We’re not going to sugarcoat it, figuring out how you're going to be able afford university isn’t the most fun part of applying. But, beginning to think about it now and knowing the options available to you will definitely help you later on in the process. You’ll thank yourself in the long run!
With the tuition fees, any additional course costs and paying for your accommodation, working out the cost of going to university will start to add up and can begin to look a bit scary. To help you get your head around it all, we’ve done some of the leg work for you and gathered some useful links and videos.
If you have any questions about student finance, feel free to contact us using the live chat below and we’ll point you in the right direction.
You won't need to apply for student finance just yet (that's week 24 if you fancy a sneak peek). But it's good to get some information before you have to.
How will I pay for uni?
Tuition fee loans
While this is probably the biggest cost, don’t worry. You don’t have to pay your tuition fees upfront. There are tuition fee loans available which you don’t have to repay until you’ve finished your degree and you are earning more than £25,000 a year (this is the threshold from April 2018). To pay it back the Student Loans Company will take a small percentage out of your salary every month.
The tuition fee loan is paid directly to the university, so once you’ve sorted it all out, you can just sit back and enjoy your course.
Here’s some more information on tuition fee loans:
There is also a maintenance loan available to help you with day-to-day living costs. This loan is purely optional, but if you need a hand with funding, give it some thought. It's paid into your bank account over three termly instalments.
Part of this loan is means tested. This means that if you’re living at home through university, you’ll still be eligible, but you won't get as much as if you lived away - you’ll just get slightly less. The loans are also based on your household income (also means tested). This means that the amount you get is dependent on how much your parents earn. It's always better to provide the household income as you could get more loan!
Here's some more information on maintenance loans:
Hear what these students and parents have to say about student loans and how they're funding university in this video.
When do I pay for uni?
So you don't have to start paying for university until after you have completed your degree. Your student loan will be paid directly to the University and you pay it back when you’re earning above a certain level.
What other financial support is on offer?
You can also get some extra cash with bursaries, scholarships and grants that may be offered by your university. Many of these are non-repayable and are there to help you with any extra financial burdens.
Here at Solent, we offer quite a few, from sports scholarships to scholarships for doing well in your A Levels or BTECs, to grants that offer general support, and bursaries for students from a range of different backgrounds.
It's definitely worth checking out what the university you're considering applying to is offering.
How can I make some money while I'm at uni?
You can also make some extra cash while studying. Be a bit wary though, we’ve come across a couple of articles online that suggest slightly dubious ways to make money. If in doubt speak to someone else first.
The safest way to make a bit of extra cash is by getting a part-time job while studying. It’s also a great way to build your CV. Most universities will have a job site that advertises carefully vetted jobs. Here’s ours to give you an idea of what to expect.
Many universities will also run an ambassador scheme which lets you work around your studies. This will usually find you assisting at events like Clearing and open days, or promoting the university at UCAS fairs or in schools and colleges.
Also, see if your university runs any freelancing initiatives. For example, we have Solent Creatives, an in-house agency that offers paid-for freelance opportunities for students on courses like graphic design, animation, media production and English. Again, this is a great way to build your CV and your portfolio. Not to mention connect with potential future employers.
These students talk about their experiences working part-time while they're studying.
The Guardian also has a helpful guide with some other ways to make some money at university.
Tasks for this week
- Look on the website of the university you're considering to see what financial support they offer.
- Start looking at student finance options and how and when to apply.