Today, Jenni, who co-wrote the R>E>S>E>T parenting model unravels the intricacies of student finance from the experiences she has had this year:-
As a 17 year old A level student hoping to head off to university in September the finance side of student life seems to be all up in the air from next year with the university fees changing so dramatically here in the UK. In the last few months we’ve been unravelling this complicated web and working through the process in an attempt to get me there as unstressed as possible and this is what I’ve learnt on the way!
The whole process started back last September when I applied through UCAS to my top 5 universities. With the closing date in January and wanting to a course that’s fairly competitive I was keen to get in an early entry! I was fortunate to secure all 5 offers pretty quickly but next came the daunting task of sitting down after Christmas to apply for student finance!
There’s been a lot in the press about this in the last few months and my year group will sadly be the first to experience the new system where universities and colleges will be allowed to charge tuition fees up to £9000 a year! Nevertheless, there will be a tuition fee loan to cover tuition fees in full which students will be able to apply for.
Additionally, students can also apply for a maintenance loan to cover living expense such as rent and, for those students whose household income is less than £42,600, there is also a maintenance grant available. On top of this, colleges and universities often offer scholarships and bursaries as well as extra money for those with disabilities or dependent children.
The loans have to be paid back but the scholarships, bursaries and grants do not! For full time students, the loans (plus interest), however, will not have to be paid back until we have left our courses and started earning an income of over £21,000 a year. The rules are different for part-time students but you can check everything out on the government website at http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/EducationAndLearning/UniversityAndHigherEducation/StudentFinance/Typesoffinance/index.htm
It seems such an expensive process but I’m still looking forward to my course and the experience of university, so intend to bite the bullet and get on with it. First though I had to complete the application process for the finance which I did back in January but you can still apply. It was a fairly easy form to fill in. The first bit was down to me to fill in and then Mum had to fill in the rest. Everything was done on-line (the link is the same as the one above) and any supporting paperwork was simply sent through the post.
All I need to do now is select my two preferences for UCAS – the deadlines differ depending on individual circumstances so check with UCAS when yours are! Then of course, it’s all down to the final A2’s!
Good luck everyone, or we always say “Shine Bright”!