How to Pay for University

September 6, 2013 | Posted in: Budgeting, Finance, Payday Loans UK

Studies say the average university student will find themselves £53,000 in debt by the time they graduate.  That is a large hole to have to climb out of. One way to avoid that is by working for ASDA.

tuition graduate university debt

Discount supermarket ASDA is getting into discount education by launching a three-year degree course in distribution or retail for its staff. 30 employees will learn about merchandising, and managing and developing people. ASDA recognized that the high cost of education means many of their own staff have missed out, and see this as a way to open doors for their own people.

But what if you don’t work at ASDA? Are you really going to be stuck with so much debt? What are you spending £53,000 on while attending university? That sounds like a lot of pub nights. did a little research to give you an idea of what to expect when it’s time to hit the books.

Costs can vary greatly depending on where you go, but they can be broken down into two main categories: Tuition Fees and Living Costs.

Tuition Fees

As of September 2013, a full time student can be charged a maximum of

  • £9,000 (England, Scotland, Wales)
  • £3,575 (Northern Ireland)

Your costs will vary based on what you study and where, but this gives you a general idea. You should also know that of the top 50 schools in the UK, only eight of them are offering fees below the maximum. So to be safe, pencil the maximum into your school budget, and if you’re lucky enough to be at a school that isn’t charging the maximum, you’ll have a couple of quid left over to grab a pint with your new schoolmates.

Living Costs

Unless you’re lucky enough, or possibly unlucky enough, to live at home with parents who cover all of your living expenses, you will incur a number of costs while attending university, including

  • Accommodation
  • Food
  • Travel
  • Clothing
  • Books, computer, mobile phone, etc. etc. etc.!

Your living costs will vary even more than your tuition costs, depending on the lifestyle you chose to live. Want to eat takeaway, have the latest mobile, computer, tablet, and be a regular at the campus pub? Well, that is going to cost you.

How to Pay for University

There are a variety of ways you can get help to pay for university from the government. We’ll look at the two main costs we identified separately.


You can get a tuition fee loan from the government to cover all or part of your tuition. This money is paid directly to the university or college, not to you. You will have to pay this back after you graduate and are earning more than £21,000. You will of course pay interest on the amount borrowed.

Living Costs

You can get a Maintenance Loan, Maintenance Grant and Special Support Grant, and Bursaries to help you deal with living expenses. The main things to know about these are:

  • Maintenance Loan:
    • Helps you with living expenses
    • You pay it back after you graduate
    • Charges interest
    •  Maintenance Grant and Special Support Grant
      • Helps you with living expenses
      • You do not pay them back
      • You can get one of these, not both
      • Bursaries
      • Extra help for students from low income families

Get A Job

Another way to pay for university is a part time job. You might think with your classes and social life you don’t have time, but you can probably fit one or two shifts a week into your schedule. While working, you’ll be both making and not spending any money, so it’s a win-win.


The Daily Mail has a great online calculator that will help you calculate how much it will cost to attend university. Find it here.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on university education in the comments. Answer one of these questions, or just let us know what you’re thinking.

  • Should people get more help from the government to go to university?
  • Should parents help pay for university? How much should students pay?

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