Studying in England is an important investment for any student’s future. In fact, for the academic year 2020/2021 the government has established a cap at £9,250 per year for undergraduate courses provided by public Universities. However, the UK government has a system in place that helps UK and EU students in the UK to borrow funding and receive a student’s loan and these are generally more convenient to obtain than loans from banks or other financial institutions.
Large numbers of UK and EU students (see Eligibility section) can borrow money from Student Finance England (SLC) in order to pay for an undergraduate, postgraduate, Initial Teacher Training course or postgraduate doctoral course. In addition, UK and EU students can also receive a Maintenance loan which should help students to cover living cost such us travel, accommodation and books.
The course should be provided by a recognised University or College in the United Kingdom in order to be eligible to receive student loans.
It is important to note that students that are eligible to receive student loans are usually studying towards their first degree (or higher education course) even if the previous degree has been self-funded or funded through sponsorship. However, there are some exceptions, and so, if an applicant is not sure about their eligibility, we recommend they contact Student Finance England directly or else book a FREE appointment with our educational consultant.
There are many factors that affect the eligibility of an applicant to receive a Student Finance England loan and generally a student can get a loan depending on (1) university or college, (2) course, (3) previous study and (4) nationality or residency status. Usually, students that can apply are:
- UK national or individual that have a ‘settled status’ (they should have lived in the UK for at least 36 months before the start of the academic year)
- EU national or a relative of one
- Refugee or a relative of one
- Individual that has been granted Humanitarian protection or a relative of one
- A citizen of EEA or Switzerland
- A child of a Swiss national or a child of a Turkish worker
- Individual that has been recognised as a stateless person
- Individual that has granted ‘leave to remain’ or a child of one (under section 67 of the Immigration Act 2016)
In addition, student loans may be made available to individuals that have been granted ‘Calais leave’ (or a child of one) or people that have been granted ‘indefinite leave to remain’ due to abuse or violence. For more information visit the webpage of Student Finance England.
Tuition Fee Loan
Universities and Colleges in the UK charge tuition fees to students in order to provide core services which include lectures, campus and other student-related services. Full-time students in England can pay up to £9,250 per academic year. However, for an accelerated or fast-track degree course students can be funded up to £11,000 per academic year and the course generally lasts only 24 months.
UK or EU students that ask for a tuition fee to Student finance England (SFE) need to complete a form online or by paper and the University chosen by the student will receive the funding directly from SFE. The funds will be received by the University in three instalments as shown below.
|Payment||% of total amount borrowed||Amount paid|
|Total amount paid||£9,250|
The above table is calculated on a Tuition fee of £9,250
The maintenance loans are funding available to students to cover living cost (e.g. rent and food) while they are studying. These loans are available to students that are studying at: undergraduate course; Initial Teacher Training (ITT) course or Postgraduate Certificate of Education (PGCE).
Unlike the Tuition fee loans, maintenance loans are paid directly to the student’s bank account in three different instalments throughout the academic year. Generally, UK and EU nationals that have lived in the UK for 5 years can receive this type of loan. However, EEA migrant workers are also eligible to apply for a maintenance loan.
It is generally difficult to establish how much a student can get from Student Finance England as it depends on several factors which include; where they live while they are studying, the status of the applicant (dependent or independent student) and the household income. The table below shows the maximum Maintenance Loan amounts for students for the academic year 2020/2021.
|Student’s living arrangements||Maximum Maintenance Loan for the 2019/20 academic year||Maximum Maintenance Loan for the 2020/21 academic year|
|Living with parents||£7,529||£7,747|
|Studying in London and not living with parents||£11,672||£12,010|
|Studying outside London and not living with parents||£8,944||£9,203|
|Living and studying abroad for at least one term as part of their UK course||£10,242||£10,539|
Some students may be entitled to receive extra amounts of money if any of the below applies to them:
- Single parent or single foster parent
- Have a partner that is studying full-time and one parent is responsible for a child
- Have a disability
- Have been recognised as incapable of work
Student Finance England will require additional evidence in order to pay additional funds to students so it is recommended to prepare the documentation well in advance before applying. UK and EU Students in the UK that apply for a maintenance loan must have a UK bank account under their own name and should have received an offer from a recognised University or College. We recommend opening a UK bank account with Revolut if you do not have an accommodation contract at this link.
UK and EU students in the UK that are starting a postgraduate Master’s course in 2020/2021 can get a postgraduate Master’s loan of up to £11,222 to cover tuition fees and living costs. Students that have a disability or who face finance hardship may be able to get extra funding. Unlike undergraduate students, Master’s course students are not eligible for Childcare Grant or Parents’ Learning Allowance and Adult Dependants’ Grant.
Repayment & Interest on Students’ Loan
Students’ loans provided by Student Finance England need to be paid back. These include: Tuition fee loans, Maintenance loans and Postgraduate loans. Students are still liable to pay back loans even if they left the course early. Only grants and bursaries do not need to paid back.
Student’s loan repayments need to be made to the Student Loan Company (SLC). The amount of the repayment depends on how much an individual earns rather than how much they have borrowed. Look at the below tables to see some repayment examples for (1) a Tuition fee loan and (2) a postgraduate loan.
(1) Tuition fee loan – Repayments begin when the income is over £25,725 (current threshold) and is required to pay 9% of the amount earned over the threshold for Plan 1 and 2 (below example is for plan 2)
|Yearly income before tax||Monthly income before tax||Monthly repayment|
(2) Postgraduate Loan – Repayments begin when the income is over £21,000 (current threshold) and is required to pay 9% of the amount earned over the threshold for the Postgraduate Loan
|Yearly income before tax||Monthly income before tax||Monthly repayment|
Students do not need to pay anything back if they earn less than the threshold. If the student for any reason leaves the UK and does not pay UK tax for more than 90 days, they are required to inform the Student Loan Company about their change of circumstance.
UK and EU students in the UK that have received a student loan from Student finance England will need to pay interest on any students’ loan that they have borrowed. Interest will be charged from the first day Student Finance England pays the student or the University or college where the student is attending the course. The current interest rate is 3% plus the Retail price index (RPI).