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Depending on your own personal circumstances and often, that of your parents, the student loans and other means of income you’ll receive will vary.

Here’s what you could be eligible for in the academic year 2012/2013:

  • A maintenance grant or special support grant up to a maximum of £3,250.
  • A tuition fee loan that will cover the full amount of your fees. Maximum loan amount is £9,000 for the academic year 2012/13.
  • A maintenance loan worth a maximum of £5,500 outside London & £7,675 in London in 2012/13. This is subject to your living arrangements and may be reduced if you get a maintenance grant.

Maintenance Grant / Special Support Grant

  • Designed to help you pay for your living costs.
  • Only available to full-time students with a family income below £42,600.
  • Maximum annual grant is £3,250 in 2012/13.
  • Grants do not have to be repaid.

How Will These Grants Affect my Maintenance Loan?

If you are offered a Special Support Grant, this will have no effect on your eligibility for a Maintenance Loan, or the amount you will receive.

If you are offered a Maintenance Grant, the amount of Maintenance Loan you are entitled to could be reduced accordingly. However, with the grant, there’s no need to repay it, which is obviously beneficial in the longer term.

What’s the Difference Between a Special Support and a Maintenance Grant?

  • A Special Support Grant doesn’t affect your Maintenance Loan. A Maintenance Grant does.
  • A Special Support Grant will not be counted as income when it comes to applying for other Government benefits or tax credits. A Maintenance Grant will be.

Who Can Apply For a Special Support Grant?

In order to apply for a special support grant, you’ll need to meet the “Prescribed Student” criteria during the course of the academic year for which you are applying. You’re likely to be eligible if you are:

  • A student with certain disabilities.
  • A single parent.
  • Other student parents (for example, both parents are studying).

This list certainly isn’t exhaustive and you should contact Student Finance England to find out whether you might be eligible.

How is my Grant Paid?

Grants are paid directly into your bank account at the start of each term. The first payment, subject to your application being completed and received on time, will be paid in to your account at the beginning of your first term (after you have registered for your course).

Applying for Student Grants

All grant applications are now dealt with by Student Finance.  You can apply online or by post and all information can be found on the Direct.gov.uk site.

Maintenance Loans

  • Every full time student is entitled to 72% of the maximum Maintenance Loan (unless reductions apply as a result of your receiving a Maintenance Grant).
  • The remaining 28% is income assessed.
  • Must be repaid.

How Much Will I Get?

As a guide:

Maintenance loans table

How is my Maintenance Loan Paid to me?

In much the same way as Maintenance Grants are paid, student Maintenance Loans are paid in installments at the beginning of each term, directly into your bank account.

How is my Maintenance Loan Repaid?

Your first loan repayment will be expected in the April after you graduate (providing you are earning in excess of £21,000). Ordinarily, your repayments will come out of your wages through the tax system. This will of course not be the case if you are self employed.

Tuition Fee Loans

  • A loan that covers the entire cost of your university tuition fees.
  • Loan is paid directly to your university.
  • Loan must be repaid.

The Tuition Fee Loan is not means tested. It must, however, be repaid in the same way that Maintenance Loan is repaid, through the tax system, once you earn over the threshold (currently at £21,000).

From the April after you graduate, repayments are scaled as follows:

Repayments are scaled as follows:
student loan repayment table

Other sources of funding

In addition to student loans and grants, some students may be eligible for extra financial support from their college or university, and there are also some opportunities to get education funding from charities. Bursaries do not have to be repaid.

Bursaries available directly from your university or college

If your family earns less than £25,000 a year, you can apply for a bursary through the The National Scholarship Programme (NSP). This can provide help paying tuition fees, accommodation costs or other expenses. You apply for the NSP directly through your college or university. Additionally, any students who are receiving the full Maintenance Grant or Special Support Grant as well as paying maximum tuition fees are automatically entitled to a bursary from their college or university.


Many higher education providers also offer scholarships. These can be based on academic achievement, area of study, or family income. You will be able to get relevant information from the university or college you are applying to.

Funding from charities

There are a number of trusts and charities who offer grants and awards to students. You can get more information by having a look through the following directories:

  • The Educational Grants Directory
  • The Charities Digest
  • The Grants Register
  • The Directory of Grant Making Trusts

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