Home 5 Work & study 5 What help can I get with the cost of a degree?

What help can I get with the cost of a degree?

Curriculum for life editorial team
Curriculum for life editorial team
From student loans, grants and bursaries to flexible degrees, see how you can help pay your way through university.
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Student loans

Student loans can help you with university or college tuition fees and living costs.

You are charged interest from when you take out the loan. This is a charge for the cost of borrowing. After your degree, you start repaying the loan once you earn over a certain amount. Your monthly repayments depend on how much you earn and are taken directly from your salary.

If you haven’t paid the loan off in 40 years then the debt is wiped.

Money Saving Expert has a useful guide on student loans and repayments.

Could you get extra support?

If you support yourself, have children or dependant adults, you may be able to get extra help for things like childcare.

If you have a disability or specific learning difficulty you can apply for Disabled Students’ Allowance.

See Gov.uk for more details.

Grants and bursaries

Grants and bursaries are money that is given to you that you do not have to pay back and are available if you’re studying certain courses. This includes some NHS-related courses, social work and teaching. 

Most universities also have their own grant and bursary schemes – you’ll need to check with your university to see what is available and if you can apply. Support is generally designed to help students from particular groups, such as if you come from a low-income household or care background, or have caring responsibilities. 

You might also be able to get a scholarship through your university or another route. Again, this is money to support your studies which you don’t need to pay back. Details vary so once you’ve got an idea of what you want to study and where, you can explore what may be open to you.

Student overdrafts

Most student bank accounts offer a free student overdraft. This is a certain amount of money that you can borrow straight from your bank account at no charge. Once you’ve finished your course, you’ll start paying interest. Make sure you read the small print to avoid any surprises, as conditions can change.

Money Saving Expert has helpful tips on choosing a student bank account.

Boosting your income

Many students help pay for living costs by working in the holidays or part-time during term time. Check out your university careers service or student union for job listings, or search for student jobs online.

Other degree routes

You don’t have to move away and study full-time to get a degree. Choosing a more flexible option can save you money and allow you to balance other responsibilities.

You could choose to study:

  • for a part-time degree that you can combine with work or other commitments
  • a distance learning course, such as with the Open University, which enables you to study when and where you like
  • at your local university while you live at home
  • for a degree apprenticeship – these combine a paid job with paid study for a degree. You don’t pay any tuition fees and gain work experience at the same time. See UCAS for more details

Find out more

Gov.uk has more information on student finance and how to apply.

The Student Finance Calculator shows what government support you could get.


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