These days choosing to go to University means paying a hefty sum for your tuition fees. For most UK Students there is financial support available through government loan schemes (some EU students may also have previously been eligible for some tuition fee support).
For international students, you may be eligible for student loans through your home government systems and scholarship agencies.
However you receive support it is important to remember that if for any reason your financial support stops, you will still be personally liable for your tuition and accommodation fees.
Undergraduate Student Loans:
The UK Government provides eligible UK students with a tuition fee loan. This means you do not need to pay any tuition fees upfront to the University and you only start repaying the loan once you are earning over £25,000 per year. The current loan scheme means you will repay 9% of your earnings over £25000 (e.g. if you earn £30000 per year, you will repay 9% of £5000). A tuition fee loan will be paid directly to the University by the Student Loans Company. In addition to a tuition fee loan, most UK students will also be eligible to apply for a maintenance loan. This loan is paid directly to you on a termly basis and is to help with basic living and study costs. For most students, the amount of maintenance loan you will receive will be calculated based on your family/household income.
It is your responsibility to ensure you complete the relevant forms and provide the necessary evidence to Student Finance in order to be assessed correctly. If you are experiencing difficulties with Student Finance then please book an appointment with one of our SU Advice team and we would be happy to discuss this with you.
Please note, if you choose to intermit or repeat a year of your studies this can have an impact on the student loan you will receive. Its important to get advice before making a decision to ensure you understand the possible implications – our advisers are available to discuss these implications with you.
Postgraduate Student Loans:
Most UK students are likely to be eligible to apply for a postgraduate loan. Unlike the Undergraduate loan, the amount you get will not be based on your household income – currently for courses starting after 1st Aug 2020 you can get up to £11222. The loan is paid directly to you so you can choose whether to use it for tuition fees or living expenses. The loan will be paid in termly instalments and if your course is more than 1 year, the total amount you receive will be split over the duration of the course. You will start repaying the loan when your income is above £404 per week, or £1750 per month (before tax and other deductions) and you will pay back 6% of the amount you earn over these thresholds (e.g. if you earn £504 per week you will pay 6% oof £100) . If you also have an Undergraduate loan, this will have its own repayment plan and you will also pay that repayment plan at the same time.
University Financial Support:
The University offers financial support packages that you may be eligible to apply for if you find yourself in an unexpected situation or running low on cash:
- Hardship Fund – open to UK, EU and International students who are experiencing unforeseen financial difficulties. The fund can be used for living costs, residential fees and rent, equipment/digital costs and childcare costs.
- Late Funding Loan – UK Home students (Undergraduate and Postgraduate) who have applied for Student Finance loans, but not yet received any payments
- Disabled Student’s Allowance (DSA) Laptop Contribution Fund – a £200 contribution towards the cost of a laptop for students whose disability means that they need on for study
- Care leaver and Estranged Student Bursary – Students who were in UK local authority care before starting their course at Essex or are genuinely estranged from both parents/carers and postgraduate students who were under the age of 25 at the start of their course
- Refuge Bursary – Undergraduate and Postgraduate students with UK refugee status, or children of UK refugees.
Other Loans, Grants and Bursaries:
- Private Student Loans - In addition to government student loans, there are also private student loan providers such as banks and companies such as Future Finance. It is important that you ensure you understand the terms and conditions of any loan agreement before you sign up and you may wish to seek independent financial advice before doing so.
- Undergraduate and Postgraduate University Scholarships and Grants – the University offers different scholarship, grants and fee discounts that you may be eligible to apply for. These can be specific to nationals from certain countries or based on your academic achievements (outstanding grades etc). In most cases this is put in place before a student begins their studies, through the admissions process
- University of Essex EU Undergraduate Scholarship - offers a deduction of £5,000 annually, for first year students starting in 2021. These scholarships are restricted to EU applicants who are classified as international students for fees purposes. Applicants must be entirely self-funded and must be starting their first year of study on an undergraduate degree course at the University of Essex in 2021-22. Applicants must actively make Essex their firm choice by 19 July 2021. Applicants that become firm with Essex through rejection by their original firm choice selection elsewhere are not eligible. Only one scholarship award can be made per student and the award cannot normally be held in conjunction with other University of Essex awards.
- Vinaver Memorial Trust - The Eugène Vinaver Memorial Trust exists to promote research into Arthurian studies, as defined by the International Arthurian Society. It offers subventions to publishers to facilitate the publication of scholarly works; it also offers grants to postgraduate students pursuing research in the Arthurian field. Awards up to UK £1,250 towards academic fees
- The Conrad and Elizabeth Russell Emergency Hardship Fund - exists to support PhD candidates (in History) who meet with sudden and unexpected hardship. Applicants should meet all the following criteria: Have met with sudden and unexpected hardship. Be members of the IHR community (usually defined as being either a regular attender at IHR seminars or a regular user of the IHR as a reader). Be registered for a PhD in History at a British or North American university. Be resident in London, whether temporarily for the purposes of their research or as their normal place of residence. London is broadly defined as within the Greater London area. Have applied (wherever possible) to their own university or college for assistance before turning to the fund. Dependent on funds available, £1,000 will normally be available for distribution during any one year and an individual student will not normally receive an award of more than £500. Applicants must submit an application form
- Commonwealth Scholarships - available for students from any commonwealth country. To be eligible you must be a Citizen or refugee in a commonwealth country; be able to start your education September 2021; Hold a 2.2 or above by September 2021; be unable to afford your education without this scholarship. The scholarship is only available for your first Postgraduate Masters degree
- Charitable trusts and grants - Information about charities and trusts that offer awards and sponsorship to students and their application procedures can be found in the Educational Grants Directory and The Grants Register. Copies of these are available in the Albert Sloman Library, as well as in most public libraries. You can also try a grants search at Turn2us. Use the keyword "higher education" and then narrow your search by filling in other information about yourself.
Generally speaking, students studying at degree level and above are not entitled to claim benefits or receive Universal Credit (Universal Credit has replaced a number of individual welfare benefits). Tier 4 or Student Visa holders must not access any public funds or benefits as this would be a breach of your immigration conditions.
There are some exceptions and the following students may be eligible for welfare support/Universal Credit:
- Part-time students
- you’re aged 21 or under, in full-time non-advanced education and do not have parental support
- you’re responsible for a child
- you live with your partner and they’re eligible for Universal Credit
- you’ve reached the qualifying age for Pension Credit and live with a partner who is under that age
- you’re disabled and have limited capability for work and are getting:
- Personal Independence Payment
- Disability Living Allowance
- Attendance Allowance
- Armed Forces Independence Payment
You can find out more on the UK Government web pages and can complete an application form for Universal Credit online or by calling the Universal Credit helpline on 0800 328 5644.
Some students may also be entitled to the new Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) if:
- You are a lone parent
- Both you and your partner are full-time students, you have a child together and you’re claiming JSA during the summer vacations
- Taking time out from your studies due to il health or caring responsibilities
Part-time students may be more likely to meet the eligibility criteria for Jobseekers Allowance.
You can apply for Jobseekers allowance online through Jobcentre Plus.