As a student, one of the most important aspects to oversee is finance. Along with studies, managing your expenditure and budgeting expenses for tuition, accommodation, food, transportation and much more is crucial. Aside from scholarships and grants, student loans are one of the most popular and feasible sources of money for the maximum number of students. Amongst these, student maintenance loans are especially beneficial if you find it difficult to find time for part-time jobs or other sources of income. Below, we discuss all the important aspects like eligibility criteria, the amount received, repayment schedule and interest rates regarding student maintenance loans.
What Is A Student Maintenance Loan?
Student loans are primarily of two types – one where only the student’s tuition fee is paid along with accommodation expenses sometimes, and the other where they receive money for other household costs and monthly expenditures too. This second type is called a student maintenance loan. It is financial support for students provided by the government to help them cover their living costs, and it is adequately manageable when compared to other types of loans or financial aid. The essential part is to determine whether the eligibility criteria fit your portfolio and whether the repayment schedule is suitable for the applying students.
How Much Is Student Maintenance Loan?
As of now, the minimum student maintenance loan that is disbursed to a student is £3,698 whereas the maximum amount is £13,022 each year. It is transferred in three instalments during January, April and September. In addition to the duration of their degree, students are eligible for the loan for one extra year. However, this amount depends on several different factors. Firstly, the loans in every region within the United Kingdom are governed by different funding bodies, and students are required to apply to the body that applies to the country they normally live in, and not the one where their university is situated. Second, it depends on whether the applicant resides at home or needs money for accommodation and housing expenses too, and on the city of residence according to their university. Next, household income comes into the picture. Students who have a higher household income tend to receive less funding as compared to those who have a lesser income. Lastly, the duration of the degree determines the total amount. For instance, if the applicant is enrolled in an accelerated degree program, they are eligible to receive more funds for the extra weeks of study that they are required to put in.
What Are The Eligibility Criteria?
There are four major aspects to consider before applying. First is your university or college. The educational institution at which you will be enrolling yourself must be recognised or listed by the government. Also, the course you have picked must be on the list of the qualifying courses supplied by the government. This isn’t as elaborate as it seems since most universities or colleges are already recognised or accredited. Similarly, maximum undergraduate courses too are eligible to process student maintenance loans. However, some part-time degree courses have slightly different criteria, so students are advised to ensure their course still qualifies.
Age restrictions are an aspect to factor in only if you are above 60. In such cases, the loans might be issued in some form of funding if you are a full-time student. In case you are aged 25 or above, the way your loan amount is calculated is slightly different than usual. Otherwise, the other aspects are quite similar.
In essence, only the students who are enrolling for their first higher education course are eligible to apply for the loan. But there are other exceptions through which you could still receive funding. For instance, if you have topped your first honours degree, your second course of choice might be eligible for funding. In case, you have had to drop out because of unavoidable circumstances or if you are resitting a year at the same university, you might still be eligible because student maintenance loans are issued for one extra year. Also, if you’re eligible for a total of five years, out of which you have utilised three years for a previous course, you still might be eligible for two more years of funding for a different course altogether. Lastly, if you were suffering from a serious illness or any such ‘compelling personal reasons’, you might stand good for more years of complete funding, irrespective of your previous number of years of study.
Also, as a basic criterion, all applicants must be a national of the United Kingdom, live in the Uk or the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands, and have been living there for at least three years before the start of the course. However, in case you have maintained some sort of economic link to the government, one of the above three could be excused. Specific exceptions are also made for refugees and stateless people.
How To Apply For Student Maintenance Loan?
Students can apply for the loans either online or via post. You will be required to send certain documents like a birth certificate and passport as evidence. If you’re applying for a dependant’s grant or disabled student allowance, other verification documents and paperwork will also be necessary to ensure your status. Along with this, applicants need a working email address, a bank account specified in the applicant’s name, university and course details, an up-to-date UK passport, and details about household or parent’s income. On average, it takes a minimum of six weeks to verify and reach out to the applicants regarding the status of their applications.
What Is The Repayment Schedule For Student Maintenance Loan 2023/24?
Students only start repaying their loans once they’ve graduated, and even after that, their income should be over the repayment threshold. The following table explains this threshold and how it applies to students from different regions. It is to be noted that all prices are annual income before tax.
|England – Starting on or after 1st August 2023||£25,000|
|England – Starting before 1st August 2023||£27,295|
As aforementioned, these thresholds are for the session 2023/24. However, since they are liable to change every year, students are advised to ensure their qualifying threshold before applying.
The interest rates for students from England and Wales are around 6.9 per cent for everyone. However, they also depend on your salary and whether you are a student or a graduate. For students from Northern Ireland and Scotland, the interest rate currently is 5 per cent. Similar to repayment threshold, these interest rates may vary before each academic session and it is best to verify before you begin the application process itself.
There are a few things to keep in mind while processing your student maintenance loan. It is essential to begin as soon as possible to avoid any delays in the disbursement of the funding. After receiving the maintenance loan student finance is an important step. It means planning your expenditure and budgeting this funding appropriately. Since this is the only amount that you will have to manage your tuition fees, housing prices, utilities and other household expenses, you should ensure not to run out of your budget as the amount is usually pre-decided. Lastly, one should always have a backup plan in the rare instance that one does not receive funding even after being eligible.
Q1. How is the funding paid to the student?
Ans: The loan is paid directly into the student’s bank account. Typically, if the course lasts longer than 30 weeks and 3 days, extra money might be disbursed which is usually included as a part of the maintenance loan itself. This is called a Long Course Loan.
Q2. How many times is the funding given?
Ans: Students usually receive three payments a year.
Q3. What is the difference between a normal student loan and a student maintenance loan?
Ans: After applying for student loans, students receive funding only for tuition fees. In the process of student maintenance loans, funding for household expenses along with tuition fees is also disbursed to the applicants.
Q4. When do we need to repay the loan?
Ans: Students have to start repaying only after they graduate. Even after that, the repayment schedule depends on the annual income of the student.
Thank you for reading our guide to student maintenance loans! Let us know your queries or doubts in the comment section below.
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