Government support for degree courses

The cost of higher education

While the costs for starting a degree might seem a little intimidating, it’s important to know that you don’t have to pay back your government student loan straight away.

In fact, the Government has ruled that, as of April 2018, you don’t have to start repaying your student loan until you’re earning at least £25,000 a year – and the payments come out of your salary in small instalments. The earliest you will start making repayments is the April after you graduate, and you’ll only make repayments for a maximum of 30 years, after which the debt is written off. If you stop earning over £25,000 for any reason, you don’t have to pay a penny until you earn that amount again.

The student loan doesn’t work in the same way as debt from loans, or credit cards. It doesn’t go onto your credit file, meaning that it doesn’t affect your credit score, or affect you applying for a mortgage or finance. 

You can find out more about how student loans work and how they are repaid on the Money Saving Expert website.

Main sources of funding

The main student grants and loans offered by the Government to UK and EU students include a:

• Tuition fee loan
• Maintenance loan

You might also be able to get extra help, for example, if you’re on a low income, have a disability or have children or dependents.

The process for applying for a government student loan depends on where you are a resident. If you’re a full or part-time student from England, you can apply online to Student Finance England for these grants and loans. There’s a different process if you’re a student from Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland or an EU country. For the correct information, please click on the relevant country below. 


If you’re an international student, you’ll need our international fees and finance pages.

  • England

    Tuition Fee Loan
    This loan will cover the full amount of your fees. The amount you receive doesn’t depend on your household income and you’ll only start repaying this loan once you’ve graduated and are earning over £25,000 a year.

    To ensure that funding is in place for the beginning of the academic year you should make an application as soon as possible. If you haven't received confirmation of a Tuition Fee Loan before the end of September then please email finance.sl@ucreative.ac.uk to let us know that your application is in progress. 

    More about Tuition Fee loans

    Maintenance Loan
    You can apply for a loan to help you pay your living costs. How much you can get will depend on your household income as well as where you choose to live and study. You’ll have to repay this loan, but not until you’ve graduated and are earning over £25,000 a year.

    More about the Maintenance Loan

  • EU

    The UK government has confirmed that EU students who apply to university for 2018 and 2019 academic years will still have access to student loans. You should apply for the loans through Student Finance England.

    More about EU funding

  • Northern Ireland

    If you are a resident of Northern Ireland you should apply for a Student Loan from Student Finance ni.

    Go to Student Finance ni

  • Scotland

    Tuition Fee Loan
    If you are a Scottish resident you should apply for your Tuition Fee Loan from the Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS).

    Additional Funding
    For Scottish residents, starting courses in September 2017, there are bursaries available to you when you apply to study with us. The Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS) offer two different bursaries that you can apply for, depending on which criteria you meet. Both bursaries are means tested and paid in addition to your student loan.

    - The Young Students’ Bursary (YSB)
    - The Independent Students’ Bursary (ISB) 

    You can apply for these regardless of whether you intend to study in Scotland, or elsewhere in the UK. 

    To find out more information and make sure you’re getting the most out of what is available to you, visit the SAAS website where you’ll find a breakdown on everything that’s available and information on how to apply.

    Find out more about additional funding

  • Wales

    Tuition Fee Loan
    If you are a Welsh resident you should apply for your Tuition Fee Loan from the Student Finance Wales.

    Additional Funding
    For Welsh residents, there are grants available to you when you apply to study with us. Student Finance Wales offer a non-repayable Fee Grant in addition to the standard Tuition Fee Loan.

    Importantly, Welsh residents do not need to study in Wales to be eligible for the Fee Grant – you can apply if you are studying anywhere in the UK. You can find out more about this on the Welsh Government Website.

    To find out more information and make sure you’re getting the most out of what is available to you, visit the Student Finance Wales website where you’ll find a breakdown on everything that’s available and information on how to apply.

  • Outside the EU

    If you’re an international student, you will need to visit our international fees and finance page.

Applying for loans and grants

If you’re a new student from England and starting a full-time course, you should be able to apply for your student finance from early in the year before your course starts. Applying online is the easiest way and the process is pretty straight-forward.

You can find out how much financial support you’re likely to receive by getting a personalised quote using the student finance calculator.

Try to apply as early as possible. You don't have to wait until you have a confirmed place on a course. Use your first choice of course. If it changes, you can change it at a later date using your online student finance account.

Always check the final deadline for applying to make sure that the finances you need are in place when you start your course.

Repaying loans

The tuition fee loan and maintenance loan for living costs are put together into a single loan. You won’t have to make any loan payments until you’re in employment and earning over £25,000 a year.

  • If your income is less than £25,000, you don’t have to pay anything.
  • If your income is more than £25,000, each year you will pay back 9% of your earnings over £25,000 until the loan is paid off. As the size of your repayment is based on your salary (not on the size of your loan), your monthly repayments will be the same, however large your loan.
  • If you stop earning over £25,000 a year, you stop paying your loan repayments.
  • Any loan amount unpaid after 30 years is written off, and you won’t have to pay it back.

Interest is charged from the day you receive your first loan payment until you’ve repaid the loan in full or it is written off, whichever is first. Any loan remaining after 30 years will be written off.

Remember – you won’t have to make any payments until you’re in employment and earning over £25,000 a year, regardless of when you finish or leave your course.

Additional sources of funding

Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA)

You may be able to get this grant if you have a long-term illness, mental health condition or specific learning difficulty, such as dyslexia.

You can apply for the DSA when you apply for student finance. If you qualify, it’s paid on top of the standard student finance you get. The amount you get isn’t affected by your household income and you don’t have to pay the money back.

Childcare Grant

If you’re a full-time student with children, you can apply for a Childcare Grant.

The money you may get will depend on your household income, the cost of your childcare and the number of children you have. Any money you get is paid on top of your student finance and you don’t have to pay it back.

Parents’ Learning Allowance

If you have children, this funding could help towards your course costs, such as books, materials and travel. How much you get depends on your household income and you don’t have to pay the money back.

Adult Dependants’ Grant

This grant could provide extra help if you’re a full-time student with an adult who depends on you financially.

The amount you get depends on your income and the income of your dependants. You can apply for this grant on top of any other student finance and you don’t have to pay it back.

Advice & guidance

If you’re in any way confused about what you can apply for, please get in touch with one of our friendly specialist advisers. They can also direct you to a variety of specialist resources to help you deal with practical issues and personal problems.