Student finance has been a major news story in recent months. Changes to the way in which university education is funded have caused major controversy and a lot of anger.
Many people are concerned about the increased cost of going to university. But if you are from a lower-income background, you should remember that there is financial support available to you.
Haven’t student fees gone up?
Yes. Following the coalition government’s adoption of elements of the Browne review, student fees are increasing. From the 2012-13 academic year, universities or colleges will be able to charge tuition fees up to a maximum of £9,000. This is a big change when compared with the previous year’s fees – which were just £3,375.
If you have already started your course by 2011-12, you will not have to pay the higher fees in your next year; the new schedule only applies to those starting in 2012-13.
The changes to tuition fees have caused a lot of anger – as evidenced by, amongst other things, the large protests seen in London and across the country. But, while the new fees will almost certainly put some people off going to university, it is important to remember that help is available for those on lower incomes – and that university will remain free at the point of entry.
Can I get a bursary?
In theory, universities can now charge as much as £9,000 a year in tuition fees. But there are certain conditions attached to this. Universities that increase their fees above £6,000 will have to show that they are taking extra steps to aid entrance by those from lower income backgrounds.
One of the key conditions will be that these universities will be required to offer bursaries under what is known as the National Scholarship Programme (NSP). Students with a household income of less than £25,000 will be entitled to some form of support under this Programme. This could come in the form of a bursary, reduced fees, or a range of other types of support.
The details of the NSP are yet to be fleshed out, and there has been some criticism that universities will be able to set their own criteria for support. If you think you might be entitled to a bursary, you should contact your university directly.
What about Maintenance Loans and Grants?
Maintenance Loans and Maintenance Grants are still available. All students can apply for a Maintenance Loan, although the amount you receive will depend on things like your household income and whether or not you are living at home.
A Maintenance Grant will be available if you are a full-time student, your household income is less than around £50,000 (the exact threshold for 2012-13 is yet to be announced). The Grant is ratcheted down depending on your household income, and the maximum grant is available only to those with household incomes of less than £25,000. Again, the exact amount you will receive is yet to be announced.
You do not have to pay back Maintenance Grants – but you do have to pay back Maintenance Loans.
What has happened to repayments?
The government has also made changes to the way in which loans are repaid. According to them, the new system will be fairer and easier for those on low incomes.
Under the new system, you will begin to pay back your Maintenance Loan and Tuition Fee loan once your annual income exceeds £21,000. This only applies to those who start their course after September 2012; those who begin a course before this will still begin to repay once their earnings reach £15,000.
You will repay your loans at a rate of 9 per cent of your earnings. After 30 years, any outstanding debts will be written off. Again, the government claims this is an improvement on the current write-off period of 25 years.
Student finance is a complicated area – and it is one that could have a major long-term impact on your personal situation. If you are confused, you should take advice from your local Connexions office, a careers advisor, or your university.
Hello, lam Lindah from Kenya of 26 years old. With a bachelor's degree in education arts. Wish to continuewith my masters degree but lam not financially stable after one of my parents death lhave forced to step in and help my siblings in catering for their needs. Looking for one who has touched to help me make my dreams come true. Hoping for a scholarship for the masters program.
Faith - 17-Sep-19 @ 10:07 AM
Hi, My name is Baltasar Ngumu I'm from Equatorial Guinea, I'm desperately lookingfor a way to get out of this country and get real education and pursue my vision. I"m from a very large family of about 36 individuals, just siblings and half siblings. I have 8 sisters and one brother from same father and same mother. I was a brilliant math & physics student in high school, and I alwaysdreamt about becoming an engineer. But we haveprobably what I call the worse university in the world. LuckilyI won a scholarship with an oil company to go study in the USA, at Texas A&M University, but that company tricked me and forced me to study human resources. It was a big demotivation, therefore things didnt workout. Despite the demotivatioin i managed to get some good grades, but in the end, they managed to find an excuse the dismiss me from that scholarship. I returned home in 2011, and I had had no chance to raise money to pay for my education back in the US. I managed to get a Job from the company that sponsored me to TAMU, and I'm currently making about $1500 a month. But the unexpected happened; my father passed away and I have to take care of the entire family.
I'm working as an Admin Coordinator, and I do it well, but I'm not motivated because I remind myself of the fact that I have potential to do way more that that. I have hope that one day I would make it out of here and find a place with people that motivate, inspire and support me, and that have similar objectives as I do.
I'm 30 years old, I want to dedicate the next 15 years of my life to education. I am committed to do what itwould take to get to that destination. Please if you know someone or an organization that can help me. I don't want to die with all this potential inside me and do nothing with it.
Balty - 19-Apr-17 @ 4:33 PM
K - Your Question:
I am currently studying qualifying undergraduate law degree through the Open University and work full time. I am straggling to maintain both and will need extra private tutoring to help me with my course work. I am on low income and unable to fund for the private tutoring and need advice if I could get any help to fund this. Any advice is much appreciated. Kind regards K
I am sorry to hear you are struggling. There is no help for private tutoring that I know of. If you are finding the course work difficult, I suggest you either have a word directly with the OU helpcentre, as this is not uncommon when students are trying to juggle both a job and study. Likewise, your employer may be able to help with flexible working, please see link here. I hope this helps.
FundingEducation - 20-Jul-16 @ 12:07 PM
I am currently studying qualifying undergraduate law degree through the Open University and work full time.
I am straggling to maintain both and will need extra private tutoring to help me with my course work.
I am on low income and unable to fund for the private tutoring and need advice if I could get any help to fund this.
Any advice is much appreciated.
K - 19-Jul-16 @ 3:05 PM
Hey, am a Zambian girl from a poor background seeking for assistant ance....am currently a first year student in one of the Chinese university I washelped by my aunt to pay for part of the fees but unfortunately she stopped working and my parent can't afford to pay for me I really need your help before I drop out....thank you for been their to help such people like me I spend sleepiness night thinking about my education
Given - 17-Dec-15 @ 4:04 PM
I am a poor femaleEngineering student from andhra pradesh .i completed my(10+2) senior high school education in 2015.i scored a mean grade of A-,iget admission to PACE INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY &SCENCES IN ONGOLE IN ANDHRA PRADESHINDIA.through the regular program (government sponsored) but through COUNSELLING ON MERIT which my parents can't afford.i would greatly appreciate if I got someone to pay for me fees so that I don't lose the opportunity to rich students.please someone out there help me so that I don't end up being affected by early marriages and female circumcision practiced in my community.if given help I LL work hard to repay in future.thanks in advance.
no - 28-Nov-15 @ 5:08 AM
hello, I want to first start by thanking the owners of this site for creating such opportunities for us. If I had know earlier, I would not have missed the foreign admission that was given to me from Holborn College in UK way back in 2005. please I really need funding because I have been given another opportunity again to study in the UK. LSBF has written to me to study HNC in Business Management and in year 2 I will be studyingGGSB BIB and year 3 GSSB BIB specialising in Finance and Accounting but I do not have the money for funding. way back in 2005 when I got the admission, my father was buoyant to sponsor me but he said he cannot waste his money on a girl, because in Africa it is believed that boys are the head. and my mum is a teacher which cannot afford such huge payment for education because she is the one catering me and my four siblings which are all ladies. please help me as I do not want to miss this admission again and do not want to be pressured to marriage. this is the opportunity I have not to make a change in my life, to be a better person. I am presently 28 years but marriage is not my goal but my carrier. Help me pls,Victoria.
vickky - 28-Jun-14 @ 7:53 PM
I am a poor female student from Kenya.i completed my high school education in 2013.i scored a mean grade of A-,unfortunately I didn't manage to get admission to pursue pure medicine and surgery through the regular program (government sponsored) but through parallel program which my parents can't afford.i would greatly appreciate if I got someone to pay for me fees so that I don't lose the opportunity to rich students.please someone out there help me so that I don't end up being affected by early marriages and female circumcision practiced in my community.if given help I LL work hard to repay in future.thanks in advance.
Chepkirui - 28-Jun-14 @ 5:35 PM
hi i'm, a filipino and now live in ireland. i want to continue my higher education but my parents cant afford for the tuition fees, i received an admission from one of the university herein ireland but the problem is i dont have hano money for the fees, pls. hep me im very interested to study. thank you very mush. God bless
chris - 28-Aug-12 @ 8:28 PM
I am a poor indigenous boy studying LLB in the College in Bangladesh. Regret to express here that my parents are very poor and unable to support my further education.
I therefore, would like to request you to kindly provide me educational support. I need USD $200 a month.
I would be highly appreciated if you could kindly support me for my further education.
Thanks for your your kind consideration.