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Universities and colleges can charge up to £3,225 a year for tuition (2008-9 figures). However you don’t have to pay this before (or during) the course. Instead, you can take out a tuition fee loan.
The maximum you’ll have to pay for tuition fees depends on when you start your course – and so does the maximum loan you can get.
For new students and most who started in or after September 2006, the loan will cover the full amount charged for tuition fees.
This means up to £3,225 for 2009/2010.
This is to help with everyday costs and can be up to £4,950 a year if you are living away from home, or £6,928 if you are living away from home in London (providing you started a course in 2009). Around 28% of this loan is subject to means testing (i.e. how much you get depends on your household income.)
You start repaying these loans once you have left your course and are earning more than £15,000 a year. You pay 9% of any income over £15,000 – so if you get a job earning £18,000, you’ll repay about £22.50 a month.
Any amount still owed 25 years after finishing a course is normally written off.
Around two out of three new students can now claim a maintenance grant – and it doesn’t have to be repaid. The maximum grant available for 2009/2010 is £2,906, available to full-time higher education students with a household income of £25,000 or under.
The Direct.gov website has some useful tables so you can see how much financial help you may be able to get.
Universities and colleges that charge the full tuition fee must pay a bursary to any student receiving the full maintenance grant. Many also pay them to other students. The average bursary is around £1000 and this doesn’t have to be repaid.
Many students from higher income families can also get bursaries. Arrangements vary from one institution to another so it pays to shop around.
Many students miss out on claiming bursaries. When applying for financial support it’s important to give permission for your details to be passed on to universities / colleges.
You can also view the Direct.gov Bursary Map. This gives you bursary information for all the Universities in England.
There are different arrangements for certain courses, including;
• Nursing and health care professions
• Social work
• Teaching (postgraduate training)
• Certain dance and drama courses
For more details check the Direct.gov website.
Certain students, e.g. those with disabilities, children or adult dependents can claim extra help.
Bridging the Gap Funding for disabled students.
Skill.org National Bureau for Students With Disabilities.
Access to Learning Funds can sometimes help if you run into money problems during a course.
You should contact Student Support at the Sheffield Children and Young People’s Directorate immediately after applying to a course.
You can also apply through the Student Finance website.
The figures quoted here are for 2009/10. Rates for 2010/11 will probably be announced towards the end of 2009.
Financial information can change. Check for up-to-date information and figures on the websites above.