One of the biggest concerns for students and their parents is the cost of university. Here’s a breakdown of what you need to know about fees, finance, and repayment.

Tuition fees

Your child will typically pay up to £9,250 per year in tuition fees as a UK student, although for many courses it’s less.

  • Fees don’t need to be paid upfront.
  • Students can apply for a Tuition Fee Loan to cover all or part of their fees.

Because of the way the system works, taking out a loan, such as a bank loan, yourself to cover the cost of fees and avoid your child getting into debt will almost always work out more expensive in the long run, so it’s not advisable.

Living costs

The second loan they can apply for is the Maintenance Loan, to help towards living expenses while at university, such as accommodation, food, and course materials.

The amount they’re eligible to borrow depends on several factors, including where they will be living during term time and your household income. You’ll need to give them permission to check your household income with HMRC so the student can apply for the maximum amount available.

For example, if they’ll be living away from home (outside of London), a Maintenance Loan of up to £9,978 (£10,227 for 2025 entry) per year could be available per year depending on your household income. If you’re earning more than the threshold, the loan amount your child is eligible for will be lower, meaning they or you will need to make up any financial shortfall.

Extra support

Maintenance Grants are no longer available for new students, but there is extra support available in certain circumstances:

  • Scholarships, grants, and bursaries – offered on the basis of academic ability, your income, or for other reasons (for example, if your child has a disability).
  • Fee waivers – these reduce tuition fees, either on their own, or in a broader package of support with a bursary.
  • Hardship funds – these can help if your child is struggling financially, either before or during uni.
  • Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA) – if your child has a disability, including a long-term health condition, mental health condition, or specific learning difficulty, such as dyslexia they might be able to get funds to cover extra costs. Students can get up to £26,948 of support for 2024 to 2025. There are exceptions for students who need more money for travel costs. This will apply for both new and continuing students. How much they get depends on their individual needs, not your household income. DSA can be applied for alongside the main student finance application and doesn’t usually have to be paid back unless your child leaves their course early.


There’s no need for your child to wait to receive offers back from universities to apply for student finance – they should apply as soon as the application service opens. To make sure they receive their loans on time, remind them to provide their supporting evidence as soon as possible.

Supporting your child’s application

If your child is applying for student finance that depends on your household income, you’ll need to give the Student Loans Company your
National Insurance number, which they will use to get details of your income from HMRC.

To do this, you’ll need to create an account:

The SLC will use the information from HMRC to work out how much student finance your child can get. In some cases, they might need to contact you to ask for specific evidence of your household income – but don’t send this unless you are asked to, as it could delay your child’s application. Don’t worry if this happens – it’s just part of their checks to make sure your child gets the funding they’re entitled to.

Depending on where you live in the UK, the fees, loans, repayment, and cost of living will be different. If your child lives in 

  • Scotland and goes to a Scottish university, they won’t pay tuition fees. Apply for Maintenance Loans via the Student Awards Agency Scotland.
  • Wales and goes to a Welsh uni, they can get a Tuition Fee Loan to cover the fees charged. Apply to Student Finance Wales
  • Northern Ireland and studies in NI too, they can get a Tuition Fee Loan to cover the fees charged. Apply to Student Finance NI


Importantly, this isn’t based on how much your child has borrowed, but instead on how much they go on to earn.

There is no change to the current threshold for Plan 2 students (English students who started a course before 1 August 2023) and Welsh students.

English students who started a course on or after this date will now be under Plan 5, which has thresholds of £25,000 a year, £2,083 a month and £480 a week (£27.295 for Welsh, £27,660 for Scottish, and £22,015 for Northern Irish students).

Plan 5 students won’t start repaying until 6 April 2026 at the earliest.

While the loans do accrue interest, any outstanding debt still owed after 40 years is written off (Plan B students), meaning it’s not always worth helping your child pay back their loan early.

For Welsh and Scottish students this is 30 years, and 25 years for Northern Irish students.

Student loans won’t appear on their credit file either.

The Student Loans Company’s guidance has more information about how they’ll repay their student loan, how much they’ll repay, and the interest involved.

Student loans are only repayable after graduation, once your child is earning over a certain salary.
PAYE collection
It will be automatically collected through PAYE, so they won’t be able to fall behind on repayments.