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Money to learn for full-time higher education courses

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i stock 66

University even with higher fees!

It is true that students studying a higher education course now have to pay fees between £6,000 up to £9,250 + a year - but you don't have to pay upfront and you only pay back when you are earning more than £21,000 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 a lot of useful information showing how the loans are affordable including a Student Finance Calculator.

Benefits of higher education

Think first about the benefits of doing a higher education level course (e.g degree, Foundation Degree, HNC/HND, Higher Apprenticeship):

  • Employers really want people with graduate level skills,
  • You will meet a range of people who will become both friends and contacts for the future.
  • You are likely to earn more than those without a degree.

Read more about the benefits here.

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 West.

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 £5400 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 £21,000. 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 £22,000 you will pay back £90 a year which is £7.50 a month - less than a cinema ticket!
  • If you are earning £25,000 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 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.

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

Read more about the new funding arrangements and the available support.

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:

Living Costs and financial support

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

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

  • Parents Learning Allowance, Childcare Grant, Adult Dependents 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 gov.uk.
  • 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.
  • Find out more about student finance and loans from gov.uk or more student friendly information can be found in the Student Room.

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.

You do need to know that 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. They 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 www.european-funding-guide.eu. 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.