From 2009, students studying full-time undergraduate courses will have to pay tuition fees up to a maximum of £3,225 a year. Students from families earning less than £25,000 a year are eligible for grant aid of up to a maximum of £2,906.
The term top-up recognises that the actual cost of providing your course will, in most cases, be much higher than the fee you pay. Typically, a figure around 4 times the fee is thought to be representative. The Government pays for the bulk of this and the fee you pay is known as the ‘top-up’.
Tuition fees are paid by way of a student loan which is repayable in instalments which start once you are earning over £15,000 per annum. Your repayments will be set at 9% of earnings over this figure. So if you earn £20,000 you will be expected to pay around £450 per year.
Not all Universities will charge the same. The fees will depend upon the type of course and where it is. In theory, a University course need not necessarily cost anything, although in practice this is unlikely?
The current scheme does not include students studying part-time. Around 40% of students in higher education are studying part-time. Around 36% of part-time students are funded by their employers while the remaining 64% are either self-funded or receive help because they are claiming state benefits.
There is limited assistance available for part time students in the form of fee grants or course grants.