Myth Busting – The Cost of Studying a Degree
There is a frequently misplaced thought that studying a degree is an elaborate scheme to convince students to incur tonnes of debts. It’s time we lay that rumor to rest. Student loans are entirely optional, so potential students can choose to pay their fees themselves. It is there to provide the opportunity to continue into higher education for more people from various backgrounds who might not be able to pay a direct cost. You won’t need to pay the fees upfront provided you are from the UK and studying for your first degree or higher education qualification.
Students who decide to study part time could also be eligible to receive a tuition fee loan. A great option to be considered by those who would like to boost career prospects and earn while they learn. The support doesn’t stop there. You can also be given a maintenance loan, targeted at living costs, such as food, accommodation rent and books. This amount will be based upon your household income, your course and where you live and study. You can get up to £6904 a year if you live with your parents and £8200 a year if you live away from home and study in London.
In addition to the loans mentioned, there are also extra sources of finance that you may be entitled to. These include Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSAs), Dependants’ Grants and Bursaries and Scholarships.
DSAs are available to help you if you are doing a higher education course and are obliged to incur extra costs in relation to your studies, as a result of your disabilities. Unlike student loans, the amount of DSA you are entitled to is based solely on your needs, not by your household income and there is no requirement to pay this back.
Dependants’ grants are aimed at supporting students with children or an adult who depends on you financially through the help of Student Finance England. You could be eligible for up to £2.757 Adult Dependants’ Grant and up to £1,573 Parents Learning Allowance.
Bursaries and scholarships refer to financial support, in addition to student loans, that could be available to students, and do not need to be paid back. However, depending on the institution you decide to study with, the type of bursaries available can vary.
How will I pay this all back?!
Don’t you worry! Your loan repayments will be based upon your income, not what you borrowed. In the words of Martin Lewis OBE, money saving expert, “Ignore newspaper headlines about students leaving university with £50,000 of debt. That’s a mostly meaningless figure.” Until you earn above £21,000 a year, you won’t have to spend a penny. Once you have surpassed that figure, and only then, will you be required to pay back a fixed rate of only 9%. If for any reason your income falls below this line then you will no longer have to make payments towards your loan in that time. All student loans since 1998 have been repaid through the payroll just like income tax, this means that once you’re working your employer will deduct the repayments from your salary before you get it. The amount you receive in your bank account each month already has it removed. After 30 years, any outstanding balance will be written off meaning you won’t have to pay the remainder of the fees.
Student loans aren’t here to force you into debt; they are a way to provide equal opportunities for students regardless of their personal circumstances. According to the Sutton Trust, despite a large and increasing proportion of the UK workforce holding a higher education qualification, university graduates still enjoy a large earnings advantage over non-graduates. Don’t let the rumors stop you from gaining an education.