Student loans are generally divided between your tuition fees, and your living costs. You can apply for loans and grants to help towards these – in this article, find out what these are, how to apply, and how you will pay them back.

Student loans: Everything you need to know

When you embark on your degree you will have two main costs: your tuition fees, and your living costs. You can apply for loans and grants to help towards these – in this article, find out what these are, how to apply, and how you will pay them back.

Government loans:

Since 2012, universities in England can charge up to £9,000 per year for full-time undergraduate courses and English students can apply for a loan for the full amount. Good news for Welsh-domiciled students, however – if you have lived in Wales for at least three years before your course starts, you will only owe up to £3,810 per year and can apply for a Fee Grant to cover the rest. To find out exactly how the most recent government changes will affect you, check out this article (http://www.studentmoneysaver.co.uk/article/government-plans-to-make-you-repay-more-on-student-loan/).

Applying:

The easiest way to apply for these loans is online. Register on your country’s Student Finance website (England, Wales and Scotland all have different systems), submit an application using the form provided, send off evidence of your household income and any other necessary documents, then sign and return the Online Declaration Form that will be posted to you. More detailed guides are available on the websites, and UCAS has a useful page with advice and relevant links (www.ucas.com/ucas/undergraduate/finance-and-support/tuition-fees-and-student-loans).

Living costs:

Maintenance grants were scrapped this year, so your main option to help meet your living costs is a maintenance loan of up to £8,200 (outside London) or £10,702 (inside London), which you can apply for at the same time as your tuition fee loan and is paid in installments at the beginning of every term. If you live in England, use this Student Finance Calculator to find out how much you’ll be entitled to (www.gov.uk/student-finance-calculator).

If your family income is low, if you have a disability, are a carer, or have children, you may be eligible for a higher loan and/or a grant. You can state your circumstances on your application.

Support for your loan:

Unless you’re estranged from your parents, they (or a partner you live with) will need to support your loan application. Even though you’re meant to be adults striving for independence now, the amount of money you can borrow is tested on your parents’ means, as they’re expected to give you additional financial support if they earn over a certain amount.

Repayment:

The newspaper headlines have been screaming that all students will leave university with around £50,000 in debt, but do not let this figure scare you. You don’t need to start repaying your loans until you’re earning over £21,000, and at a fixed rate of 9%, the amount depends solely on how much you earn. If your wage drops or you lose your job, the repayments will adjust accordingly.

Going private:

If you’d rather skip government-provided loans, consider borrowing privately to finance your degree. Forget payday loans: the sky-high interest rate will quickly cripple you. Future Finance offers specialist loans for any amount between £2,000 and £40,000, offering you more freedom and a lower interest rate after you graduate, subject to terms and conditions and underwriting assessment.

Don’t let the complicated rule changes and rising costs of a degree put you off studying at university. Use the tips above and find the best way for you!

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