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Applying for student finance

The information on this page is for UK students planning to apply to university in England.

Tuition fees and tuition fee loans

UK universities charge for course tuition (known as the ‘tuition fee’). Students based in the UK and students from the European Union currently pay the same tuition fee; international students pay a different scale of tuition fees. All Kent’s tuition fees are published on our course pages

Tuition fee loans

You are not expected to pay your child's tuition fees upfront , unless you want to. It is expected that the majority of students will apply for the tuition fee loan online. The loan is paid directly to the university, not to your child.

Maintenance loans

They can also apply for a maintenance loan to help with their living costs (food, accommodation, books etc). Maintenance loans are available to UK full and part-time students and eligible EU students.

Maximum loan amounts 2020/21

  • If they live at home: up to £7,747
  • If they live away from home: up to £9,203
  • If they live away from home and study in London: up to £12,010

Maintenance loans are awarded based on your household income (means-testing). Only those with a low household income are likely to be eligible for full financial support.  

Maintenance loans are paid into their bank account in three instalments – one each term.

How to apply for the tuition fee loan and maintenance loan

They will apply for their tuition fee loan and maintenance loan via the GOV.UK website

They should apply early to make sure funds are in place for when they start their course. There is a deadline for applications, usually the third week in May.

Supporting their finance application

Watch this video from Student Finance England: What you need to do to support your child's student finance application

When will they receive their loan payment?

  • Tuition fees will be paid directly to the university
  • Maintenance loans will be paid into their bank account once they have registered on their course. They will receive one payment each term.
Student Finance explained - watch the video

Parental contributions

Many students will not be awarded the full maintenance loan amount and there is an expectation that you will contribute financially while your child is at university, however you are not obliged to do this. 

It is worth sitting down with them to discuss what contribution they can make (eg working during the summer before they start university, getting a part-time job while they are at university) and what level of support, if any, you are able to offer.

Part-time work

The majority of students will have a part-time job during their studies. Universities generally recommend they work for no more than 15 hours per week so their academic work is not affected. 

Kent Union runs Jobshop, which helps Kent students find a range of temporary paid roles. Students are also able to work for the University as Student Ambassadors. 

Repaying loans

They will have to repay their tuition fee loan and their maintenance loan. These are added together and paid off as one and the earliest they will start making repayments is the April after the graduate. Repayments are based on their income, not how much they borrowed.

They won’t have to repay anything until they are earning over a certain amount, which is currently £26,575 a year. If they earn less than that, they won’t have to repay anything. If they are earning more than that, the Student Loans Company will calculate their repayments at 9% of their income over that amount.


They will be charged interest on their loan from the day their first payment is made to them or their university, until it’s been repaid in full or cancelled. It’s important to remember that the amount of interest they are charged doesn’t change the amount they repay each month. More information on Interest

Repayment example:

  • They earn £29,000 a year
  • This is £2,425 over the repayment threshold of £26,575
  • They will repay 9% of £2,425, which is £218.25 a year, or £18.18 per month.
See more on repayment

Setting a budget

Helping them create and plan a budget is one of the most useful things you can do. There are many budgeting tools and apps available, but generally they should be considering: 

Money coming in

  • Maintenance loan
  • Other financial support (scholarships, grants and bursaries)
  • Savings
  • Income from work
  • Parental contributions 

Money going out

Rent or accommodation costs

  • If they are living in university accommodation, this will be the largest chunk of their budget, Some accommodation contracts include utility bills (water, gas and electricity) Wi-Fi and contents insurance.
  • University of Kent accommodation contracts include gas, water, water, electricity, wired and Wi-Fi internet access and £6,000 of room insurance cover for personal possessions.

Mobile phone, internet and TV costs

  • Find the best mobile package - consider SIM only contracts
  • Check if your son or daughter will need a TV licence
Student Budget Planner

EU students

The UK government announced on 23 June 2020 that as from 2021/22, EU, other EEA and Swiss nationals will no longer be eligible for home fee status, undergraduate, postgraduate and advanced learner financial support from Student Finance England for courses starting in academic year 2021/22.

Read the full statement

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