Government loans are a very common way of funding your studies for UK and EU students.

Repayment rules mean you only start paying the loan back when your earnings are above a certain threshold. When you get a job after graduating, payments are automatically taken from your salary, in a similar way to tax. How much is deducted depends on the amount you earn, and after 30 years, any outstanding balance will be cleared if you haven’t managed to pay the loan in full.

BMus UK and EU students can get tuition fee loans to cover tuition costs. Fee loans are funded by the UK government and are administered through the Student Loans Company.

UK students can also apply for maintenance awards to assist with living costs. The UK Government's Student Finance pages have details of the application process.

Your eligibility may be affected if you have already studied on a Bachelor’s degree (in any discipline).

EU students: The UK government has confirmed that tuition fee loans will be available for eligible EU students who join their Bachelor’s degree programme in September 2020, for the duration of the course. Also see the UKCISA Brexit update page.

How to apply

You need to make a new application for every year of your course. Apply early – we recommend no later than the Easter holiday before the start of the next academic year.

UK/EU students must apply to the following regional funding agencies, depending on where you are from:

Advice for EU undergraduate loan applications

EU students cannot apply online for a tuition fee loan, so please download print and complete the application on paper, then return it as instructed on the form.

Please remember to complete and send the Certifier Checklist. The Checklist must be signed, dated and stamped by the person verifying the copy of your passport or national identity card. The photocopy must also be signed, dated and stamped by that person.

EU students do not need a National Insurance (NI) number for the tuition fee loan application: you can leave this blank if you don’t have one.

However, if you already have an NI number, you should include it in the application form. Or if you get a job in the UK and are allocated an NI number, contact the Student Finance Company's European Team call centre on +44 (0)141 243 3570 to tell them the details.

The UK Government provides direct financial support to help UK and EU students fund postgraduate study. Details are available on www.gov.uk/funding-for-postgraduate-study.

You apply online for these loans, and the government has provided the following information about the Student Finance England loan:

  • Loans will be available for eligible EU students who join their degree programme in September 2020, for the duration of the degree course.
  • Master’s degree students: if your Academy programme starts on or after 1 August 2020, you will be able to borrow up to a maximum of £11,222 for your whole course in total, as a contribution to tuition fees and/or living costs. Only Master’s degree programmes will be eligible for this funding. Other postgraduate programmes (certificate or diploma programmes) are not eligible. For a two-year Master’s course, you’ll receive half the loan amount each year.
  • Doctoral students (normally resident in England) can borrow up to £26,445 for the whole programme, divided into equal amounts for each year.
  • Payments will be made direct to students in termly instalments by the Student Loans Company (SLC).

You can find full details, including eligibility criteria, on www.gov.uk/masters-loan and www.gov.uk/doctoral-loan.

An Erasmus+ Master Loan is available for eligible students from programme countries towards the costs of studying on a Master’s degree at the Academy, which holds an Erasmus Charter for Higher Education.

For more details please see the Erasmus+ webpage.

We have a guide for students who take USA Student Loans.

The information about Federal and Private loans is summarised below, but please consult the guide for full details. It‘s updated regularly, so do check back for any revisions. We are pleased to provide a paper copy of the guide on request.

Also, the US Department of Education has a web page about studying outside the USA.

US Federal Direct Loans

The Academy is a designated institution for American students enrolled on a degree programme (Bachelor, Master’s or Research) to apply for a Federal Direct Loan or for deferment of payment on an existing Federal loan account. All enquiries about US loans should be directed to the Academy’s Admissions Manager (e.kemp-luck@ram.ac.uk).

How much will I get?

The maximum total amount you’re allowed to borrow annually is based on the COA (Cost of Attendance) for each academic year. The COA is basically your full tuition fee and average living costs for the academic year, plus any other allowable costs as defined in Federal loan regulations.

Your total overall loan figure is calculated by taking the COA and subtracting any scholarships or other loans (for example, private loans) that you are receiving, to give your maximum loan amount. There are some example calculations in our US Loan Guidebook.

Tuition fee deposit and loan disbursements

Please note that Federal loan funds are not disbursed until after you have enrolled on your study programme. This means you will need to bring enough money with you for around six week’s living costs at the start of the academic year.

Loan payments are split into three equal instalments, paid around the start of each term (trimester) after initial enrolment; this division of payment is a legal requirement, and also minimises the interest that begins accruing on the loan from the disbursement dates.

We do not require a deposit payment from students who have a loan in place for paying the tuition fee.

How to apply

To begin the loan process, you must first complete the FAFSA application form online through the FAFSA website.

The Academy’s School Code Number is G11764 and the DOE code is 006696.

Your actual loan application through studentaid.gov should be made after 1 May and preferably by the end of the July preceding the start of your study period, to ensure that the Academy has time to check and authorise the loan during the summer before you arrive. A new loan application and relevant MPNs (Master Promissory Notes) will be needed for each year’s study.

Confirmation of loan funds for visa application

To support an application for a Tier 4 UK Student Visa, you will need an original letter that confirms the certified loan amounts. Further information about this is in our guidebook. You will also need a Visa Sponsor number (CAS number) from the Academy - this is issued on request after you have formally accepted your study place, paid the initial 25% tuition fee deposit, and met the conditions of entry stated in your offer letter.

See also our information for International Students and immigration advice.

Policy documents

The Academy’s policies are published here for Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) and Return of Title IV Funds (R2T4).

There is also a consumer information document.

USA Private Loans

You can take a private loan as a partial or full replacement of the loan options offered through the US Government.

Where to apply

The Academy is registered with SallieMae and can authorise Smart Loans. Application is either directly through SallieMae or through Global Education Management Services. Please make your loan application after 1 May to ensure that any credit checks remain valid until loan certifications are processed during the summer.

Tuition fee deposit and loan disbursements

As with Federal loans, private loan funds are not disbursed until after you have enrolled on your study programme. This means you will need to bring enough money with you for around six week’s living costs at the start of the academic year.

If you are not using the loan funds to support a visa application, the loan will normally be disbursed in two equal instalments, one around the start of the academic year after you have enrolled, and the other during the spring term, and if you prefer three termly instalments can be arranged if you request this from the Admissions Manager after you've submitted your loan application for certification.

We do not require a deposit payment from students who have a loan in place for paying the tuition fee.

Confirmation of loan funds for visa application

If you are using a private loan as proof of your finances for a Tier 4 UK Student Visa (see Federal loans information above), you will need an original letter from the loan provider, not from the Academy, and the loan has to be distributed in one single payment so interest on the entire amount will be calculated from the payment date.

How much can I borrow?

All UK/EU undergraduate students, irrespective of household income, can borrow the full cost of their tuition fees for their first Bachelor degree course if they so wish.

Additionally, students can take out loans for living costs. The size of these loans will vary according to household income and may include a non-repayable grant towards living costs.

How will I pay the loan back?

If you take a loan, the repayments for graduates in the UK will be 9% on any earnings above the threshold. The threshold is currently £2,214 per month (before tax).

You will pay back the same amount each month after graduating, whatever the total loan amount, but repayment will take longer the more you borrow. Interest will be charged on the amount you borrow.

Repayments stop after either (i) you have repaid the amount in full, or (ii) 30 years from when you start repaying, whichever comes soonest.

Do I have to borrow the full cost of the fees?

No, you only need to borrow what you require, and only if you want to.

How much interest will I have to pay on top of my loans?

For the most up-to-date interest rates, please see the government information about repaying your student loan.

If I borrow money for fees and/or living expenses, can I pay the money back more quickly later on if my circumstances change?

You can make voluntary repayments at any time.

So, is this really a form of taxation rather than a loan?

It resembles a tax because you will make repayments through the income tax system based on earnings. However, the main benefit is that if your earnings remain low throughout the repayment period, you will probably pay back very little, or – in a minority of cases – nothing at all.

Are you saying that after 30 years, if the debt hasn’t been fully paid back, then I will make no more payments?

Yes – and it’s likely that many students will find themselves in that happy position.

How does all this affect me if I am from the EU?

You will be entitled to a tuition fee loan, but no support for living expenses. If you do not expect to pay UK tax after graduating, you will have to fill in an income assessment form, details of which are available on the government website.

Where can I find more information about student finance?

The government website has a comprehensive student finance section, where you will find details of everything you need to know.

Are there other useful websites I could look at to help me understand this?

There are several. We recommend Money Saving Expert, as it gives very concise information on a range of financial issues. Additionally, the economist Martin Lewis (of Money Saving Expert) can be seen on YouTube talking about student borrowing.