The information below outlines the financial support available from the government to help first time undergraduates studying at Cambridge meet their costs in 2018-19.
Currently, no UK or EU student studying for their first undergraduate degree has to pay their tuition fees up front. You can take out a government loan and defer payment until after you've left university and are earning a specified minimum salary.
This loan isn't means-tested – all students can apply for and receive it regardless of household income. You can take out a full or a partial loan. The Tuition Fee Loan is paid directly to the University.
Please refer to the relevant student finance award agency website for full details and guidance on how to apply for this loan.
Will I have to pay the student loan for tuition fees back?
If you decide to take out a loan for tuition fees, you'll have to pay it back – this will be in monthly instalments after you’ve left university and are earning a minimum salary.
Repayments have been set by the government at a rate of 9% of your income over the minimum amount of:
- £21,000 per year for students from England, Wales or the EU (expected to rise to £25,000 from April 2018)
- £17,775 per year for students from Scotland or Northern Ireland
Unlike other loans, your repayments are dependent on what you earn, not how much you borrowed. Repayments will be nine per cent of your earnings above the minimum salary whether you take out a full or partial loan.
- as your salary changes (increases or decreases) the amount you repay each month will be adjusted accordingly but the rate at which you repay will remain at nine per cent of your earnings above the minimum salary threshold
- if your salary drops to the minimum salary threshold or below at any time, your monthly repayments will stop until you're earning above that salary threshold again (at which point you'll resume repaying nine per cent of your earnings above the minimum salary threshold)
- any loan that's outstanding after 30 years will be cancelled/written off (after 25 years for students from Northern Ireland, or after 35 years for students from Scotland)
- a student loan won’t affect your credit history and is very unlikely to affect your ability to get a mortgage in the future
- interest is added to your loan from the day the first payment is made to you and until the loan is repaid or written off – the interest rate applied is dependent on the UK Retail Price Index (RPI) and your circumstances, please see the guidance on the Student Loans Company website for details
Example monthly repayments according to salary can be found on the Student Loans Company repayment website.
In addition to the Tuition Fee Loan, students from the UK can take out a government Maintenance Loan to help with living costs. A portion of the Maintenance Loan is non-means tested and available to all students (regardless of household income). The remaining portion is means tested, with the level of loan you're eligible for dependent on your household income.
If you take out a Maintenance Loan, this will be paid directly into your bank account in three instalments each year (at the beginning of each term). Please refer to the relevant student finance authority for more information.
Some students from the EU who are studying at an English university and who meet certain conditions may be eligible for help towards living costs. Contact the Student Finance Services Non UK Team for information and eligibility criteria (telephone: +44 (0) 141 243 3570).
Will I have to pay the student loan for living costs back?
As this is a loan, if you decide to take out a Maintenance Loan you will have to pay it back. Like the Tuition Fee Loan, you won’t start to repay your loan until after you’ve left university and are earning a minimum salary, at which point your repayments will be 9% of your earnings above the minimum salary, paid in monthly instalments.
If you take out loans for both tuition fees and living costs, when you leave university these amounts will be combined into a single total loan sum to be repaid. See the information above regarding interest on loans and loan repayment. Further information and guidance about student loans can be found on the GOV.UK website and from the relevant student finance award agency.
Levels of support and arrangements vary between Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and the amount you receive is dependent on your household income, as assessed by the appropriate student finance award agency. See the relevant website for details.
Will I have to pay the grant for living costs back?
No. As this is a grant, you won’t have to pay it back at any time if you complete your course.
Some students may also be eligible for additional government funding, depending on particular circumstances/needs. For example:
- Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSAs)
- Childcare Grant
- Parents’ Learning Allowance
- Adult Dependants’ Grant
Please see the GOV.UK website and the relevant student finance award agency website for details of what additional financial support is available and eligibility criteria.