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Student and graduates

An introduction to student finance and loans

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. And depending on where you live, there are a range of student finance bodies that could offer the relevant funding.

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 the UCAS page 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.

    Student finance calculator

    Use the Governent's student finance calculator to estimate how much student loan you could get or any extra student funding, for example if you’re disabled or have children.
  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.

  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 Northern Ireland

    Student Finance Wales

    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.

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 debit card.

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.

How to budget at university

As a student, learning how to balance your finances is an important skill to master. Your student loan is paid to you in chunks at the start of each term, so you need to make sure that you spend wisely so each payment lasts you the full term.

Setting a student budget

Planning your budget isn’t always easy, but it’s an important part of student life.  It could help you avoid getting into debt, put you in a better position for unexpected costs and maybe help you save something for the future. 

5 mobile app features to help manage your money

Adjusting to your new independence is a big part of the university experience, especially when it comes to your finances and making your money go further. Here are some handy features on our app that could help you save money and budget as a student.

Download the 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.

  1. On your mobile or tablet, go to the App Store if using Apple or Google Play if using Android
  2. Search for 'NatWest Mobile Banking'
  3. Tap to download the app 


App available to customers aged 11+ with compatible iOS and Android devices and a UK or international mobile number in specific countries. 

Get the 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.

Get the 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.

Ready to pay off your student loan?

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. 

Is there anything we can help you with?