The prospect of paying significant tuition fees for further education, as well as needing further money to live day-to-day can be off-putting to many prospective students about to leave school or sixth-form college; as a result many are choosing to jump straight into the workplace rather than opt for further qualifications.
However, there are also a number of government grants and college bursaries available to those who fulfill certain criteria. So, before applying for a higher education course it is worth doing a little research to see what help is available as there could be an alternative to the prospect of spending many years repaying student debt. But, don’t despair. Even if after researching all the help available it transpires that you will still have to take out a student loan it is worth remembering that you will not be required to repay a penny until you have left university or college and are earning at least ?15,000 per annum.
Student loans from the government changed after the 2005/06 academic year meaning that anyone now applying for a full-time higher education place could qualify for annual loans of up to ?3,145 to cover the cost of tuition fees and up to ?6,475 to cover other living costs, including accommodation. The interest rate payable on student loans is linked to inflation, meaning that in real terms you will pay back roughly only what you borrowed, and would certainly be a cheaper option that taking out a personal loan.
In addition, grants are also available to those who qualify, but unlike student loans they do not need to be repaid. Starting in academic year 2008/09 up to ?2,835 per annum is available to students depending upon the amount of their annual household income. Any student from a household with an income of less than ?25,000 per annum will qualify for the full maintenance grant of ?2,835. A student from a home where the annual income is ?50,000 would qualify for ?524 and once the income exceeds ?60,005 no grant is claimable.
Bursaries are also available directly from universities and colleges, and the amounts vary according to the institution. If you are thinking of applying to a particular university, first research the financial help available from that educational establishment. In some cases it can be as much as ?1,000 for those on a full maintenance grant.
Even mature students don’t necessarily need to resort to a student loan or personal loan drawn from a bank or other lender to pay their way through college, as they could also qualify for help. Dependent upon their personal circumstances and providing they are less than 60 years old when starting their higher education course mature students are usually treated as any other undergraduate with regards to the financial help they can obtain.
Financial help is also available to those who choose to undertake part-time undergraduate study, but anyone thinking of choosing that route of higher education should do their research according to their own personal circumstances, as financial aid varies widely.
Disclaimer: This article has been written for information and interest purposes only. The information contained within this article is the opinion of the author only, and should not be construed as advice or used to make financial decisions. Expert financial advice should always be sought and any links contained within this article are included for information purposes only.