HE Student Finance Explained for Parents

While studying at university or college on an higher education programme your child will have two main costs — tuition fees and living costs, including accommodation.

Depending on your child’s circumstances, their course and where they study, they could get a range of financial support to help with both. The main types of finance are tuition fee and maintenance loans (which have to be paid back), and grants and bursaries (which don’t).

If you’re the parent or partner of a student you might be asked to give us financial details if the student you’re supporting wants to apply for student finance that’s based on their household income.

For details, please see the document below or visit the parents and partners section of The Student Room website and Student Finance England - Student Finance Explained For Parents

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Student Finance?

Student Finance is help towards the costs of studying for students studying their first Degree or other higher education qualification who have been ordinarily resident in England.


How does my son or daughter apply?

They apply online through the student finance website at https://www.gov.uk/student-finance-register-login. They would register for an account to complete their application.

When do they apply?

If they plan to start Higher Education in September 2024 they need to apply by 31 May 2024. It is essential they apply before this deadline otherwise it will delay their application and payments.


What is a tuition fee loan?

A tuition fee loan is a loan to cover the cost of tuition fees. The maximum a university or college can charge is £9,250 per year of study. The fee loan is paid directly to the university or college.

What is a maintenance loan?

A maintenance loan helps towards living costs such as rent, food, books, mobile bill and travel etc.

Is the maintenance loan based on household income?

Yes some of this loan is based on household income.

Does the loan need to be repaid?

The loans are repayable after a student has left university and is earning £25,000 a year and over. They then pay 9% of earnings over £25,000.  

You can also research further information on the Student Finance England website.

My son or daughter plans to move away from home would they receive more money?

Yes the living away from home rate is higher than the living with parents ‘rate. Students going to live in London receive the highest rates due to the living costs.

How can I support my child’s application?

After the student has applied you’ll be sent an email asking you to confirm your gross household income. You can do this online. If you expect your income to drop by 15% or more, send Student Finance England a current year income assessment form available at https://www.gov.uk/apply-for-student-finance/household-income. You may be asked to send photocopies of evidence of income and circumstances. For example; your last pay slip of the tax year, P60 or self-assessment tax return, a letter from a benefits agency confirming which benefits you receive or a pension statement.

Does my partner’s income also count?

Yes it is household income that they would assess if the partner lives with you.

What is the interest rate on student loans?

Interest is charged from the day the student loan company make the first payment until it’s repaid in full. When your son or daughter is studying and until the April after they leave university or college they’ll be charged an interest rate of the Retail Price Index (RPI) plus 3% - this is the rate of inflation plus an additional 3%. From the April after their course the amount varies depending on their income.


When would they receive their first payment?

If students have applied before the deadline they should receive their first maintenance loan payment soon after enrolling at their chosen university or college.  The second payment is usually paid in January and the third payment in April.


My son or daughter is a parent themselves can they receive any childcare support?

They can apply for a childcare grant which can cover up to 85% of childcare costs. The amount of support depends on the number of children dependent on the student, the cost of childcare and the household income. This money does not need to be repaid. They would need to complete a form available from https://www.gov.uk/childcare-grant/how-to-claim.

My child has a learning difficulty or disability can they receive additional support?

They can apply for Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA). This is to assist with any essential extra costs that are incurred in relation to their studies because of their disability. The amount depends on their needs, not household income and they don’t need to be repaid. Students need to complete a form available from the student finance website https://www.gov.uk/disabled-students-allowances-dsas/how-to-claim. We would also advise the student to contact the university or college they wish to go to discuss the support they will need.

Do the universities and colleges offer any financial help?

Yes there are often bursaries and scholarships available, each university or college offers something slightly different. For example; some may offer a Bursary for £1000, others may offer discounted travel etc. These sites offer details for local universities:



How can I find out more?

To find out more please visit https://www.gov.uk/student-finance or please contact our Careers Co-ordinator, in Student Services, if you have any questions about student finance in relation to higher education and university. Please call our Careers Coordinator on 0191 518 8282 or e-mail the Careers Advice team at enquiries@eastdurham.ac.uk.

Any questions?

Please use the enquiry form below or call Student Services on 0191 518 8222 to discuss your options.

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