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What are Student Loans and how much do I have to repay?

Student loans and grants in the United Kingdom are primarily provided by the government through the Student Loans Company (SLC), a non-departmental public body.

The Student Loans Company is itself divided into Student Finance England, Student Finance Wales and Student Finance NI. The Student Awards Agency for Scotland assesses applications in Scotland. Most undergraduate university students resident in the United Kingdom are eligible for student loans. In addition, some students on teacher training courses may also apply for loans.

Who is eligible for a Student Loan?

Students starting university or college can apply for loans to help with their tuition fees and living costs. How much money you get depends on if you study full-time or part-time and on your living circumstances.

What type of Student Loans are there?

  • Tuition Fee Loan (normally for full-time and part-time students). The Tuition Fee Loan covers the fees charged for your course each year and it's paid directly to your university or college so the funds never pass through your bank account..
  • Maintenance Loan (to cover living costs for full-time students only). Maintenance Loans are paid into your bank account at the start of each term and provided to assist with the cost of living et al whilst studying at university. Maintenance Loans are means tested and vary depending on family income, location, year of study and other available funding / entitlements.

When do I have to repay my Student Loan?

You start to repay your student loan when:

  • you have finished your course
  • you are earning more than a certain amount

Do I pay interest on my Student Loan?

Yes, in fact you are paying interest on your student loan whilst studying, typically a minimum of the rate of inflation plus a small percentage. When you have finished your course and started work the interest payable will vary depending on your Gross Pay.

How much do I have to repay on my Student Loan?

Once you are earning above a certain amount (£ 21,000 for 2011/2012 Tax Year), you will start to repay a percentage of your earnings above the earnings threshold towards your Student loan (9% for 2011/2012 Tax Year).

How can I find out how much I owe on my Student Loan?

You will receive annual statements from the Student Loans Company detailing how much has been repaid and how much is outstanding. You will also see how much interest has been applied to your Student Loan. You can also access your Student Loan account using the Student Loans Company website.

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