can get out of control, so keeping an eye on your finances will keep you in check, and Money Dashboard is the easiest way to do this across all bank accounts and credit cards.
Good luck and hopefully by following some of the guidance provided in the sources above you will be more financially secure on Graduation Day.