Student Loans Availability for All Course
Loans are available from the government via the Student Loans Company (SLC) to help pay tuition fees and living expenses.
The rate of interest is perhaps the lowest form and is very cheap and based on the actual rate of inflation (currently set at 1.5%)
Most loans are means tested in that the income of your household including any of your own income is taken into account when the calculations are made. Despite this there are large elements that are available to all students and are non means tested ie: not based on your income.
Student Loan Availability
There are two types of Higher Education Loans available for students:
- Student loans for tuition fees - This type of loan is available to students who need a loan in order to pay tuition fees to their College or University. You can apply for up to the total cost of your fees each year.
- Student loans for maintenance - This loan is available to students who need additional financial support towards the cost of accommodation, food, clothes and travel.
Student Maintenance Loans
In addition to loans for tuition fees there is help for full-time students with living expenses in the form of maintenance loans and grants.
Maintenance loans are available to help with living costs and accrue interest at a very low rate (linked to the level of inflation). All eligible students are entitled to a guaranteed amount 72% of the maximum full year loan figure (the maximum loan in 2012/13 for students living away from home and not in London is £5,500 and in London is £7,675) and if you live with your parents it's £4,375.
The income assessed or means tested element is on the remaining 28% and is based on the income of your household, as this percentage of the maintenance loan is subject to means testing once your household income reaches a certain amount. This is structured like this as the government expects higher income holders to bridge the gap in the finances available.
The loan is repayable only after you leave your course and start earning more than £15,795 a year. (See below about repaying loans).
How much can you Borrow ?
The figures are stated above and it's best to borrow the maximum amount and put it in a high interest savings account and draw out what you need when you need it. This means you can earn a little interest which always helps against bills you have.
If you don't take the full amount in one year you can't back date your claims and you never know what you may need. Then you may have to get more expensive loans like credit cards which is the worst form of debt on the market.
Repaying Student Loans
Student loan repayments are based on your income if you started your course in or after 1998 depending on the repayment threshold. If you earn less than this threshold you will not be required to repay any of the loan. Once over the repayment threshold you will repay a percentage of the amount you earn over the threshold until the loan is repaid.
The current threshold is £15,000 per year and most payments are collected through the PAYE tax system and paid directly back to the student loans company on your behalf. Any disability-related benefits you receive will not be counted towards the £15,795 threshold, even if they are taxable. If you receive a disability-related benefit and are permanently unfit for work, your loan will be cancelled.
You pay back 9% of anything you earn over the threshold. Any debt outstanding after 25 years is wiped clean.
The Student Loans Company
The Student Loans Company was set up to adminsiter loans to UK students. At the beginning it was easy, but as with most Government funded schemes under "new" Labour it is now extremely complicated.
Generally, student loans are available to those entering higher education at university or college to help them meet their living costs while studying. The loans are fixed at a very low interest rate and are issued by the Government through the Student Loans Company; for most students they act as the main source of financial support (although some parents might argue otherwise!). Once your course has finished - and you are earning enough money - you have to start to pay back your loan - normally over three years.
You won't need to pay back any of the loan during your years at university only once you have got a job paying over a certain amount of money. If you choose to go into one of the professions such as nursing or teaching, then you have additional time to begin to pay the loan back (because these jobs don't pay very much and are more of a vocation).
If you have no joy with the SLC then try other providers including UK banks and building societies. They are generally very good with helping students with loans.
Applying for Finance
You can apply online via the government's website or download the finance forms and send them in the post. Either yourself, your parents, partners, husbands and wives can complete the forms for you. New student forms are called PN1 whereas continuing students are PR1. If you are part time the form is PTG1 (and you also have to confirm if you are on benefits (CB1) and for parents and partners their form is CB2 (with additional clarification on income and earnings on CI2 and GSA1) Once the forms are complete you'll need proof of identity which should be your passport - if you don't have one a birth certificate should be sent. Forms should be sent to your local authority or the Student Loans Company depending on your location. Full information and direct .gov address is on their website here
Approved Student Finance Companies
Of course the banks may be your first choice for finance loans but there are many government approved schemes such as student finance direct and the student loans company (sometimes referred to as the student finance company) that offer a competitive rate of interest that no bank can match. With the SLC you only pay back the finance once you have a full time job.
The best method is to start your search for student finance online where there is a wealth of information and you can complete your application forms from their websites.
You may be eligible for a bursary or scholarship from your university if you are from a low income home See more on student bursaries and what you may be entitled for.
You may be eligible for a student grant for maintenance or a special support grant to cover additional costs such as books and materials. See if student grants are available for you and your course.