Half a million students are looking for new ways to pay their way through university.

All is not lost for those who will no longer get a maintenance grant. While the costs of higher education have undoubtedly gone up in recent years, there is evidence to suggest that getting a degree can be a great career investment, and there are still many ways you can get the money to fund your studies…

1. Government student loans

You can still apply for a maintenance loan instead of a grant through the Student Loans Company. The interest rates and repayment terms are generally really good and we would always encourage students to look there first.

Depending on your circumstances you might be able to get up to £6,904 for 2016/2017 if you’re living at home. This could rise to £8,200 if you live away from home and outside London, and up to £10,702 if you’re away from home and inside London.

Remember, you still have to pay this back, with interest. It’s not a grant.

2. Private student loans

The average annual cost of living for a student, outside London, is over £12,000, according to the NUS data team – more for those inside London. They estimate an average funding shortfall of £7,600 every year for UK students. That’s over £20,000 for a three-year course. So you may still need to find this money from somewhere. If you don’t have bank of mum and dad to help out here, we believe we’re the best option to help you bridge this funding gap.

With a Future Finance loan you could borrow from £1,000 to £40,000 and repay over 10 years. We have lots of flexible repayment features built in to our loans, like up to four 3-month repayment breaks and no early repayment fees. Apply online for a free quote – it won’t affect your credit score.

3. Bursaries and scholarships

For some specialist courses you may be able to apply for a bursary or scholarship. Check with your university for details or take a look at this excellent guide on the Save the Student website. You might also want to research sponsored degrees in the UK.

4. The banks

The high street banks offer a range of student current accounts and credit cards. These credit cards can be a good way of helping you over a short-term dip in your finances but you’ll need to be careful you don’t build up big debts because interest rates can be high if you miss the repayment deadlines. We would always urge extreme caution when considering a loan from a short-term or payday lender. They can be useful for some people in certain circumstances but they can also be very expensive.

Investing in the best – yourself!

Reports over the last few years show starting annual salaries for graduates at around the £25,000 to £30,000 mark. And last year we saw a 13.2% rise in graduate vacancies.

Ten years after graduation, male medical students earned a median wage of £55,000 – some being on much more than that – based on data from 2003 to 2013. Their female counterparts brought home £45,000. Over the same period, the median wage for male economics students 10 years after graduating was £42,000, (and £38,000 for women).

Even factoring in an early retirement and assuming a working life of 30 years, a steady, £40,000 salary with no further pay rises will still give you total pre-tax earnings of £1.2m during your career. That’s a sizable sum and affords you plenty of opportunity to pay back the money you borrowed to get your degree.

How much you pay back in total can vary and this is the critical bit.

The £20,000 student funding gap

A Future Finance loan has an average annual percentage rate (APR) of 11.2%, compared to a typical credit card rate of 18%. You could expect to pay back a Future Finance loan of £20,000 over 10 years as follows, assuming you’re an undergraduate with a good credit rating and meet lending criteria:

Monthly repayments during study (this helps chip away at your loan from day one and builds your credit history): £75, capped

Monthly repayments from three months after study: £272.59

Total repayable: 33,610.07

Estimated APR: 9.95%

All data correct at time of writing.

As anyone familiar with mortgage repayments knows, it’s very common to repay around double the loan amount over a long repayment period. You get the benefit of owning a home for many years that you otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford. And in exchange you pay back gradually during your working life.

New to Future Finance?

We’re the only specialist provider of student loans in the UK. We offer loans designed for students, which means lower, capped repayments in study, repayment holidays and a loan plan based on your course and university, not just your credit score.

You can apply online for a Future Finance student loan in less than a couple of minutes. And we won’t keep you hanging. Our smart technology means you’ll get a decision fast, without it affecting your credit score.