If you require additional support this is available from universities and colleges. Providers are keen to help young people with disabilities, learning difficulties, mental health conditions, long- term health conditions, young people who have been through the care system, and young people who have caring responsibilities themselves.
Circumstances and conditions can be disclosed on your UCAS form and the university or college should get in touch to arrange an appropriate support plan. If you have concerns, you can contact the universities and colleges before applying to discuss what support they will be able to provide. Universities and colleges work hard to ensure that all students are supported in a variety of ways throughout their studies.
Disabled Students’ Allowance
As a Higher Education student living in England, you can apply for a Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA) if you have a disability, including a long-term health condition, mental health condition, or specific learning difficulty, e.g. dyslexia. The support you will receive depends on your individual need and not on household income. This allowance does not have to be repaid and is paid to the student on top of the standard student loan. The allowance can help with the cost of specialist equipment, for example: a computer, if you need one because of your disability; non-medical helpers; extra travel because of your disability; and other disability-related costs of studying.
Adult Dependants’ Grant
If you are a full-time student in Higher Education and an adult depends on you financially, you can apply for an Adult Dependants’ Grant. This does not have to be paid back and is paid to the student on top of the standard student loan.
Up-to-date information on the amount available can be found at www.gov.uk/adult-dependants-grant
Further information can be found at: www.gov.uk/student-finance
Many universities/colleges also offer means-tested bursaries and scholarships which you may be eligible for.
Information about these will be available on each institution’s website.
Tuition fee loan
This covers the cost of the course fees. You can get the full fees covered. Fees are currently up to £9,250 per year, although some universities and colleges charge less. The fees are paid directly from the government to the university or college. For apprenticeships only, the tuition fees are paid by the employer.
This covers living costs (rent, food, bills, etc.). The amount you receive depends on where you will be studying and on your household income. The maintenance loan is paid from the government to you in three annual instalments, at the start of each term. You need to re-apply for it each academic year.
Other financial support
Scholarships and bursaries are often provided by the university or college. You may have to apply for them and may need to meet certain criteria to be eligible. Each university or college usually has their own deadline for applications. These tend to be very competitive.
Other funds are available and depend on specific criteria: Disabled Students’ Allowance; Childcare Grants; Parents’ Learning Allowance; Adult Dependants’ Grant; NHS bursaries; social work bursaries; and travel grants.
Many students take on a part-time job while studying. This could be working for the university/ college or working for a local business – there are lots of options!
Apprentices are employed and receive a salary. They spend 80% of their time in the workplace and 20% of their time studying. Typically, at a college, university, or alternative training provider.
You will need to apply online through Student Finance England for both. Apply for these as early as possible. You do not need to have made a firm decision on what course you are taking as you can change this information at a later date.
You will only begin repaying the loan(s) when you earn over £25,575 per year.
On all earnings above £26,575 which is £553 per week or £2,214 per month (before tax and other deductions), you will pay back 9%. For example, on a salary of £28,800 per year, you would repay £28 per month.
Student loans are unlike other loans. They do not appear in your credit history. The amount you repay is entirely dependent on income, not on the size of the loan. The loans are written off after 30 years whether they have been paid off or not. Scholarships, bursaries and grants do not need to be paid back!