Shadowing a Doctor

April 22, 2014

What You Should Know About Taking And Repaying Student Loans In The UK

A Gap Medics student passing instruments to the dentist whilst on her dentistry work experience placement in Tanzania. Every student in the UK who goes to university to study for his or her first degree is entitled to apply for student funding. This funding goes directly to the university and goes towards paying for your tuition. Normally this comes in three instalments of either a maintenance loan or a combination of maintenance loan and grant, depending on your total household income.

Disabled students, those who apply for more extensive courses, such as medical students and veterinary students and those with children may also qualify for extra funding.

How to apply for student finance

Where your family home is in the UK will determine which student finance department you need to apply:

If your home is in England, you will have to apply to Student Finance England

For Wales, you have to apply to Student Finance Wales

Scottish students have to apply to the Students Awards Agency for Scotland

Students whose family is resident in Northern Ireland will apply to Student Finance Northern Ireland

All applications for student financial assistance are completed online and you will need to provide proof of your identity for which you will need to submit either your UK passport number or your original birth certificate or adoption certificate.

To avail of the full loan and the maintenance grant that you are entitled to, the entire household will also have to provide details about their individual and combined earnings. You will also have to submit details about income from savings and investments. Self-employed parents or partners will have to submit tax returns. If you are claiming financial assistance as a single parent, you will have to show proof of single parent status.

The tuition loan that you receive will be paid direct to your university and will cover the entire cost of your tuition. The amount you get paid for maintenance loans and grants is dependent on your household income and where you intend to study and live. There are also additional grants available from the university itself and from student finance, for students who are going through financial hardship or who have special needs because of a disability or other family circumstances.

Paying back your student loans

The biggest draw to UK student loans is that you do not need to worry about paying it back during your time at university. A new ruling passed in 2012 allows students who have been granted tuition fee and maintenance loans to start paying back their loans only after they have graduated and when they are working at a job that pays an annual salary of £21,000 or more.

Even then, the repayment schedule is calculated on your income, not on the size of your loan. The repayments are deducted directly from your income, before you get it so there is no risk of falling into arrears. Moreover, the debt you have from being a student does not affect your credit rating.

After 30 years or if you die before then, any debt that is still remaining is cancelled.