The cost of university

The two main costs you’ll have while studying are tuition fees and living costs. There’s lots of financial help available, and this blog aims to provide you with a brief overview of the recent changes to Student Finance England, and the financial support that may be available to you.

OK, so what’s changed?

The biggest change in Student Finance England is the removal of grants to help with living costs. Instead, any new full-time students who start their course on or after the 1st August 2016 will receive a higher rate of maintenance loan.  

Tuition Fees

Tuition fees for full-time degrees within the UK will remain the same at £9,000. At the University of Chester, our tuition fees for UK/EU students starting in 2016 are:

  • £9,000 a year for a full-time Undergraduate degree
  • £7,650 a year for a full-time Foundation degree (for Foundation degrees based at Reaseheath College and our Warrington Campus)

You can apply for a Tuition Fee Loan from Student Finance, which covers the cost of your tuition fee, and is paid directly to the course provider.

Maintenance Loan

The Maintenance Loan is available to help with living costs, such as rent and course materials. Additional help is available for students with a disability (Disabled Students’ Allowances), or students who have children or an adult who depends on them financially (Dependants’ Grants). 

What help is available outside of Student Finance England?

Most universities offer bursaries, scholarships, or both! You may find that a bursary or scholarship has specific eligibility criteria to meet, therefore it is worth finding out what these are, and if there is a different application process. At the University of Chester we have a range of bursaries and scholarships available, and if you give consent to share your household income with the University of Chester when applying for student funding, then we will automatically review your eligibility and notify you if you are eligible; normally by letter to your home address.

Course Related Bursaries

Students accepted onto an NHS-funded course which leads to professional registration in a health-related career, i.e. nursing, midwifery or nutrition and dietetics, may be eligible for a bursary supplied by the NHS. The bursary is available to help with day-to-day living costs incurred whilst studying on the NHS-funded course and the NHS will pay the tuition fee contribution for the course.

If you are interested in studying Social Work, you may be eligible for a bursary. The NHS Business Services Authority administers bursaries to students studying approved degree courses in social work on behalf of the Department of Health. Although the bursary is administered by the NHSBSA, it is not an NHS bursary.  The non-income assessed bursary includes a basic grant and a fixed contribution towards learning expenses.

Further information on both the NHS and Social Work Bursary Schemes can be found on the NHS Business Services Authority website at

In addition to the bursaries above, the University of Chester also offers a number of Science and Engineering bursaries for full-time undergraduate students interested in studying either:

  • Applied Chemistry with Biotechnology
  • Chemical Engineering
  • Electronic and Electrical Engineering
  • Manufacturing Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Natural Sciences
  • Physics with Materials Science

And a unique “Ultimate Scholarship” for new full-time undergraduate students interested in studying at the Thornton Science Park in one of the following departments:

  • Chemical Engineering
  • Computer Science
  • Electronic and Electrical Engineering
  • Mathematics
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Natural Sciences


At Chester, we offer a couple of specialised scholarships in Music and Sport that you are welcome to apply for, should you think you are eligible.

In addition to the information above, you may find that you are eligible for additional financial help - more specific information about what may be available, and our bursaries and scholarships can be found on our Finance pages.


Once you’ve finished your course, repayments will start in the April after you have graduated or left higher education. Repayments will only occur if you are earning over £21,000, and will only be a proportion of what you are earning: currently this is 9% of your income over £21,000. If you’re employed, deductions will be calculated and paid through your payroll, meaning that these payments will come out of your monthly salary alongside your income tax and national insurance contributions.

If you are earning less than £21,000 then your student loan repayments won’t be deducted. Further to all this, any outstanding loan balance will be written off 30 years after entering repayment.

The cost of going to university may initially seem a bit daunting, but it’s important to remember that there is lots of information and financial support that may be available to help you.

The information in this blog was particularly focused on Student Finance England, if you live outside England, there can be subtle differences in the way student finance is governed. We would advise looking at the student finance websites relevant to your country of residence for specific information.

View our Finance pages