Cost of going to university

Your main costs will be tuition fees, accommodation and living expenses.

Costs will vary depending on where you study, so it’s worth doing some research on how much you’ll need to cover them – and on the help you’ll get through the government’s student finance package. Check with your university or college for more advice on living costs.

Tuition fees

Full-time courses

If you’re a new student (or a continuing student who started your course in or after September 2006) the maximum tuition fees you’ll be charged are £3,290 for the 2010/11 academic year.

Exactly what you’re charged depends on the university or college you attend, your course, and where in the UK you study. Check your university or college prospectus to find out the fees for your course.

You can get a Tuition Fee Loan to cover the full cost of your tuition fees. This is paid directly to your university or college. The amount you get does not depend on household income.

Part-time courses

There are no regulations stating how much universities or colleges can charge in tuition fees for most part-time courses.

Check with your university or college how much they charge. It’s also worth finding out how much the fees are likely to rise over the length of your course.

Accommodation and other living costs

Your costs will be higher if you live away from home, and higher again if you live away from home and study in London. Accommodation will be your biggest expense, but don’t forget about things like books, food, bills, and going out.

It’s well worth taking the time to add up your expenses. Budgeting can help you plan your spending, so you won’t run out of cash half-way through term.

If you’re a new student starting a full-time course in 2010/11, you can use the Student Finance Calculator to work out a budget.

More on help with the costs of higher education

Once you’ve worked out your expenses, check what financial help is available.

Remember that if you take out the student loans available to full-time students, you don’t have to start paying them back until you’ve left your course and are earning over £15,000.

Student loans accrue interest from the date they are paid out, up until they are repaid in full. Generally, the interest rate is set in September each year.

Finance for new students starting in 2010/11 

If you’re starting a full-time higher education course, the main types of financial help you may be able to get are:

  • a Maintenance Grant or Special Support Grant – worth up to £2,906
  • a Tuition Fee Loan to cover your fees in full (up to £3,290 for 2010/11)
  • a Maintenance Loan – worth up to £4,950 if you live away from home, or more if you study in London (although the maximum you can get is reduced if you’re getting help through the Maintenance Grant)
  • a bursary from your university or college


How do you apply for student finance?

Apply as soon as possible to make sure your first payment is ready at the start of term – don’t wait until you’ve been offered a place on a course.

The fastest and easiest way is to apply online: Student Finance England provides the online application service. New, full-time students can apply online for 2010/11.

Your parents or partner may need to supply financial information to support your application. If you apply online, they will be able to supply their information online as well.

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