Once you know the facts behind the changes to student fees you will be able to see what the changes really mean for you personally. There is plenty of good news, such as you won't have to pay anything back until you are employed and earning £21,000 a year and the recent changes offer a more generous package to students from the lowest income families.
Here are a few facts about the costs to get you started but don't stop here, follow the links on the 'Find out more' page to make sure you know exactly what is available to you and what you are entitled to.
From 2012, universities and colleges will be able to charge tuition fees of up to £9,000 a year. The costs will vary between institutions who will also be able to charge different amounts for different courses.
Money Saving Expert have produced a fantastic calculator for you to determine how much your university course will cost, both now and in the future. It allows you to enter your personalised figures to provide a realistic estimation of cost. Access this by clicking here .
As has been previously the case there are two types of loan; tuition fee and maintenance. Regardless of your household income, the government will lend eligible students the money to pay tuition fees - which don't have to be paid back until you are earning at least £21,000 and, even then, they will only ask for 9% above £21,000 of what you are earning.
You pay your Tuition Fee Loan or Maintenance Loan back from the April after you leave your course and earn:
From 2012/13, if you’re on a part-time course, repayments start in the April after three years of study if you earn over £21,000. This applies even if you are still studying.
You can apply for a means-tested annual maintenance loan and the amount you are entitled to will depend on your household income. How much you receive you receive also depends on if you live at home whilst studying or, if you live in London, you are entitled to a little more due to higher living costs.
For the first time, part-time students studying at least 25% of their time, will be entitled to a loan and will no longer have to pay their fees upfront. These fees are the same as a full time course on a pro-rata basis.
Government grants will be available for students from low income households. These are means-tested grants which means that the amount you get depends on your household income. Grants do not need to be repaid.
Non-repayable financial help is available in the form of bursaries which are allocated according to the university and course you choose and your household income. Under the new rules, those universities that choose to charge over £6,000 will also have to show that they are supporting applicants from lower income households. If you are thinking of applying, ring the institutions to find out what support is available and how to apply.
Universities sometimes offer scholarships to high achieving students. You’ll get a direct payment from your college or university - how and when this is paid is decided by the institution. If you are looking to apply for scholarships find out what is on offer from the institutions themselves by calling them – they will often have set up their own schemes with their own individual criteria for application.