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University Financial Q&A

Student Finance

  • How much will I repay?

    You will repay 9% of anything you earn over the income threshold. For example: if your monthly income is £2,000, which is over the monthly threshold of £1,615.  Your income is £385 over the threshold (£2,000 minus £1,615). £34.65 will automatically be deducted from you salary (9% of £385) by your employer and paid to your student loan account.

    Students from Northern Ireland are on SLC Repayment Plan 1. You can find further information here.

  • When is the best time to apply for student finance?

    As soon as applications open. This is usually around the April before starting university in September.

  • Does a getting a student loan mean you will be in debt for the rest of your life?

    Try not to think of the student loan as a debt. It is probably better to think of it as an ‘education tax’.  If you do not earn over the annual income threshold there is no requirement to make any repayments to your student loan. The amount you pay back will be determined by the amount you earn after graduation, not necessarily the amount you owe.  If, after 25 years, you still owe money to your student loan the balance will be written off.  There is interest added to your loan, but this is currently only 1.1%. Of course, if you want to pay your loan off quicker, or in full, you are free to do so! 

  • Does more student loan debt mean higher monthly repayments?

    No, the monthly repayments are linked to the size of your monthly income not to the size of your student loan.

  • Can you get a student loan as a part-time student?

    Part-time students may get a tuition fee loan and, depending upon the household income, may also qualify for a course grant to help with course costs.

  • What is the difference between a loan, grant and a bursary?

    Loans have to be repaid after graduation. Grants and bursaries do not have to be repaid.

  • What is a maintenance loan or grant?

    This is funding to help pay for the everyday costs of being a student, such as food and rent, and is paid directly to you. A grant does not have to be repaid, but a loan does. 

  • What is the eligibility for a maintenance loan or grant?

    Undertaking an undergraduate degree at a UK university or college, are from the UK/EU and normally live in the UK.

    Grants are usually only available for first degrees and the household income is below £41,540 per year.


  • What does ‘means tested’ mean?

    Students will receive a basic rate of student finance without providing any household income information. However, if you provide this information you receive additional ‘means tested’ student finance, depending upon the household income level.

  • What does household income mean?

    For students under 25, this is usually the income of either their parents, parent and their partner, or the person who has parental responsibility.

  • What is a Special Support Grant?

    A Special Support Grant may be available if your household income is below £41,540 and you are eligible for certain social security benefits.


Bank Accounts 

  • What is a Student Bank Account?

    These are bank accounts are specifically for students which usually offer certain benefits, such as an interest-free overdraft facility. 

  • What is an 'Interest-Free Overdraft'?

    Essentially, an overdraft is when a bank allows you to spend more money that you have in your account, up to an agreed amount. Providing that you do not exceed the overdraft then you will not be charged for using your overdraft. 

    If your bank allows, you can increase the maximum overdraft limit. Some banks will usually consider this at the end of each academic year. Some will expect you to apply for an increase, some will offer it automatically. Much will depend upon how you have managed your overdraft limit, i.e. stayed within the current overdraft limit. 

  • I'm Thinking About Getting a Credit Card, What does the Interest and APR Mean?

    A credit card is way to buy things now and pay later. You can run up a bill to an agreed limit and either pay it off full at the next monthly statement, or repay over time as long as you make at least the minimum payment each month. If you don't pay back the full amount there's usually hefty interest on the money you've borrowed. The rate of interest is called APR (annual percentage rate). Think carefully before getting a credit card. 

  • What is a Credit Score?

    A credit score is used by lenders to help determine whether you qualify for a particular credit card, loan, mortgage or financial service using information held on your credit report. This information is used to determine how well you are likely to manage repayments. The better your score the more likely you are to get credit at a lower interest rate.  You can keep a check on your credit score for free through Credit Karma

  • Does having a student loan affect my credit rating?

    No. However, things like having an overdraft and a mobile phone contract can. Missed payments or exceeding the agreed overdraft limit negatively impacts upon your score. Making payments on time and staying within overdraft limits have a positive impact. 

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