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Financing your studies

University tuition fees and financial support in England

Our guide to student finance for undergraduate students from England about how much going to university costs and what funding is available.

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  1. Undergraduate student finance in England

  2. Tuition fees and tuition fee loans

  3. Funding your living costs

  4. Extra funding

  5. Studying abroad or on a placement year

  6. Student finance for a second degree (ELQ)

  7. How to apply for student finance in England

  8. Repaying your loan

Undergraduate student finance in England

If you’re from England and starting a degree in 2021/22, you can apply for tuition fee loans and maintenance loans towards your living costs and extra funding, depending on your personal circumstances.

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 on student finance, where we also cover how Brexit has affected eligibility.

Tuition fees and tuition fee loans

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 up front.

If you’re planning on attending a UK university, you can 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 in most cases. If you go to a private university, you'll get less funding (up to £6,165, or £7,200 for an accelerated degree) and the fees charged may be higher. You'd need to pay the difference yourself.

Funding your living costs

You may also be eligible for a means-tested maintenance loan to help with living costs. The amount you get will depend on your household income and where you live during term time.

Only those with a low household income (£25,000) are likely to get the full financial support.

If your household income is higher, you'll get a lower 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. 

If you don't want to provide your household income, you can apply for a non-means-tested loan. If you do this, you’ll get the minimum student loan available for where you live while you study.

Student Finance in England 2021/22

If you... Your loan may be (in 2021/22)...
Live at home From £3,516 (minimum) to £7,987
Live away from home and study in London From (£6,166 (minimum) to £12,382
Live elsewhere (away from home and study outside of London)  From £4,422 (minimum) to £9,488
Live and study abroad (for one term, up to a year)

From £5,253 (minimum) to £10,866

If you’re on a university course that’s 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 2021/22, if your household income is up to £39,796 you may get the full weekly amount of student loan for where you live while studying. Above this threshold, the loan reduces. It’s paid at the same time as the maintenance loan, three times a year.

The maximum extra loan available per week is:

  • £67 – if you’re living with your parents
  • £131 – if you’re living in London
  • £102 – if you’re living outside of London
  • £141 – if you’re studying overseas

This doesn't apply to students on a paid sandwich course placement or NHS bursary year.

Normally, over-60s aren’t eligible for maintenance support. However, if your household income is low you can apply for living cost support as well as a tuition fee loan. In 2021/22 you could get £4,014 if your household income is £25,000 or below. Above this, and the amount reduces.

Extra funding

If you need support – for instance, if you’re a single parent, or leaving care to enter higher education – you may be able to get extra funding.

The same applies if you have a disability, learning difference or mental health problem. You can read more about this on our student finance and funding page.

It's also worth looking for other financial support such as a bursary, scholarship or award from your university or college. You won’t have to pay this back. It also won't count as household income, so it won't affect the amount of loan you could get.

On the other hand, if you get other public funding during your course – such as a healthcare bursary – it’s likely to reduce the amount of student finance you are eligible for.

Studying abroad or on a placement year

If your university course includes a placement year or year studying abroad, you'll normally be charged a reduced tuition fee by your home university. Your tuition fee loan will reduce also. Private universities may charge higher fees than the tuition fee loan you get.

If you study abroad at another university for a term or up to a year, you may be assessed for a higher rate of maintenance loan. The overseas rate for students from England is shown in the above section. How much you get will depend on your household income and how long you’re away. You can also get help with your expenses from the travel grant. Find out more about this on our student finance and funding page.

Living cost support for placements is based on whether the placement is unpaid or paid. If you're on a year-long paid sandwich course placement, you'll only qualify for a 'reduced rate' maintenance loan. In 2021/22 this is £4,035 if you live in London, £2,874 if you live elsewhere, and £2,155 if you’re living with your parents. Those on ‘approved’ unpaid placements will be able to get the usual maintenance support.

Student finance for a second degree (ELQ)

Undergraduate student loans are usually only available for your first degree. However, for certain subjects there may be some support available for a second degree (ELQ or ‘equivalent or lower qualifications’).

These include:

  • Medicine
  • Dentistry
  • Veterinary science
  • Architecture (if a MArch RIBA Part 2 course)
  • Social work
  • Initial teacher training
  • Healthcare courses
  • STEM subjects (part-time study only)

If you're studying a full-time university degree you may need to fund some or all of your tuition fees yourself, depending on the subject. If you're studying Medicine, Dentistry or a healthcare subject as a second degree, you can find out more from our NHS bursary page.

How to apply for student finance in England

Apply online to Student Finance England. You’ll need to reapply for each year of your degree course.

Apply by late spring to ensure that your student loan is in place if your course starts in the autumn. You don't have to wait until you've accepted a place on a university degree, you can always update your details later. You can still apply after the deadline, but this will affect when you receive your funding.

The Student Loans Company (SLC) pays your tuition fees direct to your university. The maintenance loan is paid into your bank account at the start of each term, once you’ve registered on your course.

Repaying your loan

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

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