all you need to know about maintenance loans and support grants
STUDENTS can get additional loans and scholarships in addition to those paying tuition fees to help cover the cost of living while in college.
You will most likely have two loans while you are in school, one to pay for your institution and one for daily fees.
You won’t really see your tuition loan, which pays course fees up to Â£ 9,250 each year, as it’s usually paid directly at your university and doesn’t even go into your bank account.
You still have to pay it back, just like any other loan you might take out in your life.
In addition to this, most students will receive a maintenance loan.
There are also other ways to get extra money, through supportive grants as well as scholarships.
It will be less money and it is usually appointed on merit or on the basis of resources.
Either one can help pay for things like rent, food, books, travel, and other expenses that aren’t your tuition.
The pandemic has changed the way universities teach, so if your course primarily involves online learning and you don’t leave home next term, you will still be able to get the full loans you are entitled to.
They will be paid normally as long as your university or college confirms your enrollment and attendance.
What is a maintenance loan?
The maintenance loan will likely be your main source of money while you’re in college, as there isn’t much time to find a job and earn enough to cover things like rent otherwise.
The maintenance loan is means tested, so you need to provide details about your family’s income as well as where you will be living during your studies.
This is how everyone can be offered a fair amount of money.
If you are in a low-income household, you will likely get a little more in your maintenance loan, as those whose parents earn more are expected to receive some support from them.
You can apply for a maintenance loan in line or by mail and you have up to nine months after the start of the academic year to apply for your course.
If you are new to college this year, you can apply now and returning students will have already received contact from Student Finance England regarding a new maintenance loan application.
Student Finance England pays any maintenance loan you can get directly into your bank account in three installments.
So you will usually see a large lump sum paid at the start of each quarter which for that year will be September 2021, January 2022 and April 2022.
You can also reapply each year to cover any change in circumstances that may have occurred.
How much can I get on a maintenance loan?
The amount you can get in the maintenance loan depends on when you started your course, where you live, and your household income.
You can update changes to your account online at any time.
UCAS says if you live at home the maximum maintenance loan you can get for the coming year can be up to Â£ 7,987.
If you are studying in London and you are not living with your parents you can get up to Â£ 12,382 from September and if you are studying outside London and you are not living with your parents it will be until at Â£ 9,488.
If you’re about to study abroad when the new term comes, you could get up to Â£ 10,866.
If you are about to start last year in September, you will receive a little less than these amounts if you live away from home.
Up to Â£ 910 less if you’re away from home in London, up to Â£ 515 less anywhere else in the UK, and up to Â£ 1,140 less if you live abroad.
What is a support grant and how much can you get?
You can no longer get Maintenance Grants or Special Support Grants when you start college.
Previously, you could get the extra income if you were on housing assistance or income assistance, if you were a single parent or if you have a disability, you will be eligible for the special support grant.
If you started your course between September 1, 2012 and July 31, 2016, the full scholarship available is:
- Â£ 3,081 for the 2020/21 academic year
- Â£ 3,919 for the 2021/22 academic year
However, for new students, you can still get financial support in the form of scholarships awarded based on your academic performance or ability.
This will often cover all of your tuition for a year or more.
You might also be eligible for a scholarship, as some universities offer them as a prepaid debit card that students from low-income households can use to pay for the extra costs of living.
Do I have to reimburse them?
You may have to repay your maintenance loans.
Like any loan you borrow, you will need to repay it, but not until you have finished or left your classes and your income is above the repayment threshold.
The current reimbursement threshold for UK graduates from England and Wales is Â£ 26,575 per year or Â£ 2,214 per month or Â£ 511 per week before tax.
So if you earn more you will have to start paying off the loan.
It’s not interest-free either, so you’ll have to pay at least 2.6% when you earn above the threshold but below Â£ 47,835.
If you earn more than the interest is 5.6%.
Martin Lewis’s Money Saving Expert has a handy calculator that you can use to calculate reimbursements over time as well as your tuition reimbursements.
However, you don’t have to repay the Support Grant, but the funds you get will reduce the total Maintenance Loan amount you can get at that time.
You also won’t have to repay a scholarship.
It’s also worth noting that if you incorrectly provided details about where you live, you will need to repay any funding you overpaid.
You are expected to update Student Finance with all of your information whenever circumstances change.
Sorting out your finances for college can be intimidating, so we’ve got everything you need to know about student loans, including when you can expect your payments.
You can also get extra free money from some banks when you are a student, this is usually part of their membership bonus.
Martin Lewis explains how to check if you also owe Â£ 100 overpayments on student loans.