At a glance
Advice on financial support and planning if your child continues with their studies.
The rules about student finance are complicated and change every year. This page offers a brief summary only.
Higher annual tuition fees were introduced in 2012. Many universities charge different fees for different courses. It is important to check the relevant university's website for the most up to date information about courses and fees before applying.
Tuition fees and the funding available are dependent upon where you will go to university and what your country of residence is. There are different university tuition fee schemes and financial support available for students resident in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
Studying in England
English universities can charge up to £9,000 per academic year and fees are the same for students coming from all four nations (England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland). Students coming from households with low income can apply for a maintenance grant.
Studying in Wales
Welsh universities can charge up to £9,000 per academic year and fees are the same for students coming from all four nations. However, Welsh students pay £3,575 only with the Welsh government covering the rest of the fees up to £9,000 through a grant. A grant covering living costs is available for students coming from households with low income.
Lower tuition fees at any UK university for Welsh students
The Welsh government will help pay the higher charges for Welsh students, wherever in the UK they choose to study. It means that students will pay about £3,575 with the Welsh government paying the rest of the fees through a grant.
Studying in Northern Ireland
In Northern Ireland universities can charge up to £3,575 for tuition fees to students coming from Northern Ireland in 2013. From 2012 universities in Northern Ireland can charge up to £9,000 to students coming from England, Scotland and Wales.
If you are from Northern Ireland and want to study in England, Wales or Scotland you will have to pay higher tuition fees. You can get a loan to cover the full amount of your tuition fees up to a maximum of £9,000.
Studying in Scotland
The standard tuition fee for an undergraduate degree course in Scotland is £1,820 in 2013. Scottish government will pay the tuition fee on behalf of Scottish students that meet the eligibility criteria. From 2012, if you come from England, Wales or Northern Ireland, universities in Scotland will charge you variable fees up to a maximum of £9,000. Scottish students wanting to study in other nations will have to pay higher fees and can apply for available funding if they meet the eligibility criteria.
Bursaries and scholarships
Students may be entitled to extra financial support from their chosen university or college. This could be in a form of a bursary or scholarship if certain conditions set by the university or college are met. Each university has information about bursaries and scholarships available on their website together with details about the eligibility criteria and application process. Some charities and educational trusts also offer grants and awards and some forms of financial support are also available from many commercial companies.
Student loans and maintenance loans
Students can apply for a student loan to help them with paying their tuition fees and a maintenance loan to help them cover their living cots whilst studying for their degree. Students need to apply in their country of residence (e.g. English students apply in England, Welsh students apply in Wales etc). For more information please see the links to student finances below.
Contributing as a parent
As a parent you're likely to have to pay for your child's costs to some extent, in one way or another. When your child applies for a grant or loan, you'll be given an indication of how much you're expected to contribute to his or her living expenses based on your household income.
But handouts aren't the only way to help. Running a budget for the first time might seem confusing or complicated, so your child will need guidance on ways to make ends meet as much as needing your money.
Working and studying
Many students benefit from working in a paid job at weekends or in the evenings, and make a useful contribution to their finances. Working part-time can be a good way for students to cover additional costs, such as holidays, but it's important for your child not to feel overburdened by a job as well as focussing on their studies.
Further information on student finances
Student Finance England is at www.direct.gov.uk/en/EducationAndLearning/UniversityAndHigherEducation/StudentFinance/index.htm
The Student Awards Agency for Scotland is at www.saas.gov.uk/
Student Finance Wales is at www.studentfinancewales.co.uk/portal/page?_pageid=616,6200692&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL
Student Finance Northern Ireland is at www.studentfinanceni.co.uk/