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Financial Help with the Costs of Higher Education

By: Sarah O'Hara BA (hons) - Updated: 3 Mar 2020 | comments*Discuss
The Costs Of Higher Education Financial

When you see what it costs to study for a higher education course, the figures can be alarming. However, there is financial help available to help you meet these costs. When you’re researching whether to study for a higher education course it’s important to be aware of all the financial help you could be eligible for.


Student loans are administered by the Student Loans Company and get paid directly into students’ bank accounts. Students don’t have to pay students loans back until they’re earning at least £15,000 a year.

There are two types of student loan you can take out to help with higher education costs:

  • Student Loan for Fees

Student Loans for Fees are non means-tested and all full-time students are eligible to borrow the amount to cover their full fees. Fees in 2008/9 can be up to £3,145.

  • Student Loan for Maintenance

Student Loans for Maintenance are to help students with living costs, such as accommodation, food and travel. Maintenance Loans are means-tested, which means the amount you can receive will depend on your household income. In 2008/9 up to £6, 475 per year is available for students studying in London. Students living outside London can qualify for up to £4,625, and those living with their parents could get up to £3,580.

Unless you’re a mature student, it will be your parents’ income which is assessed. All students are entitled to apply for 75% of the Maintenance Loan. The more your parents earn, the less Maintenance Loan you’ll be entitled to above this basic 75%.


On top of loans, many students are also eligible for a Maintenance Grant. Grants don’t have to be paid back.

Maintenance Grants are means tested and a maximum or £2,835 a year is currently available. If you get a Maintenance Grant, up to £1,260 of it is paid instead of the Student Loan for Maintenance, meaning you can borrow less.

An alternative to the Maintenance Grant is the Special Support Grant. Students who are likely to qualify for a Special Support Grant include single parents and students with qualifying disabilities. The Special Support Grant has no effect on the amount of student loan which can be borrowed.

Access to Learning Funds

Access to Learning Funds are there to help students who run out of money while they are studying, through for example an emergency or late payment of other financial help.

A student adviser will be able to help you apply for an Access to Learning Fund should you need to.

Scholarships and bursaries

On top of loans and grants, universities also offer a limited number of grants and bursaries. Help may be in the form of money, or in kind, for example books or a bike. Look on individual university websites for details of the scholarships and bursaries that they offer.

Scholarships and bursaries don’t have to be repaid.

Extra help

There is also a lot of help available for students with specific needs, for example students who are studying for teaching or social work courses, students with children and disabled students. You will be assessed for this help on your student finance application.

Part-time work

Most students undertake some form of part-time work to help out with their costs these days. Common student jobs include bar work, and working in restaurants and shops. It’s important that part-time work doesn’t interfere with your university work though. Most universities suggest that students do no more than 15 hours per week paid work.


Many shops, bars and transport companies offer quite generous discounts to students. Taking advantage of these where possible can really help save some money.

The important thing is to make sure that you receive all the financial help that you are entitled to. Our article Applying For Financial Help For a Higher Education Course will help you ensure that you do this.

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I would like to further my studies I just finished mi advanced diploma in accounting so would you please assist mi with the students loan of grants
angie - 8-Nov-15 @ 11:15 AM
I Khongoda Gunarathn, student applicant would like to forward detailed curriculum vitae of myself in support of the above request. My main ambition is to qualify as a qualified professional Civil Engineer. The details of all my academic and professional qualifications are given below for your kind perusal. I have completed my National Diploma in Engineering Sciences (NDES) which is a four years programme conducted by National Apprentice and Industrial Training Authority (NAITA) of Sri Lanka. In this National Diploma I have specialized in water and environmental engineering. These field experiences helped me to better understand the Civil Engineering that I have been taught in a real world setting.I found my all work experiences were very exciting as well as interesting As you can see from my qualifications , I am an extremely hard-working, studious and motivated individual.I am sure this quality will carry on me to gain maximum benefit from this further study and to gain a greater in depth knowledge of this subject. I have already get the unconditional offer from Canterbury university, New Zealand but I don't have a enough money to get admission. So I am confident that I could progress well without any hindrance, if you consider me to get ofBachelor of Engineeringin Civil Engineering program. Please be kind enough to consider the above-mentioned facts and grant me admission to thatprogram. I will be very much thankful to your favorable response to my kind request .
Indee - 6-Sep-15 @ 4:29 AM
Dear sir/madam im ivin who needs help for the payments of school fees at E6500 per year ..im 18 years ..i have lost my fatherand my mother is able to get money to feed us onlynot for school fees i have 2 brothers who are not at school because of money..please help i want to achive my goals..my phone number is +26876920317 im in swaziland please help
Tony - 14-Aug-14 @ 12:47 AM
I had obtained a bachelors degree at my matric last year and I want to further my studies at damelin college but im lacking of funds. Can you assist me please
Bellamy - 15-Jan-14 @ 6:56 AM
I would like to apply for funding towards my studies please. I am currently at the college doing my diploma course! unfortunately 24+advance loan has disapproved my applivation. I am desparate as I have no means or any income to support myself whilst studying.
Greter - 30-Nov-13 @ 3:37 PM
I would like to apply for funding to further my education in September 2013... please help me get a schorlarship, grant or even a loan.
Awuradwoa - 23-Jul-13 @ 10:54 PM
I am starting Dundee university Scotland in sept. I'm doing nursing. I live at home with my mumwho is a single parent. She earns £16,000 a year. Do I qualify for. A bursary.
Caird - 31-May-13 @ 4:03 PM
I'm requesting a help for high education tuition fee at bungando university, i expect to join the college in year 2013/2014 in facultyofEducation in Nursing[Bacholor of science in nursing-education].The cost per year is TSHS 5,700,000/=
MAMA CAATH - 16-Mar-13 @ 11:53 AM
Hi, Would you please write where i can apply for grant or get further information? BR, Bal
Bal - 28-Feb-13 @ 3:56 PM
I want to strat my higher education please me help me
lemedo - 18-Feb-13 @ 4:30 PM
Hello, am I eligible for any kind of maintenance grant or access to learning fund if I already have an UG degree and want to do another UG degree?Thanks,Alexis
alolik - 27-Jun-12 @ 9:42 PM
I find the information on the subject very useful and authentic.
aluta - 10-Apr-11 @ 10:53 AM
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