If you’re applying for student finance for the first time, we can help. The process can be tricky, but we’re here to help make things easier for you. We’ve written this blog post to help condense things into a simple format so you can understand student finance much better.
Finding time to understand and apply for student finance
Applying for university can be a stressful process, as there are many things to juggle. You’re trying to write a killer personal statement that cuts through the thousands of other university applicants, all the while researching the universities you want to attend.
Equally, there’s the UCAS application deadline looming in the background, and the difficult decisions to make about which university music course to choose. To add to the stress, you’ll be trying hard to ensure you attain the grades needed to make all this a reality.
It probably sounds rather overwhelming and all-consuming, and that’s before you consider finding the time to fill out your student finance application. But, enough of listing all the things you need to think about. Student finance shouldn’t be a worry, and we’re here to reassure you exactly why.
When is the best time to apply for student finance?
You should start applying for student finance in the spring before the start of your course in September. Aim to have your student finance application completed by the end of May. You do not need to have a confirmed offer on a course before applying. Check out the link here how to apply for student finance.
How does student finance work?
Student finance is structured into two categories:
- Tuition Fee Loans
- Maintenance Loan
The tuition fee loan is a structured payment that covers the full cost of your course fees for the academic year. This payment is paid at the start of each semester and will be paid directly from Student Finance to your chosen university or college.
The maintenance loan is the payment that is paid directly to your bank account. This payment is paid at the beginning of each academic term, generally in September, January and April. This loan is what should be used to cover accommodation costs and living expenses.
Who can claim student finance?
Before you do anything, it’s important to check if you are eligible for student finance. You’ll need to be a UK resident or have lived in the UK for a minimum of three years or more prior to your start date.
For undergraduate students, if you’re looking at studying one of the following courses within the UK, then you’re likely to be eligible to apply.
- a first degree, for example BA, BSc or BEd
- a Foundation Degree
- a Certificate of Higher Education
- a Diploma of Higher Education (DipHE)
- a Higher National Certificate (HNC)
- a Higher National Diploma (HND)
- an Initial Teacher Training course
- an integrated master’s degree
- a pre-registration postgraduate healthcare course
- a level 4 or 5 course with Higher Technical Qualification approval
Can I apply for student finance if I am a part-time student?
If you’re a part-time student, you can still apply for student finance, although there are certain thresholds that must be met in order to qualify for support. You will need to complete 25% of your course each year when compared to the equivalent of the full-time course. You will need to check the details of your course and find out if the course is eligible. For those of you who want to develop your music skills but don’t have the spare time to study full-time, we have a range of short course options available at Spirit Studios.
If you are an Irish or EU citizen, don’t worry, financial support is still available, but this depends on your circumstances, and you may need to fill in an alternative application form depending on your nationality.
The GOV.UK website has tons of helpful ‘How to’ articles that delve deeper into the nuts and bolts of many different scenarios, so there is always a solution to any question you have around your student finance application.
How do I know how much student finance I am entitled to?
As a student, your personal circumstances may impact how much student finance you’re eligible for. There are a number of variables that will impact how much student finance you can apply for. Your location will determine how your student finance is calculated, as there are different processes for individuals who live outside of England in the following jurisdictions:
- Northern Ireland
- Isle of Man
Depending on your circumstances, you can use the online student finance calculator tool to help determine the maintenance loan you are eligible for. Generally, the figure that is calculated will be determined by the combined income of your current household. Whoever you live with provides accurate proof of their income, so that you can start to plan your future and work out what is affordable and what isn’t.
What if my maintenance loan doesn’t cover my accommodation costs?
In many cases, this is a scenario that lots of students face. Carrying out extensive research on the areas you are looking at studying in is essential, so you can ascertain the amount of money you’ll need to live comfortably without worrying about your financial situation. There are ways you can relieve any potential money stresses, so consider one or some of the following options:
- Part-time work
- Opting for cheap student accommodation
- Getting financial support from family members
- Find bars and restaurants that offer student discounts
It may sound like there is lots to weigh up, and there is – but don’t let this put you off studying; however, the whole process of studying, living and working is part of learning and growing. Taking accountability for your situation where possible will only help you grow as an adult, both in the short-term and the long-term!
Start your studies with Spirit Studios!
Hopefully we’ve covered all there is to know about student finance, and the options available to you, and shown you that the process isn’t as daunting as it may initially seem. Now it’s time to consider your inspirations and think about your choice of studies.
Here at Spirit Studios, we’re looking for the next generation of passionate musical geniuses, who are ready to inspire and explore their creative side. We help many students break into the music industry, offering everything from a range of music production courses such as BA Music Production and MA Music Production courses, to Music Business Courses to Audio Engineering Courses.
If you have any questions about the courses we offer, then please contact us and we will be more than happy to assist with any queries you may have. If you have your heart set on one of our courses already, then why not apply today and start your journey towards musical greatness.
Interested in studying with us?
Click below to start your application, register for an open day or get in touch with any questions