Student Finance for Part-Time Students 2013

In previous years student finance for part time students has been extremely limited, or completely non-existent.

The new tuition fee structure that has been brought in however has changed all that – and now part time students are entitled to the same tuition fee student loans as full time students. Part time students who are participating in a course that’s of at least 25% intensity (and a maximum of 90% intensity) are entitled to the tuition fee loans.

What am I entitled to?

As a part time student you’re entitled to a loan to cover the cost of tuition fees up front. The maximum cost of tuition fees has shot up to over £6,000, and it’s highly probable that you don’t have that kind of money lying around. You’ll be entitled to have your tuition fees covered up front – the loan will be paid directly to the university you’re studying at, and your repayment terms will be the same as the terms that full time students are offered.

You don’t have to go for a student loan – but if you don’t have the money upfront to pay for course fees, it’s a really good way of funding your studies.

Can I get a maintenance loan?

Part time students are not entitled to maintenance loans like their full time counterparts. This means that will need some other way of funding your day to day living costs during your studies, such as savings, borrowing from a family member, or even working a full time job.

On the bright side if you borrow less from the Student Loans Company – you’ll have less to pay back. But it can be very prohibitive for those who want to study but can’t afford to support themselves.

How much will I repay?

You won’t repay a penny until the April after the fourth anniversary of the start date of the course. You won’t even have to make any repayments then if you’re not earning a minimum of £21,000. If you are earning over this figure you’ll have to pay back your loan at a rate of 9% (on any earnings over £21,000). If your income dips below £21,000 or you lose your job, you will immediately cease repayments.

Remember if there is any debt outstanding after 30 years, this debt will be wiped and you will not be liable to pay the rest off.

Part time student banking

Part time students are also entitled to the same student bank accounts as full time students. Most of the time a bank will ask for a UCAS letter of acceptance, so as long as you have one of those you’ll be good to open a student account. Obviously the main perk associated with having a student bank account is the fact that there’s a 0% overdraft facility.

It’s clear that offering student finance for part time students will hopefully get more people into education. If you’re considering studying part time at university then you should be heartened by the fact that you no longer have to cough up for tuition fees up front. Just remember that it’s not free money though and you will have to repay the loan at some point, if you do start to earn over the £21,000 threshold.

The playing field between part time and full time students has certainly been leveled by the introduction of student tuition fee loans for part time students, only time will tell whether or not this advance entices more people to study part time.