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Student Finance – Introduction

Planning your future
Exploring higher education
Student finance
Choosing a course
Choosing a university
Your application

Please bear in mind that this website only offers an overview. For more detailed information linked to your personal background, ideas and situation, explore your options further on the many links available here and on the next couple of pages. None of this is financial advice either. It’s just a brief introduction to how the system works and to dispel some myths.

Disclaimer: I am not a financial adviser and nothing on this page is intended to be financial advice. This is just a summary and representation of some of the facts and myth busting links, linked to student finance and student loans in England. All the information on this page is correct at the time of writing (08/2021) but it’s advisable to do your own research as some of the figures on this page may become out of date before I have the opportunity to update them.

As you may already know, the picture when it comes to student finance has changed tremendously in the UK over the past decade. No doubt it will change again in the future. These changes have made it more difficult for many to decide on where to study and which course to do, or even whether to go to university in the first place.

Don’t decide not to go to university because of the student loan. Please explore first and find out the facts before you make a decision. Many people will be pleasantly surprised.

Depending on your personal situation and what course you are going to do, the situation doesn’t have to be desperate. As an undergraduate, you normally don’t pay anything up front.

Student finance for undergraduates in England has changed the most of course. Some ‘highlights’ for the situation in England (you will be on ‘Plan 2’):

  •  The maximum fee for undergraduate students studying in England is £9,250 a year. 
  •  Arrangements for student loans have changed at the same time for undergraduates. You now only start paying back when you earn over £27,288 (Figure correct at 08/2021 and will be adjusted to the index – normally changes in April – ref.: https://www.gov.uk/repaying-your-student-loan/what-you-pay). If you never earn that much, you never will pay even a penny back.
  •  Remember that, just like before, you don’t pay any of your course fees up front and you only start paying back when you earn over the amount above. Lots of people will only pay a fraction back.
  •  There is now also the possibility to get a student loan if you are a part time student and if you study an officially recognised course at a private institution or if you study through the Open University.

In Scotland, university study is generally paid for by the state but as an ‘English applicant’ you will be under the same system as if you were studying in England.

Other differences:

Especially for undergraduate students, the situation is very different in the three regions of the UK which are the subject of this website. However, you need to have been a resident there for a number of years before you qualify for their system.

You will be able to find up to date information on the websites below. On the next pages I will hopefully provide you with a starting point, and with additional useful links, to enable you to make a well informed decision on your options. 


Continue to: Student Finance –  More detail, less stress