Student Maintenance Loans guide 2020

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The maintenance loan will probably be your main source of cash during your stay at uni. But how does it work? And how much money will you get? Let us explain.

According to our national student money survey, the maintenance loan is the primary source of money for students during their time at university.

So, as you will almost certainly get one, it makes sense that you find out about the eligibility criteria, the application process and the size of a maintenance loan you will get, as well as how to repay it. and what to do if your loan is not enough.

In the Save the Student brand, we have what you need – read on and we’ll answer all your questions (and more) to make sure you get the most out of your maintenance loan.

What does this guide contain?

  • What is a maintenance loan?
  • Are you eligible for a maintenance loan?
  • What maintenance loan will you get?
  • How to Apply for a Maintenance Loan
  • What to do if your maintenance loan is not enough
  • Pay off your maintenance loan
If you’re looking for information and advice on more than the maintenance loan, check out our comprehensive guide to student finance.

What is a maintenance loan?

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Maintenance loans are a type of student loan provided by the government, and they are intended to cover your living expenses while you are in college. Rent, bills, food, nightlife – all these things and more are what the maintenance loan is there to help you pay for.

Although you apply for the maintenance loan through the same process as you would for a tuition loan and end up repaying the two as a joint sum, the maintenance loan and the student loan Tuition are technically two distinct types of funding.

Although we are dead against the fact that students have to take on debt to go to university, the current conditions for repaying student loans are actually quite manageable. As such, in most cases we would say it is better take out both a tuition loan and a maintenance loan, rather than either (or none).

How and when are maintenance loans paid?

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Credit: Paramount Pictures

Maintenance loans are paid in three (almost) equal installments throughout the year – one at the start of each semester.

Students often ask why the third payment is as important as the others when you are likely to be at home over the summer, but the answer is simple: you are still a student and some of you still have rent to pay in July and August.

And it is thanks to this same logic that things change slightly in your last year. Your final maintenance loan payment is lower than it would have been in previous years, because after June / July, you are no longer a student and therefore are not entitled to a student loan.

As to how the maintenance loan is paid? Well, unlike the tuition loan, which is paid to your university without you ever seeing the money, your maintenance loan will be sent directly to your student bank account.

That means it’s up to you to budget your loan responsibly and make sure you don’t spend it all during the cool week!

Are you eligible for a maintenance loan?


Whether or not you qualify for a maintenance loan depends on a few factors. We will review each of the criteria in a moment, but don’t panic – most undergraduates who start university are generally eligible to receive funding.

Here are the factors that determine whether or not you qualify for a maintenance loan:

  1. Your university / college and course

    First, your university or college (or other type of institution) must be “recognized” or “listed”. It’s much more complicated than it sounds, because in reality most universities and colleges are covered.

    In addition, the course you are registering for must be included in the (fairly long) list of qualification courses provided by the government. Again, most undergraduate courses are recognized and eligible for funding, but there are different criteria if you study part-time.

    Students from most of the most united courses will be eligible for a maintenance loan, but just to be sure, go to this page of the government website for the full list of criteria.

  2. Whether or not you have studied before

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    In principle, the only way to get a maintenance loan is if it is the first higher education course you are enrolled in. But, in practice, things are a little more complicated.

    If you have already started a course but have had to drop out, you may be eligible to receive funding again – especially if your reasons were personal, such as illness or pregnancy. Similarly, if you stay a year in the same establishment, you may also be eligible for a maintenance loan.

    Indeed, as a general rule, all students are eligible for funding for the number of years of the course for which they are applying. plus an additional year. So if you have already studied and are applying for a maintenance loan for a separate course, you will need to subtract the number of years you have already studied from this figure to find out how long you will be eligible for.

    For example, if you apply to take a three-year course, you are theoretically eligible for four years of funding. But if you’ve already studied for two years in another course, you subtract that and find that you’re only eligible for two years of funding.

    In addition, if you give up for “personal reasons” above, you may be eligible for funding for: all your course.

    And finally, even if you have already graduated, you could again be eligible for funding. Admittedly, this only applies to a minority of students (such as those who “complete” a qualification to a full degree), but there is nothing wrong with checking.

  3. Your age

    This shouldn’t be a problem for most of you. The only age restrictions on maintenance loans come into play when you’re 60 or older, but even then you can get some funding if you study full time.

  4. Your nationality and residence status

    great britain flags

    Nationality and resident status are undoubtedly the most murky of all eligibility criteria, and the one that tends to attract students the most.

    In general, you should be eligible to receive a maintenance loan if you are a British national (or have an “ established status ”), normally live in the United Kingdom (or in the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man) and you have done so for the three years preceding the start of your course.

    But it should be noted that these three things should apply to you to guarantee your eligibility. There are countless stories of students who were born and raised in the UK but moved to the United States at the age of 11 and assumed they would be eligible for a maintenance loan as than a British citizen. No dice.

    In some cases, however, you can still successfully appeal and receive a maintenance loan – to do this you will often have to prove that you have maintained economic ties to the UK in your absence (for example, a parent stayed and paid taxes). ), or that one / both of your parents had move abroad to work.

    EU nationals also tend to be eligible for maintenance loans, and special exceptions are made for specific groups, including refugees and stateless persons.

As we said earlier, it’s best not to let these eligibility criteria confuse you too much.

We maintain our statement that the majority of students at the majority of universities will be eligible to receive a maintenance loan – especially if you have studied at a school in the UK and will attend a relatively well known university.

But, as always, if you are unsure, it is best to contact your funding agency and ask them to clarify things for you.

What maintenance loan will you get?

university and money bags

The amount of the maintenance loan to which you are entitled will depend on the following three factors:

  1. Where you come from in the UK – Each country in the UK has its own funding body for students. You will contact the organization of the country in which you normally live (or, if you are an EU student, where you will study).
  2. Whether you live at home or not – In most of the UK (with the exception of Scotland), there is more funding available to students who will live away from home (rather than home) while at university. There is usually even more funding if you study away from home and in London.
  3. Your household income – Students from higher income households receive less generous funding from student funding agencies, while those from poorer backgrounds receive the most generous support. Depending on where you come from in the UK, this could determine the amount of a maintenance loan you get and / or the amount of a maintenance grant to which you are entitled (if any).

It’s easier to break it down by country, so scroll down to where you currently live to see the size of a maintenance loan you could receive (we’ve ordered every part of the UK by alphabetically because we are useful like that).

And don’t forget: your maintenance loan is provided by the part of the UK where you normally live, not where you are going to study. So, for example, if you lived in Northern Ireland but were planning to study in Scotland, you would apply for funding from Student Finance Northern Ireland.

You are not studying full time? You will want to consult our guide to part-time student loans.

What is the average maintenance loan?

Using data from our national student money survey and information provided by the student loan company, we have calculated that the average maintenance loan is around £ 6,480 per year.

However, as we explained above, the amount you will receive is not really affected by what the “average” student gets. Instead, the size of your maintenance loan will be determined by the income of your household, where you will live while studying and, of course, where you normally live in the UK.

Maintenance loans in England 2019/20

Household income Living at home Far from home (outside London) Far from home (London)
  £ 7,529 £ 8,944 £ 11,672
£ 30,000 £ 6,859 £ 8,303 £ 11,020
£ 35,000 £ 6,260 £ 7,661 £ 10,367
£ 40,000 £ 5.626 £ 7,019 £ 9,714
£ 45,000 £ 4,991 £ 6,377 £ 9.062
£ 50,000 £ 4,357 £ 5,735 £ 8,409
£ 55,000 £ 3,722 £ 5,093 £ 7,756
£ 60,000 £ 3,414 £ 4,452 £ 7.103
£ 62,212 + £ 3,414 £ 4,168 £ 5,812

Keep in mind that the household income we have listed in the table above are just examples – the maintenance loan you receive will be calculated using your exact household income rather than a group (for example, £ 42,345 instead of £ 40,000 to £ 45,000).

What are the minimum and maximum maintenance loans in England?

The minimum maintenance loan available to students in England is £ 3,414, which is paid to students whose household income is £ 62,212 or more and who will be living at home during their stay at university.

The maximum maintenance loan is £ 11,672 and is paid to students who will live away from home and in London, and whose annual household income is less than £ 25,000.

And for more information on student loans in England, check out this guide.

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