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Student loans and grants: What are you entitled to?

Joanna Faith
Written By:
Joanna Faith

Students in England and Wales are being urged to apply for their new loans now or risk being left short at the start of the next academic year.

Last year, more than a third of students applied late for their funding and many waited until they had started university to apply for their finance, according to the Student Loans Company (SLC).

The deadline for new students to submit their loan applications is 30 May, while students continuing their studies should re-apply by 27 June.

It takes at least six weeks to process an application, the SLC said.

Derek Ross, director of operations at Student Finance England, said: “It is important for students to know what they are entitled to and to have funding in place for starting university. Some costs may need to be arranged up front, like halls of residence, as well as travel costs and buying course books.”

Ross said the SLC will be processing over one million student finance applications this year.

What are you entitled to?

Students in England:

• Universities and colleges are able to charge different fees for different courses, up to a maximum amount of £9,000 per year, which is set by the government.

Tuition fee loans are available to cover the costs of university fees. These are paid directly to the university or college but you pay them back.

Maintenance loans are available to most students. These are paid directly to you to help with living costs such as food, accommodation and travel while you are studying. Students starting courses in 2014 and living away from home could get a maintenance loan of up to £5,555 or up to £7,751 if living in London.

Maintenance grants, which do not have to be repaid, may also be available. These are based on your household income. Your household income is made up of your income plus that of the people who live with you, for example: your parents, your parent and their partner or your partner. A full-time student with a total household income of £25,000 or less could be entitled to a grant of up to £3,387.

Students in Wales:

• New students starting university in 2014/15 can apply for tuition fee support.

• Students who study at a publicly-funded university or college can be charged a maximum of £9,000.

• A tuition fee loan can be taken out to cover the first £3,685 of tuition fees. If your university or college charges more than this, you can apply for a fee grant of up to £5,315 to cover the difference.

Maintenance loans are available to most students to help with living costs such as food, accommodation and travel.

• You can apply for a maintenance loan, which is not based on household income. The maximum maintenance loan available is: £3,020 if you are living at home, £3,902 if you are living away from home and studying at a university or college outside London, or £5,466 in London.

• You can also apply for an income-assessed maintenance loan which is affected by your income and that of your parents or partner. The maximum maintenance loan available for someone living away from home studying at a university or college in Wales is £5,202 or in London, £7,288.

Students from England should apply at: www.gov.uk/studentfinance

Students from Wales should apply at: www.studentfinancewales.co.uk