The main expenses of going to university are:
- Tuition fees
- Accommodation costs
- Living expenses
Chemistry degree courses are not more expensive to study than any other subject. Although they cost more for universities to run, this cost is not passed on to the students.
Tuition fees are the amount universities or colleges charge you each year to study. From September 2012 UK universities and colleges can charge:
- new full-time students up to £9,000 a year
- new part-time students up to £6,750 a year
There are no restrictions on the amount private colleges or universities can charge. The cost of tuition varies wildly between the countries of the UK; please use the links below for more local information.
Students are not expected to pay tuition fees before they study, although the fees can be payed in one lump if desired. A loan can be taken out to cover the fees, which will be paid directly to the university on behalf of the student. These loans are referred to as 'fee loans':
- They have a very low interest rate which is linked to the rate of inflation.
- Loan repayments are made after graduation, and not until earnings exceed £21,000 per annum.
- The size of monthly repayment will be linked to the rate of income.
- Payments are usually be made automatically through the Pay as You Earn (PAYE) system and are collected by HM Revenue and Customs.
Universities charge in the region of £97 - £172 per week for accommodation in their halls of residence, with an average contract length of 41 weeks. These costs depend on whether the halls are full board or self-catering and usually include all bills. According to the National Union of Students (NUS) the average weekly rent for university-owned and managed accommodation was ~£118 outside London and ~£157 in London for 2012/13.
Privately Rented Accommodation
The average weekly cost of private rented student accommodation in the UK is around £140 (exclusive of bills), with an average contract length of 44 weeks.
These include money for things like food, clothes, insurance, books, travel and social activities. The National Union of Students (NUS) estimates that the average student spent around £7,222 on general living expenses during the 2012/13 academic year.
The fee and bursary system ensures that all students with the appropriate qualifications will have the opportunity to get a degree. The cost of university depends on where you live and which university you go to, however there is a wide range of financial help available, including:
- Maintenance loan
- Tuition fee loan
- Scholarships and awards
The amount of financial support available to those who wish to study at a university in the UK will depend on:
- your income
- your household income
- where you choose to study
- where you are from
Most universities use some of the extra income generated from the tuition fees to provide some form of additional financial support for students from low-income households, including bursaries, scholarship schemes and grants (e.g. travel passes, laptops).
Students whose families' income is £25,000 or less are likely to be eligible for the National Scholarship Programme, which is administered by the individual universities (the form and amount of assistance will vary).
Some universities are also offering subject specific bursaries with awards up to £3,000. Further information will be available from university admissions tutors.
Student Loans are available from the Student Loan Company to assist with living costs. They have a very low interest rate (linked to the rate of inflation) and are paid back after graduation when earnings exceed £21,000 per annum. Repayments are usually taken directly from wages through the PAYE system.
Financial support available for students from England
Financial support available for students from Northern Ireland
Financial support available for students from Scotland
Financial support available for students from Wales
Financial support available for students who are Non-UK EU Nationals
Guide to Financial Support for Students 2012/13
Download the full resource
NUS and Unipol Accommodation Costs Survey 2012/13
Download the full resource
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Student Loans Company
Key information about student loans and the Student Loan Company UK
Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS)
UCAS is the central organisation that processes applications for full-time undergraduate courses at UK universities and colleges. Information on the bursaries offered by individual institutions can be found on the UCAS website
An online tool so that students can build a budget for university, calculating their outgoings, income, and eligibility for loans and grants.
Money Saving Expert - Student Finance Calculator
A tool to calculate the likely total cost of your tuition and maintenance loans over their lifetime.
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