Life Moments – Students & Graduates

An introduction to
student finance and loans

Student finance guide

Looking for student finance but getting confused? 

Our guide covers different options and the application process, as well as a selection of tools and resources to help you manage your student finances.

Ever wonder how much it will cost? Wonder no more.

For the seventh year in a row, we’ve published data to help you understand what it’s really like to be a student at university. We’ve asked 2,806 students across 29 popular university cities how much they spend on essentials like food, rent and bills, and how they juggle their time across studying, part-time work and socialising.

Student loan options

First things first, let's cover what's available. As a student, you may be entitled to two loans – one for tuition fees and another for maintenance costs.

Scottish students attending Scottish universities do not pay tuition fees.

Tuition fee loan

Covering the costs of your course

The tuition fee loan is paid directly to your university. It covers course costs of up to £9,000 per year and isn’t dependent on your household income. If you’re going to a private university or college, the maximum loan available will be £6,000.

Maintenance loan

Covering the costs of living

The student maintenance loan is designed to cover living costs while you’re at university, including things like accommodation, food, transport and socialising. Your household income, where you study and where you live will all affect how much you’re entitled to.

How to apply for a student loan

We've outlined some key things to consider when applying for your student loan. For information on additional student finance options, check out our section on bursaries, grants and scholarships.

  1. 01

    Get yourself organised

    Make sure you apply in good time. Student loan applications can take up to six weeks to process, and if you don't apply early enough, your student loan should may not be paid into your account in time for the start of the course.

  2. 02

    Open a bank account

    Be sure to have your bank account set up before you start the student loan application. Have all relevant details to hand when it comes to applying for a bank account, including ID and proof of student status.

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    Still looking for a student bank account?

    Apply today and get a £500 interest free student overdraft for term one, with the option to increase up to £2,000. You'll also get your hands on a contactless Visa debit card.
  3. 03

    Submit your application

    For full details and to make the application, visit the relevant UK student finance body:

    Student Finance England

    Student Awards Agency Scotland

    Student Finance Wales

    Student Finance NI

    If you haven't applied for student finance before, you'll need to create an account. When it comes to making the application, it's important to have all required information to hand, including household income.

Student loan repayments

Check out our guide to paying back your student loan. We have the answers to some of the most common questions around when you start repaying your loan and how much. 

Student finance calculator

If you have children or any other dependents, or you have disabilities, learning difficulties or ongoing medical conditions, you might be able to get some additional financial help. The Government's student finance calculator can give you an idea of what you could be entitled to.

Student bursaries, grants and scholarships

Thousands of pounds in grants, bursaries and scholarships goes unclaimed every year, partly because new students don’t even know it’s available. Here's what you need to know about these student finance options.

Student bursaries

Bursaries are lump sums paid directly to students who meet certain criteria

They are awarded annually, often on a first come first serve basis

They are given on the condition that the money is used for certain things like food or books

Check out the Save the Student finance guide to find out more on bursaries available to you.

Student grants

Similar to bursaries, and sometimes part of bursary packages

Grants are awarded by government, as well as by a range of charities and trusts

Eligibility is based on a range of criteria

You can find additional information on student grants available on the Government student finance guide.


Scholarships often reward students who excel academically, in music and sport

They are also available based on personal circumstances and course selection

There is also funding based on extra-curricular activities such as community work

Search thousands of scholarships on Scholarship Search.

Discover the mobile app

Don't leave home without it. The mobile app is packed with features to help you stay on top of your student finances.

The ability to check your balance, move money and handle your finances on the go

Touch ID, Face ID and Android Fingerprint login keeping your details and finances under lock and key

Round-the-clock access allowing you to stay on top things wherever or whenever you like

Cutting-edge features like “Get Cash” - which allows card-less ATM withdrawals

Our app is available to Digital Banking customers with a UK or international mobile number in specific countries.

Is there anything we can help you with?