The lowdown on tuition fees

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 upfront.

Tuition fees pay for things like teaching, building maintenance, facilities and equipment. Institutions that charge the full £9k also have to set part of it aside to help students from low-income backgrounds, as well as for bursaries, scholarships and access funds.

Who pays what?

Fees vary according to a whole host of factors, but you can be charged up to £9k/yr wherever you study in the UK unless:*

  • You’re a Scottish/EU resident studying in Scotland (no fees)
  • You’re a Welsh resident, or EU resident studying in Wales (a fee grant effectively caps Tuition Loan/costs at £3,810/yr)
  • You’re an NI/EU resident studying in NI (fees capped at £3,805/yr)
  • You’re an EU (including UK) resident studying in ROI: ‘registration charge’ of €3,000 (around £2k) instead.

‘Private’ colleges can charge what they like – they’re not bound by the £9k fees cap. Part-time fees vary according to the proportion of the full-time course covered each year.image 3

Who pays when?

Most students won’t have to pay anything upfront. Instead, you’ll be offered a Tuition Fee Loan, which you don’t start paying back until you’re in work and your income is over a certain amount. Usually 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.

The short story

Can you get student finance?

  • What are staff numbers and library stock like?
  • Are fees good value (student experience, future earnings)?
  • What financial assistance is on offer?
  • How do rents, ents and eats stack up?
  • Will it be easy to find part-time work if you need it?

Make an informed choice: do your own research on more than one uni.

Read this piece and much, much more in our Student Money Manual which is also available as a digital download on our website!