Government student loans

Once you’ve decided that university is the right route for you, you’ll need to consider how you intend to fund your future studies and a government student loan might be a suitable option for you.

A Guide to Student Fees and Funding

University finance can be a complicated topic, with varying amounts of money available depending on your personal circumstances – watch our short video guide for all you need to know about the fees and funding support for Higher Education.

You will need to pay your fees while studying and you can use a government fee loan to do so. This allows you to defer payment of fees until you have graduated and are earning above the repayment threshold. You can also borrow a loan for living costs to help with accommodation, day to day living costs, books, travel etc.

Government Support 2020-21

SupportWhat is it?How much?More information
Student loan for tuition For UK/EU students to cover cost of tuition fees. The loan is paid back in instalments once you are earning a minimum salary. Up to £9,250 per year More information can be found at Gov.uk
Student loan for living costs* For all UK students to help with living costs. The amount that can be borrowed depends on your household income and where you live. The loan is paid back in instalments once you are earning a minimum salary. Up to £9,203 per year living away from family home

More information can be found at Gov.uk

Use the student finance calculator to estimate how much you are entitled to.

* Please note that living cost loan figures are only for English (SFE) funding (not Wales, NI, Scotland or Channel Isles, Isle of Man)

Have a question?

The thought of taking out a loan can be scary, to ensure you have all the information you need to make an informed decision we've listed the most frequently asked questions, regarding Government Student Loans, below.

Am I eligible for a student loan?

To be eligible for funding from Student Finance England you need to:

  • Be a British Citizen or have ‘settled status’ in the UK (under the terms of the Immigration Act 1971). ‘Settled status’ means that there are no immigration restrictions on how long you can stay in the UK.
  • Be ‘ordinarily resident’ in England. Ordinary residence is where you normally live. Sometimes living abroad on a temporary basis will not prevent you from receiving student funding. If you move from England with your family overseas due to an armed forces posting you are considered ‘ordinarily resident’ in England.
  • Have been ‘ordinarily resident’ in the UK, for the three years immediately before starting the course (not wholly or mainly for the purpose of receiving full-time education) or have exercised a right of residence in the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland before returning to the UK to study.
  • Other students may also be eligible for student finance e.g. EEA/Swiss migrant workers and refugees.     
  • EU nationals who have been resident in the EEA will normally be eligible for the tuition fee loan only.
  • You must be studying for a Higher Education qualification. Science and Engineering Foundation students are eligible for student finance.

The BTEC Art Foundation programme does not count as degree level and does not qualify for the funding set out here.

Any previous study at degree level can affect your eligibility for student finance.

How do I apply for a student loan?

The majority of prospective students choose to apply online. However, you can also choose to post the completed forms.

There is lots of information regarding the application process online.

How is household income assessed?

The majority of students will be assessed on the basis of the gross income of the household that they live in.

  • Students who live with both of their parents or guardians will be assessed on the joint income of both parents/guardians.
  • Students who live in a single parent household will be assessed on the income of the parent/guardian they live with.
  • A student who lives with one of their parents/guardians and the parent/guardian has a new partner or spouse then the joint income of the parent/guardian and partner or spouse will be taken as household income.

Independent status enables a student to be assessed independently of their parents’ household income. Students will be accepted as independent and will be assessed on their own income and the income of any partner in any of the following circumstances:

  • Over 25 years of age
  • Married
  • Responsible for a child
  • Self-supporting for 3 years from earnings or benefits (a minimum income of £7,500 a year is normally required)
  • Estranged from parents
  • Parents are deceased.

Please note: household income assessments are based on your circumstances in the most recent full financial year. Further information is available on gov.uk

In addition, for the 2019/20 academic year and specific to Student Finance England funding only:

  • Students will qualify for the maximum living costs loan where their household income is £25,000 or less.
  • Elsewhere Rate of loan, living away from home: Students with household incomes above £25,000 lose £1 of loan for every complete £7.79 of income above £25,000 until the amount they receive reaches 46.6% of the maximum amount at which point there is no further reduction. This threshold will vary according to how many higher education students are in the household. Students living in their family home and studying at a local University are subject to a slightly different income taper and a lower maximum living costs loan of £7,529.
  • Household Income refers to gross taxable household income
  • Separate tuition fee loan of up to £9,250 is available regardless of income.

When should I apply for a student loan?

You can apply for the tuition fee and maintenance loan in the February before you start. We recommend you apply then even if you have not yet decided which university will be your firm and insurance choice. This detail can be altered later in your online account should you change your mind.

How long will it take to process my application?

Applications are typically processed within 6 weeks of receiving them. You will then receive a loan declaration which will need to be signed and returned.

When will I get my first loan instalment?

If you have applied for and secured a maintenance loan, this money will be paid directly into your nominated account at the start of term. Tuition loans are paid directly to the university.

How do I pay my tuition fees to the university?

The student loan is paid directly to the university. More information on how to pay your tuition fees can be found here.

What happens if my situation/parents’ income changes?

If your parents income drops by 15% or more, you can ask for a current year assessment. This can be a complex situation and we would recommend you contact the Student Advice and Support Service if this happens to you while studying at Loughborough University (or just before you arrive), for more advice.

When will I need to start repaying my loan?

The following repayment thresholds apply for most student loans in repayment from 6 April 2019:

  • Plan 2 loans: All English & Welsh loans for those who STARTED uni in/after 2012. The repayment threshold is £25,725/year.
  • Plan 1 loans: ALL loans for those who STARTED between 1998 and 2011 PLUS Scottish & Northern Irish loans since 2012. The repayment threshold is £18,935/year.

If for any reason your annual salary drops below the minimum threshold figure for your plan, the repayments will stop and they will only resume once the minimum threshold is exceeded again.

Student Finance will collect the repayments from a graduate’s wages. As earnings increase over time so will the amounts and any remaining balance 30 years after graduation will automatically be written off. Full details regarding repayments can be found on the Student Loans Company website