Loans – a Guide to Student Finance (part 1)

Students now make up 4% of the UK population, this equated to roughly 3.5 million in 2006. According to recent figures each of these students will leave university with almost £13,000 worth of debt!

Although this is a staggering figure, unless all tuition and accommodation fee’s can be paid for by some other means then there is no way of attaining a degree without incurring a certain level of debt.

There is however, countless ways in which the amount you will owe at the end of your education can be reduced, which are discussed in the second part of this guide; firstly let’s take a closer look at how these loans work.

For most students, their loan will comprise of tuition fees, which covers the cost imposed by the institution for the education you receive and secondly, a maintenance loan, which covers basic living expenses.

Tuition fee loans are (partly) non-financially assessed loans and are usually payable to the Higher Education provider. The maximum amount for this loan is either the amount of the tuition fees or £3,070, whichever is less.

It’s worth noting that this figure changes and the amount stated here is correct for courses started in 2007 or starting in 2008.

The reason behind the “partly” above is that everyone on an eligible course qualifies for 75% of the maximum loan amount; anything above 75% though is calculated using a sliding scale. This means that applicants from lower income households or single parent situations will be eligible for a larger loan.

Loans for those wishing to study part time work a little differently, to begin with they are officially known as “Part-Time Fee Grant’s”. In order to qualify for this grant the course must last at least a year but take no longer than twice the time it would take to study the same course full time. Unlike conventional tuition loans, part time grants are wholly based on income and the intensity of study.

Students loans work out as a much more affordable means of finance than traditional personal loans, and as mentioned are the only way many students are able to secure a place at a university. As well as loans though, some students may be eligible for bursaries or targeted support schemes.

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