Written by Matthew
BSc (Hons) Psychology
When thinking about doing a degree at university, there are, of course, several questions running through your head. What course do I do? What societies do I join?
But one of the most important questions is: how will I fund my studies? There’s talk of loans, grants, bursaries…it all sounds really complicated.
But it turns out, it isn’t!
When you first do a university course, you have several options on how you wish to pay your tuition fees. While you can pay them off all at once, or at regular instalments throughout the year, one of the more popular choices is to take out what’s known as a Tuition Loan.
But how do I apply for one?
Very easily! You can apply for, and track the progress of, your loan applications on the Gov.uk website. On this website, you can create an account and start applying for whatever loans you need during your time studying. Just fill in background information, what you plan to study, what year of study you are on, and you’ve basically applied for your loan. You don’t have to worry as the Student Loans Company (SLC) then pays for your course directly to your university while you study.
What if I need more funds for living alone at university?
As independent living is a key aspect of university life, of course money also becomes a worry. But with SLC, you can apply for a Maintenance Loan – the amount you receive varies depending upon your financial situation, where you live while you study, and who you live with (for instance, if you have a child dependent on you). This loan is given to you in instalments throughout your academic year.
There are also grants, which you can apply for on the SLC website should you meet certain criteria. The good news is that, unlike loans, you do not have to pay back grants. Furthermore, at BU we offer a wide range of bursaries and scholarships (which also do NOT have to pay back, win win!) – check them out on the BU website and see what you can apply for and how.
Okay, but when do I pay the loans back?
While it may seem stressful to have loans with you, a benefit is that you don’t have to pay them back immediately. While you can pay back some chunks if you want to, payments are only mandatory when, once you start getting paid work, your pay exceeds a certain amount. Currently, most students will start paying back when their pay hits £27,295 a year, but do note this changes from time to time, and it may vary depending on what repayment plan you are on (most students will now fall under Plan 2). And again, with grants, scholarships, you don’t have to pay them back!
However you choose to fund your studies, always remember that loans are simpler than they seem, they’re easy to apply for, and there’s always support available both from SLC and BU should you need it while studying.
Please note that there’s a different process if you’re a student from Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, Jersey, Guernsey or Isle of Man.