Financing a higher education comes with a lot of questions. One of particular importance is what are the costs financial aid will cover. Typically, students will have multiple types of financial aid, varying by their individual situation. The types of financial aid a student is eligible receive will determine the monetary amount as well as the terms of repayment. This article will explain the approximate amounts covered by loans, bursaries, and grants.
There are two student loans available from the Student Loans Company to assist students with the costs of higher education. These loans are:
- Tuition Fees Loan: will pay for the cost of tuition fees.
- Maintenance Loan: will assist with costs of living, based on need.
The Tuition Fees loan is not based on income, and it does not have age restrictions for the borrower. The loan is paid directly to the university, and it will cover the full cost of tuition and fees. The amount of this type of loan is dependent on what the specific university charges for tuition and fees, but generally the student will receive up to o £3,145 for courses begun in the 2008/2009-school term. These amounts are based on full-time enrolment.
The Maintenance Loan is a supplementary loan based on an income assessment for students who do not qualify for grant funding, yet demonstrate financial need. The amount of this student loan will depend on the programme of study, and the financial situation of the student. Generally, the student will receive up to £6,475 for 2008/2009 terms; this amount is based on each individual income assessment. These amounts are based on full-time enrolment.
Grant funding is a non-repayable resource that is based on financial need. The need of the student is established based on the income of the student’s family for the previous year. This type of funding was established to aid less financially equipped families pursue higher education in order to increase their income potential. Grants are also available for students of special circumstance, such as those with disabilities and students who are lone-parents of dependent children.
Types of grants available:
- Higher Education Maintenance Grant: These grants are based on yearly household income and full-time enrolment. Maximum available £2,835 per year for household income less than £25,000 yearly. Partial grants are available for yearly household income up to £60,005. It is important to note that up to £1,260 will be applied toward the maximum allowable funds available through the Maintenance Loan. Therefore, the maximum amount to be borrowed through the Maintenance Loan would be £6,475 less £1,260 (£5,415).
- Special Support Grant: Special support grants are based on yearly household income and full-time enrolment. These loans are specifically targeted toward low-income families with an underlying issue, such as lone parents, that qualifies eligibility. The maximum eligible amount is £2,835. This would replace the Higher Education Maintenance Grant, and it would give students the ability to take out additional funds by borrowing the full amount of the Maintenance Loan.
- Fee Grant and Course Grant: These grants are ased on income assessment and course of study. The grant program is for part-time students. A Fee Grant will pay directly to the university, and it helps cover the cost of tuition fees. A Course Grant is paid directly to the student. The purpose of this grant is to help with the cost of textbooks, other course materials, and the cost of commuting. The maximum amounts available are contingent on individual circumstance as well as the rigorousness of the programme of study. The absolute maximum for the combined Fee Grant and Course Grant is £1,435 for the 2008/2009 terms.
- Allowances for Students with Disabilities: Any student with a medical condition that affects their ability to perform in an academic environment may be eligible for a special allowance that is not based on income. Types of allowances include: specialist equipment allowance (specialty furniture and/or electronics), non-medical helpers allowance (pays note-takers or library support specialists), and a general allowance (tapes, photocopying, etc.). These allowances have yearly caps, and students may be eligible for multiple allowances. These allowances are available to part-time as well as full-time students. Additionally, post-graduate students are eligible for a yearly stipend of £5,915.
Full time students are also eligible for bursaries, which are another form of need-based financial aid. Bursaries come directly from the institution of higher education, and they are typically used to help cover the costs of living. Similar to grants, bursaries are non-repayable financial aid. To be eligible for bursaries, a student must first qualify for the Maintenance or Special Support Grants. Typically, students who attend a public university are required to receive additional funding in the form of a bursary. Also, those students eligible for Grants who attend a public university are required to receive additional aid in the form of a bursary.
- A number of different universities and colleges will offer bursaries greater than the minimum. For instance, in the 2007/2008-school term, the typical bursary award for a student receiving the Maintenance Grant was an additional £1,000. It is important to note that a larger bursary award is available for students who demonstrate substantial financial need.