Student Finance: What You Need to Know

If you’re starting university this September, it’s time to get to grips with your finances. When you’ve spent the first eighteen years of your life living in the family home, university offers that first taste of independence and freedom. It’s important to plan how you’re going to fund your new adventure, so we’ve rounded up everything you need to know.

Student Finance

Full time undergraduate students starting university in England in 2020 receive:

Tuition Loan: The full cost of your course, the highest UK university fees are currently £9,250 per year.

Maintenance Loan, if you live:

  • At home: Up to £7,747
  • Away from home, outside London: Up to £9,203
  • Away from home, in London: Up to £12,010

Visit for further details on Student Finance allowances.

Key Information About Student Loans

  • Unlike other types of loans in the UK, Student Loans don’t impact your credit score.
  • You won’t start repaying until you earn over £26,526 so you don’t need to worry about being unable to afford repayments when you’re unemployed or on a low income.
  • You only pay 9% of your earnings above that threshold. This means that everything you earn up to and including £26,526 does not count and you’ll only repay 9% of anything over that, regardless of how much more you earn.
  • No one repays anything until the next tax year after graduating. Even if you graduate in July and immediately start earning a high salary, you won’t start repaying until the following April.

Budgeting Tips

  • Your yearly student loan is paid in three instalments, at the start of each term. Don’t forget to include holiday periods like Christmas, Easter and summer in your termly budget to ensure you don’t run out of money.
  • Find a part time job to boost your income and check you’re not overpaying tax, you shouldn’t be paying any tax if you earn under £12,500 a year.
  • Search for student discount codes when you shop. Student Beans is a free site but it may be worth buying a Totum card (previously NUS Extra) to access more universal discounts.
  • Check if you qualify for any grants with the Educational Grants Advisory Service. Depending on where you live, how much your parents earn and whether you’re the first university student in your family, you may be entitled to additional free financial support.

The Best Student Discounts

The Highest Paying Degrees

Wondering how your degree choice might impact your future financial prospects? According to The Guardian, these are the ten best paying degrees. The research is based on median PAYE earnings five years after graduation (2010/11 class) by course.

  • Medicine & Dentistry
  • Economics
  • Pharmacology
  • Engineering
  • Mathematical Sciences
  • Veterinary Sciences
  • Physics & Astronomy
  • Architecture
  • Chemistry
  • Politics
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