Universities and colleges in the UK can charge home students up to £9k a year in tuition fees but most first-time students won’t have to pay anything up front depending on what percentage of the full-time course is covered each year.
Who pays what?
Fees vary according to a whole host of factors, from where you live to where in the UK you study. You can be charged up to £9k/yr wherever you study in the UK unless:
- You’re a Scottish resident studying in Scotland (no fees)
- You’re a Welsh resident studying in Wales (a fee grant caps fees at £3,810/yr)
- You’re an NI resident studying in NI (fees capped at £3805/yr)
‘Private’ colleges can charge even home (UK) students what they like – they’re not bound by the £9k fees cap. Part-time fees are calculated on a sliding scale depending on what percentage of the full-time course is covered each year, up to £6,750.
Who pays when?
Don’t let tuition fees stop you, just find out what’s involved and make an informed choice
Most first-time full- and part time students won’t have to pay anything up front. Instead, you’ll be offered a Tuition Fees Loan, which you don’t start paying back until you’re in work and earning over a certain amount. You can’t get the fees loan if you’ve already done a degree or similar course, or are an international student, so you’ll have to consider other loans, bursaries, scholarships or savings.
What else do I need to know?
If you’ve got your heart set on advanced particle physics or horse psychology (thank you, Nottingham Trent), don’t let tuition fees stop you. . Whether you get off ‘Scot’ free, get a Student Loan or are out pawning your Wii right now, make a considered decision:
- Are you and your course eligible for the Tuition Fees Loan?
- Some colleges have ton of teaching staff; others are light on library stock (which can bump up your book-buying costs). Get your ear to the ground and see what other students are saying.
- Do the course fees represent good value for money for the student experience, future earnings and your career hopes?
- What financial assistance does the institution offer (from emergency support to scholarships)?
- How do rents, entertainment and food stack up? London, Cambridge and Bristol can be pricey; Durham, Leeds and Cardiff are rated for cheaper living. Do your own research.
The short story
Don’t make choices on fees alone: your interest in the subject, future career plans and personal development will be equally as valuable as your salary in later life. On the other hand, don’t think far-distant loan repayments are all you have to worry about: you’ll need to cover the cost of everything from laundry to light bills over the next few years. Find out for yourself what’s involved and make an informed choice.