A parent's guide to student finance and fees

Thanks to loans, financial support and low repayments, funding a degree isn’t as difficult as you might think! Studying at university is a significant investment and as a result can initially seem expensive. However, it is important to read past the headlines to find out how the system would work on a practical level for your son or daughter.

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Graduates earn an average of £9,500 more per year, or £380,000 over a 40-year working life, than someone without a degree (Graduate Labour Market Statistics 2020, Department for Education). There is a range of student finance packages available, plus grants, bursaries and scholarships to help make university a much more achievable goal.

Loans

Tuition fee loan: Universities can charge up to £9,250 a year for tuition fees to full-time UK and EU students. However it is important to consider that this money is not paid up front by the student; it is paid directly to the university by the Student Loans Company, with repayments only beginning once the graduate is in work and earning above a set amount.

Maintenance loan: Maintenance loans are paid to help with living costs, such as accommodation, food and travel. A portion of this loan is available to all students and the amount your son or daughter is entitled to depends on where they decide to study (with a higher loan available for students in London) and if they live at home. The remaining portion of the loan is means-tested, which is when Student Finance England will require documentation to confirm the student’s household income to determine how much more they’re entitled to receive.

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Other support

Extra support for students with a disability and for those with children and dependants may also be available. These include Parents’ Learning Allowance, Childcare Grant, Adult Dependants’ Grant, and Disabled Students’ Allowances. For up-to-date information on how much your son or daughter is entitled to, visit the Government's website.

Scholarships and bursaries

Some universities offer their own scholarships and bursaries and it’s important for your son or daughter to check what extra financial support is available. We offer both academic and means-tested scholarships.

Parental support

Everyone’s situation is different, however as your son or daughter prepares for university life, it is important to have some frank conversations about financial matters. Will you be able to provide any extra support? If so, to what extent and how often? Will this be expected to be repaid and are there expectations on how should this money be used? Would you be happy to act as a guarantor for accommodation or help with initial deposit payments? These discussions are essential in helping students to prepare a realistic budget for their time at university.

Repayments

If your child accessed a student loan, repayments start from the April after they have graduated, but only once they are earning over £26,575 (figure correct as of December 2020) per annum. Typically repayments are automatically deducted from their salary via the tax system. Student loan repayments are directly linked to how much a graduate earns, not the amount they borrowed. Meaning that regardless of whether they borrow £1,000 or £50,000, the monthly repayment cost would be the same.

How it is worked out

Your son or daughter will repay 9% of any income above £26,575. If at any point during their career earnings drop below £26,575 they stop repaying. After 30 years, any outstanding payments will be written off.

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