The radical overhaul of student funding has finally happened. Yet myths, panic and confusion about the changes to English student finance for those starting in 2012, 2013 and beyond are still widespread. If you’re over 25 or independent from your parents, 2012+ student loans work slightly differently than for typical school leavers going to university. This new free mature students guide is here to give you the facts.
The guide is produced by the Independent Student Finance Taskforce (which is headed by Martin Lewis) and is crucial reading for anyone considering going to uni in 2013.
Teachers / Parents / Universities:
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Watch or listen to the audio and video guides
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Student Finance 2012 Video Guide
Filmed in front of parents and potential students at UCL, Jun 2011.
Listen to Martin explaining the changes on BBC Radio Five Live's Shelagh Fogarty show. Click on the player below to listen (13:15).
What's in the booklet
If you only read the newspapers you’d believe all students were single 18-year-olds who have just got their A-level results, and are ready to spend three years in the student bar binge drinking. Yet few of those stereotypes are true (though some I’m sure may still like the odd pint). Many at university are substantially older, have children or are financed independently. In fact some universities now see mature students as the majority.
1. The Basic Facts
The size of tuition fees can be scary, but it’s often not as frightening as it sounds as the repayments are solely based on earnings, not on the amount borrowed. It’s important you know the key facts.
2. Loans, grants and bursaries
There is a range of financial support out there for those wanting to go into higher education. This falls into two main categories – government support and direct money from universities and colleges. The amounts available often depend on household income – which usually means your unearned income, and the taxable income of any partner that lives with you.
3. How the repayments work?
Student loans must be repaid when you have left the course and started work, and are earning over £21,000 – whereas grants and bursaries do not need to be repaid (unless you leave your course early in some circumstances). Students starting at English universities in 2013 could graduate with loans of anything up to £50,000 if they take both tuition fee loans and maintenance loans.
4. How much will it actually cost?
This is the crucial question and one of the many fears that are putting people off going to university – the ‘how will I afford to live with this debt?’ question. The answer is different for everyone, but the following three points should help clear it up.
Key questions answered include: 'If I want to do a distance learning course – can I get a living cost loan?', 'What happens if I lose my job or take a career break?' and 'How do those who are self-employed repay the debt?'.
A list of key contacts to help with all aspects of student finance.