Understanding Student Finances

The cost of studying and living at university is a worry for many parents, care-givers and students, but it’s much easier to deal with when you understand what support is available and how you can get help. Financial support options include:

Fees and Loans

A Tuition Fee Loan is available from the government via Student Finance England to all UK and EU undergraduate students. Students have the opportunity to borrow up to the full cost of their tuition fees, without making any payments upfront.

While your son/daughter is at university, a Maintenance Loan is available to cover their living expenses. All eligible students are entitled to a loan, however the specific amount is dependent on where they study and their annual household income.

It is advised that students apply for Student Finance as early as possible. Tuition Fee Loans and Maintenance Loans are likely to increase each year of study in line with inflation as specified by parliament.

Studen Loan Repayment

Students will not repay tuition fee or maintenance loans until the April after they have left university if they are in work and earning over £25,000 per year. Repayments will be 9% of income above this threshold, so the amount repaid each month will be dependent on their earnings. If for any reason their income falls below £25,000, repayments will be suspended.

Repayments are based on earning as opposed to what they borrowed and are automatically deducted from their pay through the tax system. If a student loan has not been repaid in full after 30 years, any outstanding payments will be written off. Visit Student Finance England for further information on fees, loans and the repayment process.

Scholarships, Grants and Bursaries

Most universities offer a range of additional financial support for students in the form of scholarships, bursaries and other awards. At Birmingham, we ensure that fears about finance do not deter prospective students from considering university and that excellence is rewarded. For instance, students are entitled to additional financial support from the University in the form of a Chamberlain Award if their annual household income is below £36,000.

There is also a range of subject specific scholarships and bursaries to support students who excel in sports, music or are young carers.

Part-time Work

Many students earn extra money to support themselves during their studies, either in free time between course commitments or during evenings and weekends. At the University of Birmingham, Worklink offers on-campus work for students throughout the year. Undergraduate students are able to work up to 15 hours per week. Hours are flexible and students can accept or decline work to fit around their studies.

Additional Support 

The Universities Funding, Graduation & Awards Office is always on hand to offer guidance and ideas, including:

  • Tuition fees and accommodation form the biggest part of a student’s university budget. Our guide to living costs can give parents and prospective students an idea of what to expect.
  • Advice for students who may be new to the world of credit cards, taxes and debt.
  • Handy hints and tips to prepare for all potential costs and challenges in daily life at university.
  • Any student genuinely struggling with essential living costs can be considered for the University of Birmingham’s Student Support Fund.