Funding Your Studies at University

How to fund your time at university can be a big concern for many students. How are you going to pay for your course, study materials, accommodation, food, going out? The list of expenses can seem endless.

But don’t worry, there are a number of ways in which you can fund your stay at university. In this guide we highlight how Student Finance England can support you financially during your studies.

Tuition fee loans

Universities can charge up to £9,250 per year in tuition fees for a full-time course. To help you pay for this, you can apply for a tuition fee loan, which is paid directly to your university or college. Part-time students can apply to borrow up to £6,935 per academic year for tuition.

The tuition fee loan amount you receive depends on the cost of the course tuition fees, not on your household income.

Students must generally be studying their first higher education course to be eligible for a tuition fee loan.

You only start to pay back the loan once you are earning over £27,295 a year. The amount you pay is based on your salary, regardless of whether tuition fees are £9,000 or £9,000,000! You will pay 9% of your wages over the threshold amount and the interest is calculated as the rate in inflation (+ up to 3 percent). Your debt will be wiped after 30 years- no matter how little or much you have repaid.

Maintenance loans

This is to help with your living costs and is paid directly to your bank account in termly instalments.

The maintenance loan is paid into your bank account at the start of each term once you’ve registered on your course. The exact amount you can borrow will depend on:

  • If your course is full-time or part-time.
  • Your household income (your parents’ household income if you’re financially dependent), or your own income (and your partner’s if applicable) if you are over 25, married, have a child or live independently.
  • Where you live while studying.
  • When you start your course.
  • What year of study you are in.

Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA)

This is a grant which is available to support with the additional costs students with a disability may face in accessing their studies. It is there to provide you with the support you need and can fund:

DSA can be a game-changer in enabling blind and partially sighted students to access education, so we highly recommend you make the most of this grant. It is good to start your application as soon as possible.

Find out more about DSA and how to apply.

Postgraduate study

Postgraduate student finance works differently to undergraduate funding. These loans are not based on household income and are distributed evenly across each year of your course. The loan is paid directly to you in termly instalments – and can be used for both course fees and living costs.

Postgraduate students can apply to Student Finance England for:

  • Master’s loan – up to £12,471.
  • Doctoral loan – up to £28,673. You can apply after you have started your course, but you might not get the maximum amount.

To find out more about postgraduate student finance, why not check out’s helpful Funding postgraduate study page.

How to apply

To apply for student finance, including tuition fee and maintenance loans and Disabled Students’ Allowance, you will need to set up an account on the Gov.UK Student finance website. You can apply up to nine months after the start of the academic year for your course, but it is best to start your application as soon as possible, especially if you are applying for DSA.

Find out more about how to apply for student finance.

Additional funding

There may also be other funding options available to you depending on your circumstances. Check out our Additional funding options for your studies page to find out more.

Need further support?

If you need further support, we are here to help. Get in contact with our Student Support Service by visiting our Student Support Service homepage.

Start organising your spending now!

Download our helpful student budget worksheet

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