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Student Finance

Embarking on higher education as a mature student is a journey filled with excitement and fulfillment. However, unique financial challenges often accompany this endeavor. To help you navigate this terrain, we delve into various funding options and financial support tailored specifically for mature students. Additionally, we provide insights into the broader spectrum of funds available to all undergraduate students in England.

Join us as we guide you through the financial landscape, empowering you to make the most of your educational opportunities while minimizing financial stress.

Tuition Fee Loan

All UK students and the majority of EU students are eligible for a tuition fee loan, which is not means-tested, meaning household income is not considered. This loan covers the entire tuition fee cost of the undergraduate course and is directly disbursed to your higher education provider.


Maintenance Loan

The maintenance loan, distributed directly to the student by Student Finance England (SFE), is means-tested, considering household income in the calculation of the amount awarded. Factors such as the student's location and the commencement of the course are also taken into account when determining the final loan amount. For the academic year '23/'24, the maximum annual loan is £13,022.


Childcare Grant

The Childcare Grant is accessible to full-time students covering childcare expenses for their child/children (under 15 or 17 if they have special education needs). Unlike Student Finance loans, the grant is non-repayable. The grant amount is determined by your household income and the number of children you have. For the academic year '22/'23, the maximum weekly amount is £315.03, deposited into a Childcare Grant Payment Service account.


Adult Dependants' Grant

Full-time students who financially support an adult may be eligible for the Adults Dependants’ Grant. This non-repayable grant, with a maximum amount of £3,190 for the academic year '22/'23, provides financial assistance without the obligation of repayment.


Scholarships & Bursaries

Higher education providers extend scholarships and bursaries tailored to factors such as age, academic achievements, and even residential location. For insights into available initiatives and eligibility criteria, reach out to us. Importantly, funds received through bursaries or scholarships do not entail repayment.


Parents' Learning Allowance

Full-time students with dependent children can benefit from the Parents’ Learning Allowance, providing up to £1,863 per year for the academic year '22/'23. Importantly, this allowance is non-repayable.


Student Carer Funding

Higher education providers extend a range of support services, encompassing academic accommodations such as flexible deadlines and financial assistance, specifically tailored for carers. Carers, defined as those working unpaid for family members or friends, should not overlook these resources, which can significantly enhance their educational experience. It is advisable to communicate with the higher education provider to ensure awareness and access to available support.


Disabled Students' Allowance

The Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA) is designed to cover study-related costs incurred due to a mental health problem, long-term illness, or any other disability. It can be provided independently or in addition to other student finance. The support and amount allocated are personalized based on individual needs, with a maximum limit of £25,575 for the '22/'23 financial year. Importantly, the Disabled Students’ Allowance does not require repayment.

Repaying the Tuition Fee & Maintenance Loans

One of the biggest barriers to overcome when considering studying as a mature learner is finance, and rightly so. But as we’ve shown above, the support structures are in place to help many access education without losing out on income. But what about paying back the loans after you’ve graduated? 

The good news is that the loans you accrue during your studies have some of the most flexible, generous loan terms you’ll ever receive. Some might even suggest that ‘loan’ doesn’t accurately describe the support students receive through Student Finance England. Instead the loan acts more as a graduate tax. Here’s how it works:


Firstly, you only start repaying your loans when your income is over £524 a week, £2,274 a month or £27,295 a year (before tax and other deductions). So if you earn £27,295 or below, you pay nothing. It’s also worth noting that the loan is written off after 30 years, regardless of how much or little has been paid.


So, once you go over the threshold for repayment, you pay 9% of your wages above the annual £27,295 threshold. Let’s look at an example:

Your annual income is £30,000. Your monthly income is, therefore, £2,500. You are £226 over the threshold. So you pay back £20.34 per month (9% of £226). 


It’s worth noting that Student Loans do have some loan-ish qualities, notably the interest rate. The interest you accrue while studying is 4.5%; after you graduate, the interest rate is based on your income. Here’s a quick breakdown:

Earning: £27,295 or less; Interest rate: the Retail Price Index (or RPI*, which is currently 1.5%)

Earning: £27,296 to £49,130; Interest rate: RPI + up to 3% (this percentage is based on your earnings; higher earning = higher percentage)

Earning: £49,131+; Interest rate: RPI + 3%


While this may sound scary, it doesn’t affect how much you pay back (this is dictated by how much you earn); instead the interest rate affects how much is left to pay. And remember, the loan is completely written off after 30 years. It may be helpful to think of interest on student loans as more of a time extension to the graduate tax.

Contact our team for a free assessment!

*RPI is an inflation measure that accounts for rising costs of living; this percentage fluctuates

*Please note that all information on this page is accurate at the time of publishing. Updates to reflect changes in Student Finance will be made soon.

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