Birkbeck, University of London > Student services > Financial support > Government student loans for undergraduates

Government student loans for undergraduates

The main source of funding available for new undergraduate students is the student tuition fee loan from the government. If you are eligible you will be able to apply for a loan to cover the full cost of your fees.

Apply now for your student loan. If you need help with your loan application, please contact Student Finance England.

Eligibility criteria

  • To be eligible for a student loan, you should be studying on an undergraduate course (e.g. Foundation Degree, BA/BSc/LLB or a Certificate of Higher Education) and:
    • studying at this level for the first time (i.e. you do not already have an undergraduate or equivalent level qualification - although there are some exemptions - see below).
    • studying a minimum of 25% equivalent of a full-time course (30 credits) or modules worth at least 30 credits in total a year
    • classified as a Home/EU student
  • If you have studied on a course at higher education level previously and want to continue to study on a full-time degree at Birkbeck, this may affect your eligibility for a tuition fee and/or maintenance funding. Please contact Student Finance England for further advice.

Courses that are exempt from the ELQ exclusion

What you can apply for

  • Eligible full-time undergraduate students can apply for both a tuition fee loan and a maintenance loan.
  • Eligible part-time undergraduate students can apply for a tuition fee loan (from 2018, government maintenance loans will also be available to part-time undergraduate students).
  • If you have been classified as an EU student by Student Finance England, you can apply for a tuition fee loan only (you will not be able to apply for a maintenance loan).
  • Note: when you enrol online for your Birkbeck course (this happens after you have accepted an offer of a place), if you are eligible for a loan, you will be given the option to state that you are applying for a student loan to pay your fees. This will mean that you can enrol on your course without having to make a payment first.

Repaying your student loan

  • Birkbeck students can normally complete their studies before starting to repay their loans:
    • If you are classified as a part-time student, you will be due to start repaying your loan in the April after you leave your course or the April that falls four years after the first day of your course (even if you’re still studying), whichever comes first.
    • If you are classified as a full-time student, you will be due to start repaying your loan in the April after you complete or leave your course. If you finish or leave your course before April 2016, you won’t start making repayments until after this date.
    • Please see the Student Loans Company Repayments website or contact the Student Advice Service.
  • Note: Birkbeck’s 3-year evening BA/BSc/LLB degrees, 2-year evening Foundation degrees and some of our Certificates of Higher Education are classified as full-time study; all other undergraduate programmes are classified as part-time study.

Interest charges on your student loan

  • While studying: interest will be added at inflation plus 3%.
  • After studying, and earning below £21,000: interest will be added at inflation.
  • After studying, and earning £21,000-£41,000: the interest rate will be on a sliding scale from inflation up to a maximum of inflation plus 3%.
  • After studying, and earning over £41,000: interest rate is inflation plus 3%.

When you will start to repay your loan

  • You only start to repay when you are earning over £21,000 a year; if you earn less than £21,000 a year, you won’t repay anything.
  • You repay 9% of your income above £21,000, so the amount you repay each month will depend on your earnings – and will be the same each month no matter how much the course cost. See the table below for examples of monthly repayments.

How you will repay your loan

  • Your repayments will automatically be deducted from your pay (the same way as income tax), or through your tax return if you are self-employed.
  • If your salary falls below £21,000, your repayments automatically stop. Repayments only restart when you earn over £21,000.
  • If you get a maintenance loan as well as a tuition fee loan, both loans will be added together, and you will repay the one loan on the same terms.

Early repayments and credit ratings

  • You can make additional voluntary repayments to the SLC at any time which will reduce your balance earlier.
  • There are no penalties for repaying the loan early. After 30 years your loan is written off, no matter how much or how little you have repaid.
  • Unlike commercial loans or credit card debt, student loans do not go on credit files. The loan is unlikely to affect your ability to get a mortgage, but the amount of mortgage available may depend on net income (i.e. income after tax and loan repayments).

Examples of monthly repayments

  • Income before tax: up to £21,000
    • Monthly salary before tax £1,750
    • Monthly repayment £0
  • Income before tax: £22,000
    • Monthly salary before tax £1,833
    • Monthly repayment £7
  • Income before tax: up to £25,000
    • Monthly salary before tax £2,083
    • Monthly repayment £30
  • Income before tax: up to £30,000
    • Monthly salary before tax £2,500
    • Monthly repayment £67
  • Income before tax: up to £35,000
    • Monthly salary before tax £2,917
    • Monthly repayment £105
  • Income before tax: £40,000
    • Monthly salary before tax £3,333
    • Monthly repayment £142