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Paying the fees

Here’s the tasty bit. As of 2006, no one has to pay tuition fees until after they graduate. This arrangement is supposed to stop studious 18-year-olds being as reliant on their parents for cash for tuition fees as they were previously.

If you (or your parents, best friend, sugardaddy or whoever) want to pay your fees upfront, and really can’t think of anything better to do with the spare wodge of cash burning a hole in your bank account (might Push suggest buying a house? Travelling the world? Giving it to us?) then there’s nothing to stop you. Check with the university for details on how to hand over the dosh at the start of or during your course.

However, for most of those without a lottery win or a trust fund behind them, this won’t be an option. Instead, you can take out a big, fat loan to cover the fees. You won’t actually see any of the money, as it will be paid to the university on your behalf. This effectively means that the government – through the Student Loans Company – is paying the fees to the university for you. The government then gets the cash back off you, straight out of your pay packet, once you’re earning more than £15,000 a year.

You can apply for the tuition fee loan online at www.studentfinancedirect.co.uk or get hold of the forms from your LEA. As with all student funding, it’s worth applying as soon as possible. It doesn’t matter whether you’re definite about which course you’ll study – if in doubt, just put down the one that’s most likely and be sure to tell the LEA if you change your plans.

A couple of things to bear in mind about the tuition fee loans:

  • You’ll be loaned enough money to pay for your course fees. Not a penny more, and not a penny less. The maximum available is £3,000 a year, but there’s no point in applying for a £3,000 loan if the university is only charging £2,500 – you’re not going to get the extra £500 to play with.
  • The loan isn’t means-tested (unlike the loan for living costs). This means that everyone eligible for help with tuition fees will be given the full loan that they need to pay them. It doesn’t matter a jot how much you or your parents earn.
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