A maintenance loan is a type of loan provided to students by the government to help out with their living costs, such as food, bills and housing. As a student, the loan will most likely be your primary source of cash while at university. But how much maintenance loan can you get? Let’s find out.
How does the maintenance loan work?
Student loans are typically split into two categories: a tuition fee loan and a maintenance loan. The tuition fee loan, as the name implies, assists with tuition fees. The maintenance loan assists with living expenses, such as rent, food and utility bills.
You can apply for both the tuition fee loan and the maintenance loan through the gov.uk website up to nine months after the start of the academic year.
You have to apply for the funding every year of their course. When applying, you’ll need to prove your identity and household income.
The maintenance loan is usually paid into your bank account at the start of each term, in September when you start your course, and then in January and April. The largest payment usually comes in April as the money is supposed to cover you during the entirety of the summer holidays.
You’ll start paying back your loan as well as interest from the April after you finish your studies, but only if you are earning above a certain income threshold.
How much can I get?
The amount of maintenance loan you will get largely depends on two main factors:
- Your household income
- Where you live
For the 2021-22 academic year, the maximum amount of maintenance loan you can get is £12,382 if you live away from home, in London.
If you live away from home, outside London, the maximum amount you can apply for is £9,488.
If you live at home, the maximum maintenance loan you can get is £7,987.
The maintenance loan is partly means-tested. That means that whether you get the full amount available will depend on your family income. As a result, if your family has a higher income, you might not get the maximum amount available.
The only exception is if you are applying as an independent student. In that case, your parents’ income will not be taken into account when working out how much student finance you can get.
The government has an online student loan calculator that you can use to find how much maintenance loan you could get.
What if my maintenance loan is not enough?
If you find that the maintenance loan you are entitled to is not enough to cover your living costs, there are several ways to make up the difference.
For example, you could apply for a grant, bursary or scholarship. These are offered by a diverse range of providers, including:
- Universities and colleges
To qualify for them, you will most likely need to meet certain criteria. The good news is that if you meet the criteria, these sources of funding do not need to be repaid.
Another great option is to look for a part-time job. Not only will you get a chance to earn the extra money you need, but also, depending on the job, you could learn crucial skills relevant to your future career. Naturally, it’s important to ensure that your part-time job does not negatively impact your studies.
For some inspiration, check out our article on the best jobs for university students.
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