Student Finance Guidance for Parents

Student Finance can be complicated. But your child can get money towards tuition fees – now capped at £9,250 a year for UK and EU students – and for living costs.

For many parents the loud and proud cheer given when your son or daughter gets into university, is soon followed by a sharp intake of breath when thinking about paying for it.

Yet much of the fear comes from myths and misunderstandings about how student finance works.

When can I apply for Student Finance?

Student Finance is open for Year 13 students to start applying now.

What’s available?

All eligible students can get a:

  • Tuition Fee Loan to cover the full cost of the fees charged by their university or college
  • basic rate of Maintenance Loan to help with living costs, such as rent and bills

The basic rate of Maintenance Loan doesn’t depend on your household income, but they can apply for more that does. Any loans they borrow have to be paid back, but not until they’ve finished or left their course, and their income is over the repayment threshold.

There are also grants available for students who have a disability, including a long-term health condition, mental health condition, or specific learning difficulty, or students who have children or adult dependants. These don’t usually have to be paid back.

A student’s university or college may also offer bursaries, scholarships, or other kinds of financial help – it’s always worth checking with them too.

How does household income affect student finance?

You might need to give Student Finance England information about your income if your child has applied for student finance that’s based on your household income.

You’ll be asked for financial details for the tax year previous to the start of the academic year. For example, if the student is applying for the 2018/19 academic year, the tax year will be 2016/17. Student Finance England will ask for details of the previous tax year because this is the most recent full tax year.

Your information will be used to work out if your child can get extra Maintenance Loan on top of the Tuition Fee Loan and basic Maintenance Loan.

If your income in the current tax year is likely to be at least 15% lower than the previous tax year, Student Finance England can assess your household income on what you estimate your income will be.

If you’re supporting your child’s application, your household income is the combined income of:

  • you
  • your child
  • your partner – if you live with them now (even if you weren’t living with them during the previous tax year)

If you’re separated or divorced, Student Finance England will use the household income of the parent the student is financially dependent on, which is usually the parent the student lives with.

If you’re supporting your partner’s application, your household income is the combined income of you and your partner (even if you weren’t living with them during the previous tax year).

Household income doesn’t include any income the student might have from full or part-time work.