Savvy England
Savvy England
Savvy England

Looking for Student Loan Help in September 2018? Full UK Guide about University and College Finance!

By Phillip Gray
Founder and Editor
laons student If you’re thinking about attending university, you’ll most likely need to apply for student finance. This is also known as a ‘tuition loan’ and can include maintenance fees, it’s used to pay for your course and living costs while studying.

Equally depending on your personal situation, you may also be eligible for bursaries and grants. Our money expert team have created this helpful guide, so members of the British public can understand student loans and university finance in further detail.

From managing your budgets to understanding how the repayment of student loans works, so what are you waiting for? Let’s get started!

How do Student Loans Work?


As previously stated, the UK student loan system has been designed to help people who want to study at a further education establishment. Students are able to ‘borrow’ money to help pay for their university course, they can also apply for a maintenance loan to help with living costs and depending on their personal circumstances may receive grants or a bursary.

Let’s take a look at the options:

  • Tuition Loan – This is the ‘standard’ loan which pays for your course fees

  • Maintenance Loan – This helps with day-to-day living, such as rent, food, bills, etc

  • Uni Grant – Some people may be eligible for a grant to attend university, please speak to your University or local authority for further information.

  • Bursaries - Usually given to students based on personal circumstances, such as income.

  • Scholarships - Usually very competitive and based on merit / ability.
Normally you won’t have to ‘pay back’ any money for a grant, bursary or scholarship, however please read all documentation to make 100% sure.

You can typically apply for a loan, around 9 months before your course starts. Your ‘loan’ does not get paid into your bank account, it will be paid directly to your university.

Normally three payments are made during the educational year, this is at the start of every term. You’ll begin to ‘pay back’ your loan after you’ve finished your course and started earning over a certain amount of money.

Who is Eligible?


There’s a few things to consider before you’ll be accepted for Student Finance, this can include:

  • Your University / College

  • Type of Course

  • If you’ve studied a higher education course before

  • Your Age

  • Your Residency Status (please see below for further information)


Your nationality or residency status

You can apply if all of the following apply:

  • You’re a UK national or have ‘settled status’ (This means there’s no restrictions on how long you can stay)

  • You normally live in England

  • You’ve been living in the United Kingdom, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man for 3 years before starting your course


  • You may be eligible if you’re a:

    • Refugee

    • Humanitarian protection

    • EEA migrant worker

    • Child of a Swiss national

    • Child of a Turkish worker

    • A stateless person (including family members) and you’re a new student starting on or after 1 August 2018

    • From an EU country

    • Under 18 and have lived in the UK for at least 7 years

    • 18 or over and have lived in the UK for at least 20 years (or at least half of your life)
    For further information on residency, please contact Student Loans Company for further advice.


    Equally, you should also note that Finance is only available to the following course types:

    • a first degree, for example BA, BSc or BEd

    • a Foundation Degree

    • a Certificate of Higher Education

    • a Diploma of Higher Education (DipHE)

    • a Higher National Certificate (HNC)

    • a Higher National Diploma (HND)

    • a Postgraduate Certificate of Education (PGCE)

    • Initial Teacher Training

    • an integrated master’s

    • a pre-registration postgraduate healthcare course

    How much does University Cost?


    If you’re planning to attend a publicly-funded university in England, the maximum tuition fee they can charge is currently £9,250 per year.

    So, for example this means on a three-year undergraduate course, the maximum you can be charged is £27,750 plus interest.

    However, not all universities will charge £9,250 per year for every course, some can be lower than this. In addition, if you live in Northern Ireland, Wales or Scotland, your country’s student finance department may cover some or all your tuition fee costs.

    Normally most students will have to apply for a tuition fee loan, once accepted the ‘loan’ gets paid directly to the university each year. It does not enter your bank account. Students typically start ‘repaying’ the loan after they’ve completed their course and started earning a wage above a certain amount.

    Remember, it’s not just undergraduates who can apply for a tuition loan, it can also available for:

    • Postgraduate study - If you’re thinking about studying a postgraduate master’s degree and are aged 59 years or under, you may be able to receive a loan of up to £10,609 to contribute to your course and living costs. You’ll only make ‘repayments’ when you earn over the salary threshold, this is currently £21,000 per year.

    • Part-time students - You may be able to get a loan if your part-time course has a ‘course intensity’ of 25% or more. For the 2018 to 2019 academic year, you can receive up to £6,935 tuition fee loan. Equally you may also be eligible for a maintenance loan for living costs, depending on your personal circumstances.

    How to Repay your Tuition Fee
    Repaying your student loan varies on when you completed your course. In England there’s three different types of student loans, these are:

    • Before September 1998 (Mortgage Style) - If you attended a university course which started before September 1998 you have a ‘Mortgage Style’ loan. This was a loan which was designed to be repayable over a fixed number of installments.

      Repayments of these loans were previously collected directly by Student Loans Company (SLC), however all these loans are now owned by the following debt owners:

      • Thesis Servicing: 03330 045 045
      • Honours Student Loans Ltd: 0844 826 7835
      • Erudio Student Loans Ltd: 0333 003 7188


    • Before 1st September 2012 (Plan 1) - If you attended a university course which started before the 1st September 2012 you have a ‘Plan 1’ loan.

      You will start to repay your loan from the April following the date you graduate or leave your course. You will pay 9% of anything you earn over £18,330 before tax per year.

      If you have an employer, you will have repayment deductions taken directly from your pay slip.

      If you are self-employed, you will need to complete a self-assessment form and return it with any payment by 31 January following the relevant tax year.

      From December 2017, until further notice, the interest rate set for the pre-2012 (plan 1) Income Contingent Repayment loans will be 1.50%.


    • After 1st September 2012 to the present date (Plan 2) - If you attended a university course which started after the 1st September 2012 you have a ‘Plan 2’ loan. You‘re charged interest from the day your first payment is made, until your loan is repaid in full. Interest is added to the total amount you owe every month.

      The interest rate is based on the UK Retail Price Index (also known as RPI) and will vary depending on your circumstances. The interest rate is updated once a year in September, using the RPI from March of that year.

      For current interest rates, please visit the official Student Loan Repayment page.

    Original Publication: 01 May 2017
    Last Updated: 06 May 2018

    Further details about using this website

    This website has been designed to help UK consumers find the best money saving tips, tricks, guides and techniques. Of course, just like many organisations we cannot guarantee 100% perfection. With that in mind, by using this website you agree that all information should be used at ‘your own risk’ and we cannot be held responsible or liable under any circumstances.

    • Anything you see on this website does not constitute health, financial or any other form of advice, as everybody has different circumstances and situations, you should always do your own research to make sure it’s correct for your individual requirements.

    • We often use links to third-party websites, we cannot be held responsible for any of their content. For third-party links, you’ll see a box and arrow such as this next to a link or as part of a section. Sometimes we may get paid for a links such as these, this is called an affiliate and helps to finance this website.

    • While we always attempt to show up-to-date and accurate information at the time of publication, we cannot 100% guarantee product information, deals, savings or prices will be 100% correct. Everything should be used as a 'general guide only'. You should always do your own research and check a 'sale', 'saving' or 'deal' is not cheaper elsewhere.
    • You should bear in mind that we don’t examine the stability of companies mentioned, unfortunately businesses cease trading on a daily basis, even big national companies. In some cases you can protect yourself, please click here for further details.

    • All images, photos and graphical elements featured on this site, have either been created by our in-house team or purchased legally from stock photography agencies.

    • Of course, there’s more legal jargon which you should be aware of, this includes our disclaimer, terms and conditions, cookie policy and privacy policy. You can find all of these links at the bottom of every page.

    • If you have noticed an incorrect link or page which needs our assistance, please Click Here to contact us. A member of our team will correct the problem as soon as possible.