Blog post

A guide to loans, fees and funding

If you are considering going to university, then you’re probably already thinking about how you will support yourself financially. If you are feeling intimidated or confused by student loans, you are not alone. Many students feel this way at first, me included. Here’s my guide to student finance, which will hopefully make it all a little clearer.

By Izzy Moxham-Mead - 28 February 2022


There are two main types of loan available: the Tuition Fee Loan and the Maintenance Loan.

Tuition Fee Loan

Your Tuition Fee Loan will cover your university tuition costs – what a surprise, it’s in the name! This loan will automatically be paid to the university, meaning you will never see this money in your bank account. This makes it nice and simple for everyone involved. It is important to note, this loan does not depend on household income.

To be eligible for this loan you must be a UK citizen, living legally in the UK for three continuous years before the start date of your course. However, you may also be entitled to this loan if you have different residency status. Check the government’s website for more information on eligibility.

Maintenance Loan

The Maintenance Loan supports your cost of living while at university. This might include your rent, food, nights out, or other general living costs. The amount of money available to you will vary depending on your household’s income. Some students might be paid a lot more than others, so it is important to research what you would be entitled to. You can use the student finance calculator on This money is paid directly into your bank account in three instalments, typically in September, January and April. Remember, it is your responsibility to budget your loan throughout the year.

Repaying your loan

Looking ahead to when you finish university, it can seem a little daunting to think about repaying your student loans while finding your dream graduate role. The good news is you only start repaying your loan if you earn more than the government’s threshold figure, which is currently £27,295.

You don’t make the first payment until the April after you leave university. The amount you repay depends on your income as you will repay 9% of everything earned above the threshold, so the more you earn the more loan you will repay each month. If you are employed by a company, the loan will be deducted from your monthly salary, just like tax and National Insurance. This means you will never see this income in your bank account and repayment is automatically taken care of. All your student loans will be wiped after 30 years, whether you have started making repayments or not. Knowing this helped me relax about repaying my student loans. I hope it does the same for you.

Extra financial support

There is other financial support available to eligible students, including the Disabled Students’ Allowance and a range of bursaries and scholarships. Unlike loans, you don’t need to pay these back.

Disabled Students’ Allowance

The Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA) supports any additional costs you could encounter if you have a disability. This could include a long-term illness, a mental health problem or a specific learning difference, such as dyslexia. The money can be used for specialist learning support and equipment such as a computer, printer, or a specialised study tutor.

Bursaries and scholarships

Many universities offer bursaries and scholarships to eligible students. Some are based on household income, while others might be linked to academic achievement. You can find out what’s available at Derby on the bursaries and scholarships page.

Sports scholarships

If you’re a talented athlete, you might qualify for a sports scholarship. Derby’s Sports Scholarship programme provides athletes with an amazing package tailored to their needs and delivered by a qualified team, as well as offering academic course support.

Additional resources

Do you still want to learn more about supporting yourself financially as a student? Open Days are a good way to find out more – at Derby, we have a talk from our student finance team, so why not come along and ask your questions? In the meantime, have a look at the government’s student finance website to learn more.

I hope this helps reassure you about the realities of student finance. See, it’s not that overwhelming after all!

Kedleston Road, Derby Campus entrance

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About the author

Isabella Moxham Mead wears cats eye style eye liner and has long curly brown hair.

Izzy Moxham-Mead
Digital Marketing Student

I'm currently a Marketing (Digital) student at the University of Derby. I work as a Marketing Representative and a Social Media Assistant alongside my course. This has helped me gain fantastic, relevant work experience whilst studying at the University.