Student finance calculator

Pupils in Year 13 are making their decisions about whether to apply to university and which one they should choose.

How student loans work

  • Students can borrow up to £9,000 a year of tuition fees, though Welsh students pay a maximum of £3,465 a year
  • Full-time students are eligible for maintenance loans of up to £5,500 (£7,675 in London) - though a little less for Welsh students
  • Various means-tested bursaries, grants and fee waivers are also available
  • From the April after they graduate, borrowers pay back 9% of any earnings over £21,000
  • The interest charged will rise from inflation (RPI) to inflation +3% as earnings rise from £21,000 to £41,000.
  • After 30 years, any remaining debt is written off.

One of the big issues this year is the new financing system, which will apply to students starting courses from September 2012.

BBC News has designed a calculator to give students repaying loans under the new system an idea of how much it may cost them to pay off their student loans. The new repayment system applies in England and Wales - there is more detail on fees and loans around the UK here.

The calculator uses estimates of predicted lifetime earnings based on the career areas people are considering pursuing, their age and sex.

All the figures are based on averages, so low and high earners in a particular category would pay different amounts to those given by the calculator. The earnings figures are for all employees, not just graduates, because graduate-only figures are not available. The calculator is designed to provide a general illustration of cost of financing in various scenarios, rather than to give precise predictions of how much individuals will have to pay.

The figures are all in 2011 money, so reflect how much particular amounts of money are worth to you today.

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