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Undergraduate Study


There’s a range of financial support available to help students cover the cost of their studies. As well as the support provided by the government, the University and Colleges offer a variety of options. 

We understand that some Muslim students and members of other faiths may be put off taking out the UK government's student loans, due to the interest payment system. 

However, the way that interest is charged on UK government loans for students in England is changing from 2023-4. For new borrowers, loans will be increased by the rate of RPI inflation only, so there will be no interest added. This will apply to both tuition fee loans and maintenance loans

The UK Fatwa Council has also advised that student loans are permissible

You don’t have to take out a maintenance loan in order to receive other financial support from the University, but if you decide not to take a loan it might affect your eligibility for other sources of funding. We’ve outlined some considerations below, but if you have any questions or you need any help deciding whether or not to take a loan, please contact the Cambridge College you plan to apply to.

After considering all the factors, if you decide not to take a loan, you will need to make sure you have an alternative source of funding to cover the cost of your education.

Maintenance loans and eligibility for other support

University Financial Assistance Fund 

The University of Cambridge has a Financial Assistance Fund to help students facing financial hardship. If you are a home undergraduate student who is eligible for UK government Student Finance, you can only apply to the Financial Assistance Fund only if you have taken your full maintenance loan entitlement. 

Cambridge Bursary Scheme 

To determine your eligibility for the Cambridge Bursary, the University’s main bursary scheme, we will need confirmation of your household income. This is assessed by your regional funding body, eg Student Finance England. This means that you and your family must be means-tested for the government loans and grants and provide details of your household income.

If you don't go through this process, we cannot determine your household income and will not be able to assess whether you are eligible for a non-repayable Cambridge Bursary. Once you've gone through the process, you don't have to take the maintenance loan in order to receive the Cambridge Bursary. You can find more details about this on the Cambridge Bursary Scheme website.

Students eligible for a Cambridge Bursary will be entitled to a non-repayable living cost bursary which is payable in each academic year provided that they remain eligible and are within the qualifying household income threshold. 

Other University bursaries and scholarships 

Several other scholarships, especially those designed to support students from backgrounds currently underrepresented at the University, will use household income information to help determine who is eligible for the scholarship/bursary. Without information on your household income, you may not be considered for one of these scholarships. 

Welfare benefits 

If you are entitled to claim welfare benefits as a student, the office assessing your benefit claim will assume you have taken your UK government student finance loan entitlement and will reduce your benefit entitlement accordingly. 

Other UK government student finance 

Some elements of government Student Finance are not repayable and depend on your personal circumstances. These include supplementary grants for dependants or disability-related course costs. If you are assessed for support by Student Finance Wales you may qualify for a non-repayable maintenance grant.  

Interest-free overdraft facility 

Most UK banks offer student accounts for undergraduates who have a maintenance loan. These accounts are interest free, up to a specified limit, depending on your credit history. The bank may want to see evidence of your maintenance loan before you can open an account. 

You may want to use online comparison tools to identify banks that offer the most generous interest-free overdraft facilities.