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Financing your studies

University tuition fees and financial support in England

A guide for students from England about how much going to university costs and what funding is available.

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  1. Overview

  2. Tuition fee loans and financial support

  3. Funding your living costs

  4. Extra funding

  5. Repaying your loan


This page outlines what's available for students from England for 2020–21 entry. Check to find the exact dates, cost of fees and financial support that’s available on university and student funding websites.

Universities in England, Northern Ireland and Scotland can charge you up to £9,250 a year for undergraduate tuition. For accelerated degrees (which are completed in less time) universities in England can charge up to £11,100. The maximum Welsh universities can charge is £9,000 a year. You don't have to pay for this upfront.

To be classed as an English student, you normally need to have lived in England for the three years before the start of your course. The funding explained below is mainly for undergraduate students (in other words, you're taking your first degree). There are some exceptions – see our information on eligibility for details.

Tuition fee loans and financial support

If you’re planning on attending a UK university, you apply online to Student Finance England for a loan of up to £9,250 (or up to £11,100 for an accelerated degree). This'll cover your tuition fees.

There's a deadline for applications, usually around late spring. This is so the Student Loans Company (SLC) can pay your tuition fees to your university in time for the beginning of the course.

Funding your living costs

You can apply online to Student Finance England (SFE) for a means-tested maintenance loan to help with living costs.

There are different amounts of maintenance loan available. This depends on your household income and where you'll live during term time. Only those with a low household income (£25,000) are likely to be eligible for full financial support.

If your household income is higher, you can apply for a reduced amount of maintenance loan – with the implication that you’ll find the difference elsewhere. This might be through contributions from your parents, a part-time job or savings. It's also worth looking for other financial support such as grants, bursaries or scholarships, if you’re eligible.

Or, you can apply for a non-means-tested loan. If you do this, you’ll get the minimum loan available for where you live while you study.

If you... You may get (in 2020/21)...
Live at home £7,747 or less (£3,410 minimum)
Live away from home and study in London £12,010 or less (£5,981 minimum)
Live away from home and study outside of London (including Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales) £9,203 or less (£4,289 minimum)
Live and study abroad (including Ireland) from one term up to one year of your course 

£10,539 or less (£5,095 minimum)

The deadline for SFE applications to guarantee funds are in place for the beginning of your course is usually around late spring. The loan's paid into your bank account at the start of each term once you’ve registered on your course. You can still apply after the deadline, up to nine months after the first day of the academic year. 

Extra funding

If you’re on a course for longer than 30 weeks and three days in the academic year, you may be eligible for a Long Course Loan. To get this, you need to have an income-assessed maintenance loan.

In 2020–21, households with an income up to £39,796 are eligible for the full weekly amount applicable to where you live while studying. Above this threshold, the amount of loan available will reduce. It’s paid at the same time as the maintenance loan, three times a year.

The maximum extra loan available per week is:

  • £65 – if you’re living with your parents
  • £127 – if you’re living in London
  • £99 – if you’re living outside of London
  • £137 – if you’re studying overseas

You may be able to get a bursary, scholarship or award from your university or college, which you don't have to pay back.

Further support may be available if you meet a particular set of criteria – for instance, if you’re a single parent, or leaving care to enter higher education. Extra help is also available if you have a disability, learning difference or mental health problem.

Repaying your loan

Loan repayments begin from the April after you've left your course. You repay a percentage of your income when you're earning over a certain amount.

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