When studying a university level qualification there are two main associated costs; tuition fees and living costs.
Tuition fees refer to the fee charged by the college or university for your course tuition. Tuition fees are dependent on the qualification you study and the tuition fees charged by the College can be found on the individual course listing.
Living costs are the associated costs of studying and include expenses such as books, rent and travel. Although higher education may seem expensive, there are lots of funding options available to help you while you are studying.
Tuition Fee Loan
Tuition Fee Loans are available to UK and EU full-time and part-time students from Student Finance England and are only repayable after you graduate and earn over £25,000 a year. This loan is paid directly to the college or university in instalments throughout the year to cover your course fees. Outstanding loans not repaid will be written off after 30 years from when you're due to start making repayments.
A Maintenance Loan is available from Student Finance England to help with living costs such as rent, food, books, travel and other expenses while you’re studying. The amount available depends on where you live, where you study and your annual household income. You don’t pay it back until after you graduate and earn over £25,000 a year. An extra Maintenance Loan may also be available to individuals that meet certain criteria.
Higher Education Student Opportunity Fund
The SOF (Student Opportunity Fund) is a discretionary fund for higher education students only which may (depending on your circumstances) provide you with additional funding on top of any statutory funding you receive such as grants, loans or bursaries.
Applications are invited from full-time or part-time students, please see application form and guidance notes for details.
Higher Education Students and Benefits
The information that follows is intended for guidance only. There are strict rules for each benefit regarding eligibility.
The majority of full-time students cannot claim benefits. If you are a full-time student you will not usually be able to claim any other benefits during your course of study, however, you may still be entitled to claim if you:
- are a lone parent
- have a disability
- have a student partner and a child, and it is the summer vacation
- are a pensioner
If you have a child/children under the age of eighteen (or twenty if they are still in full-time education) you may be able to claim Child Benefit .
For more information on eligibility, what benefits you may be able to claim and which elements of your student funding should be disregarded as income, please see the benefits page of the government website.
Non-student partners may be entitled to claim benefits at any time, but the student loan will be taken into account as income.
Need a little help?
For information, advice or guidance, contact the higher education team.