Funding Your Education Using Grants and Loans


Education is one of the best investments in your future. It does not only make you more likely to find a better paid job but it also enables you to both study and work in the field you are interested in the most. If you are worried about the costs of studying, you are not the only one. From September 2012, the colleges and universities in the UK can charge a tuition fee up to £9,000 a year for full-time students with the number being slightly lower for part-time students. But there is good news. If you cannot afford to pay the tuition fee or/and living costs, you can apply for a loan or grant to fund your education.

Student loans are the most common form of financial help with tuition and living costs. The height of loans depends on each student’s specific situation and may not cover all the fees and other education-related costs, especially if you choose to study at a private college or university. The amount you can borrow will also depend on whether you are a full-time or part-time student. Part-time students can get a loan to cover their entire tuition fee only if they are studying above 25% and less than 75% of a full-time course. Also, part-time students must start paying back the loan after four years if they are earning £21,000 or more a year even if they are still going to the course. Full-time students, on the other hand, start paying back their loan only when they begin to earn at least £21,000.

There are three basic types of student loans:

  • Tuition Fee Loan for full-time students
  • Tuition Fee Loan for part-time students
  • Maintenance Loan (for living costs) which is available only for full-time students


The height of the Maintenance Loan depends on the student’s financial situation, the year of study, existence/non-existence of financial help through the Maintenance Grant and some other criteria. The student must allow an insight into their family’s or partner’s income. If not, the student can receive only 65% of the Maintenance Loan.

The Maintenance Grant and Special Support Grant are also an option to get financial help with the studying and living costs. Unlike loans, grants do not have to be paid back but the amount of money received through grants is lower as the maximum Maintenance Grant is £3,350 a year. The height of the grant depends on the household income which, however, must not exceed £42,000 to qualify.

The Special Support Grant is intended for students whose partner has also applied for students’ financial help. The amount received through the Special Support Grant is virtually the same than that received through the Maintenance Grant. But in contrary to the latter, it does not affect the amount you can get through the Maintenance Loan. Financial help through the Special Support Grant can also be received by students who are single parents or have a disability. The Special Support Grant is not classified as an income which means that it does not have any effect on income-related benefits.