From 2012 tuition fees for university and colleges are increasing for English students and those who study in England. But there will be greater financial assistance in the form of student loans, grants, scholarships and bursaries.
Scottish students will continue to have free University education. Students from Wales will get a grant from the Welsh Assembly to cover fees over £3,290, wherever they study. Northern Irish Universities charge home-grown students a maximum tuition fee of £3,465, and are committed to keeping fees around this level.
But it must be remembered that all students get their fees covered by loans and in England graduates will not start paying back the money until they earn £21,000 a year instead of the current level of £15,000.
The different fee-charging regimes make it complicated for students to work out what their University education will cost, but they should not be encouraged to choose courses and Universities on cost rather than merit.
Students also have to consider whether they want to study near their home. Their maintenance loan will be lower but so will their costs. For those students from families with low household incomes maintenance grants are also available and these do not need to be repaid.
Applications for funding usually start at the beginning of the year in which the student plans to start their studies.
It is worth finding out what financial help is available before applications are made.
See below details of the different costs:
- Detailed information on all the above is available at www.direct.gov.uk/studentfinance
- Money Saving Expert has a useful calculator for students to work out the costs: www.studentfinancecalc.com.
- It also has a great deal of information for students on many of the issues relating to funding on Student Loans 2012