Martin Lewis: Student Loans Decoded

FREE TV programme and lesson plan demystifying the cost of uni for young people, parents and teachers

Martin Lewis: Student Loans Decoded is a groundbreaking, no-nonsense, authoritative video guide to student finance and the real impact of higher education on both students' and parents' pockets. It's designed to be watched at home, or it can be played copyright-free in a school lesson too. Plus to help teachers, there's a Quality Mark-assured lesson plan to use alongside it.

Important: This guide refers to Plan 2 student loans, so it applies to Welsh students starting uni in 2023 (as well as English and Welsh students who started between 2012 and 2022). If you're an English student planning to start university from 2023, you're in the wrong place – see Plan 5 student loans.

  • What is Student Loans Decoded?

    Speaking to a lively group of 100 pupils at Queens Park Community School back in 2019, Martin shatters popular myths and challenges the widespread misinformation that risks many young people not understanding – in practical terms – whether they can actually afford to go to university.

    This easy-to-follow video focuses on the current English system (introduced in 2012) and is intended for prospective university students in years 11 to 13 and their parents. Designed to be watched at home or in the classroom, it is a valuable resource for teachers and students.

    Watch it in full or jump to one of the chapters using the links below.

Some of the figures mentioned in this video have changed since the video was made. The following figures are the rates and thresholds for 2022:

  • The maximum maintenance loan is now £12,667
  • Graduates repay 9% of everything they earn over £27,295
  • The current rate of inflation is 3.4% (March 2024)
  • The current rate of interest is 7.8% (March 2024).

Embedded YouTube Video

Resources for teachers

If you work with young people, you may find Student Loans Decoded a useful tool to simplify the facts around student finance for both potential students and their parents. So, together with financial education charity Young Money, we have created a teacher guide for Student Loans Decoded.

Along with the video chapters, there are a number of activities that can be run in a classroom or educational setting, such as a careers day. The activities are mapped to the financial education planning framework, and the teacher guide has received a Quality Mark from Young Money – a stamp of approval for financial education. 

Clicking the cover image will download a PDF of the teacher guide.

Martin: 'Schools need to replace the politics with the practical'

"Student finance has long been a political hot potato. The venom spat across the House of Commons has led to widespread confusion and misunderstanding.

"Schools need to replace the politics with the practical. Only by understanding the true cost of going to university can students and their parents objectively decide if it's right for them. While some rightly choose not to go to university due to the cost, many reject it based on financial myths. That's tragic.

"Too many are put off by the high price tag on tuition fees, and the overall 'debt' figure they're left with, even though that bears little resemblance to what they actually repay. Too few consider the greater challenge of affording to live while studying. Last year, we launched our Student Loans Decoded lesson-length programme – we've had great feedback, but many teachers wanted more.

"So now, together with the Young Money charity, we've created a linked teacher guide, mapped to the financial education planning framework, to make the lesson planning even easier. And as it's received the Young Money quality mark – a stamp of approval for financial education – you can be assured that it meets all the requirements for your classes."

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