Further Education Funding

When making the decision to go into Further Education the financing of the education for many is a very important factor. You will be expected to fund the education as well as pay for accomodation, food, bills, travel and books.

Further education funding can be sourced in a number of ways and you may in fact be eligible for help with the funding from the government and colleges/universities.

Unfortunately (as with everything the government organises) funding is not straight forward. The course you choose, where you live while studying and your personal circumstances all affect the level of financial help you will receive.

Financial help is available in the forms of:

. Tuition fee LOANS
. Living costs LOANS
. Living costs grants
. Bursaries and scholorships from colleges/universities

Tuition fee Loans

For full-time students registering for a course to start in Septmeber 2007 the maximum fees will be £3,070 a year.

These fees are used to fund the colleges and universities and to pay teachers salaries.

As "Loan" suggests the money borrowed to cover Tuition fees will need to be repayed, these repayments start once you are earning more than £15,000 a year. You will be required to pay 9% of your earnings above £15,000, if your salary falls beneath this threshold your repayments will be stopped. Interest on Tuition fee loans is charged at the rate of inflation so in real terms you are not paying back any more than you borrowed.

Living costs Loans

Living costs will vary depending on the area of the country in which you are studying. These figures below will give a rough idea of the living costs a full-time student could expect in an academic year. These figures were taken from nusonline.

. Rents for a house share vary from £40 to £100 a week
. Bills £10-15 a week
. Food £25-£30 a week
. Socialising £25 a week?

If your college/university has Halls of Residence then these will generally be a cheaper way of accomodating yourself for the first year as bills are included in the rent costs. In addition to the bills you will only need to pay rent for the terms you are resident.

On top of this you have travel costs, clothing, books and I would imagine for most students £25 a week for socialising is probably a little optimistic.

Based on the figures above you will need approximately £6,500 in the most expensive areas of the country not including clothing, books and travel.

For students living away from home in London you may receive a loan of up to £6,170 a year. How much you actually receive will be based on your household income.

The loan repayment method is identical to that of the Tuition fees loan. Your tuiton fee loan and living costs loan will be added together to leave you with just one payment to make.

Living costs grants

If your household income is less than £17,910 you will receive a full grant of £2,700.

If your household income is more than £17,500 and less than £38,300 you will receive a partial grant, this figure will vary depending on your income. Minimum grant will be £50.

This grant is non-repayable and will be paid directly to the student at the start of each term, the grant does not affect the amount you can borrow on your living cost loan.

Bursaries and scholorships

Bursaries are top-ups provided by the colleges/universities. If your tuition fees are over £2,700 a year and you are eligible for the Full maintenance grant (household income under £17,910) then the university/college will GIVE you a minimum of £300. Note that some universities/colleges are offering more than the minimum amount and offer Bursaries to ALL students - Choose your university/college wisely.

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