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What financial support is available for students?

What financial support is available for students?If you’re in need of financial assistance, click below to discover sources of advice, the types of support available, and how to apply for them.

Tuition fee loan

A loan to cover some of the cost of your tuition fees.
The maximum tuition fee for full-time undergraduate students for 2012/13 is £9,000 per year. For tuition fee costs for part-time undergraduates, contact your university.

You don’t have to pay your fees straight away. You can take out a ‘Tuition Fee loan’ which will cover the full amount. You don’t have to pay this back until you’ve finished your course and started earning money.

Find out more with our article on student finance explained.

For more information read this guide to student loans.

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Maintenance loan

A loan to cover your living expenses
If you are a full-time undergraduate you may be able to apply for a maintenance loan. If you do not wish to be means tested you can still apply for a maintenance loan however it will effect how much you get as this is calculated on your annual household income (see explanation above).

You don’t have to start paying this back until after you’ve graduated and are earning over £21,000.

Find out more with our article on student finance explained.

For more information read this guide to the student loans.

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Maintenance grant

Financial support that you don’t have to pay back

Maintenance grants have now been replaced with bigger maintenance loans. However, if you started university in 2015 or earlier, you'll continue to get the grant.

If your annual household income is under £42,600 then you will be entitled to a maintenance grant to help you cover your living expenses. This could be up to £3,250. This does not have to be paid back.

Find out more with our article on student finance explained.

For more information read this guide to the maintenance grant.

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Bursaries and scholarships

Financial support provided by universities or other organisations that you don’t have to pay back
Universities provide bursaries to help financially support students, particularly those who might find it more difficult to afford university. Many universities, colleges, businesses and charities also provide scholarships for academic achievement or for a specific subject. You don’t have to pay these back.

Find out more with our article on bursaries and scholarships explained.

For more information read this guide on bursaries, scholarships and awards.

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Hardship funds

Financial support for students in financial difficulties
If you run into hardship and need extra financial support, universities and colleges in England can provide it through their hardship funds. You’ll be expected to have applied for any student loans, grants and bursaries you’re entitled to before applying for help. To find out more speak to your university’s student services department.

Find out more about hardship funds

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Disabled Student Allowance (DSA)

Support for students with disabilities
This support helps you pay for costs you may have to pay as a result of disability or specific learning difficulty. This can cover specialist equipment, non-medical helpers, travel costs and other expenditure. You can apply before you have a confirmed place, so it is a good idea to apply as early as possible.

Find out more with our article on financial help for people with disabilities.

For more information read this guide to financial help for disabled students.

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Other sources of student income

Here are some other examples of where students can get their income from:

  • Family: Some students might be lucky enough to get some money from their family.

  • Part-time job: This can be a valuable source of income for many students.

  • Savings: Has Granny kept anything under the mattress for you?

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Financial terms explained

Fed up of being confused about student finance? Here’s a glossary of terms to help you understand the language of finance.

  • Household income

Ensuring money goes to those who need it
Applications for student finance usually request information on household income - details on how much you and/or your parents/partner earns.

By looking at this, student finance providers can be sure that the grants and loans are actually going to students who need the financial support (see means tested below).

For more information read this guide to income assessment for full-time students.

  • Interest free overdraft

Most banks offer interest-free overdrafts to students
This means that you don’t have to pay interest or fees if your account is overdrawn, provided you stay within your overdraft limit.

Note this varies according to bank and year of study. Once you graduate you will probably have to start paying back your overdraft.

Check with the bank for more details.

  • Means tested

When you apply for financial support based on your annual household income
All eligible full-time undergraduate students are entitled to a basic amount of financial help. However, the total amount available in a maintenance loan and maintenance grant is based on your household income (see explanation above). This will require parents to provide financial information.

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Where to get advice

There are many places students can go for advice and financial support:

  • Personal tutor (always the first point of contact)
  • Student Advisory Service
  • Welfare office in the Student Union (for a range of help)
  • Bank staff (many banks have dedicated student advisors on campus)
  • Hardship Office
  • Chaplaincy
  • Financial Support Team (general financial help)
  • Parents

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