University Finance

Applying for Loans

Once your application for university is completed and you have accepted your ‘firm’ and ‘insurance’ places, you can apply online for student finance. This is usually done between March and June so that you have the security of knowing that the fees will be paid on time, when your course starts. Leaving it late may mean that the money arrives late in your account, after the start of the university year.

Applying for university finance is not something that your school does for you. It is your parents/guardians who must do this. However, if you need advice, please see a member of the sixth form team at your academy.

The link for applying for university finance is:



If you’re a student from England you can apply online for the following academic years:

  • 2021 to 2022
  • 2020 to 2021

You can apply for:

  • Tuition Fee Loans
  • Maintenance Loans

You can apply online up to 9 months after the start of the academic year for your course.

You must download the application forms and apply by post if you’re either:

  • a part-time student applying for a grant
  • an EU student

Download here:



How to Repay your Loan

  • You only start repaying when your income is more than £27,000 a year.
  • You only pay 9% of anything you earn over £27,000.
  • Your repayments will be taken out of your salary at the same time as tax and National Insurance if you’re an employee. Your pay slips will show how much has been deducted.
  • You will pay interest on your loan from the first time that you take it out.  This will be added to the overall sum.
  • There’s no penalty for paying some or all of your loan off early.*

*We don’t recommend paying off your loan early. You can expect to pay back less than half of your loan in most cases unless you are a very high earner and the debt is cancelled automatically after 30 years.


Here’s an example of how your payment is calculated: 

Your annual income is £28,800 and you are paid a regular monthly wage. This means that each month your income is £2,400 (£28,800 divided by 12). This is over the monthly threshold of £2,083.

Your income is £317 over the threshold (£2,400 minus £2,083). You will pay back £28 (9% of £317) each month.



Can I Afford to go to University?

Going to university is not as expensive as you might think. Although you and your parents may not like the idea of being in debt, it might be better to think in terms of a ‘university tax’ rather than debt.

Here are some of the key points to consider:

  • Currently, all university tuition fees are the same amount*: £9250 a year, whether you go to a Russell Group university or somewhere less competitive.  Going to the best university you can is value for money.
  • You can borrow the money for your fees and for most of your living expenses and you don’t have to pay the money back until you have a job.
  • You don’t have to pay back the loans you have taken out until you are employed and earning over £25,000 a year.
  • The monthly pay back for someone who is earning just over £25,000 a year is very small.  See the example above.
  • If you lose your job, you will stop paying back the loan until you get another job where you earn over £25,000 a year.
  • If you never earn more than £25,000 a year, you never have to pay back the loan.
  • You can work while you are at university to help pay for your living expenses.  The holidays are very long and universities often offer employment for their own students.
  • After 30 years, the loan is cancelled, even if you haven’t paid some or any of it back.

*some universities offer lower fees for some courses on a case by case basis.

Having a low income should never be a reason for not going to university!  Note that Harris Federation offer a limited amount of IGY Scholarships for very able and hardworking Year 13 students which can help with the cost of university.  See your Head of Sixth Form for details.

Students considering university should never consider the finance as a debt but more of an investment. All fees that are paid back are paid in the form of a graduate tax. Hopefully the information on this page will unravel some of the myths about how one finances themselves through university.


Tuition Fees

Student Finance will pay the fees of £9,250.00 directly to the university through a tuition fee loan.

Maintenance Loans

The government provides maintenance loans through student finance and this is repayable on graduation providing you are earning above the threshold. Please see below.

Maximum for Academic Year 2021/2022 Loan Available
Living at home £7,987.00
Living away from home outside London £9,488.00
Living away from home in the London area £12,382.00
Spending a year of a UK course studying abroad £10,866.00

The amount that a student will receive will depend on their family household income.

45% - 50% of the loan is guaranteed with the balance subject to a family income assessment.


National Scholarships Programme

Most universities offer bursaries with varying criteria. Once you have chosen a university it would be worth researching on the university website to see if there are any bursaries that you consider you may be entitled to.

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