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Can I Use Student Loans to Pay Rent?

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Covering the cost of university can be a challenge. There’s not only tuition fees to think about, but rent, bills, and more. A loan is likely to be essential. But, can you use student loans to pay rent? Let’s clear things up. 

Two types of loan 

Here’s some advice for students renting. There are two types of loan you can get as a student: maintenance loan and a tuition fees loan. 

Maintenance loan 

The maintenance loan can be used to cover the cost of living expenses, such as rent, food and everything else. You’ll be allowed to borrow more if living away from home.

How much can you borrow?

You may have to give details of your household income, which could be your parent’s income, for example. This can affect how much you get; you may not get the maximum amount.

2021 to 2022 academic year
Living at homeUp to £7,987
Living away from home, outside LondonUp to £9,488
Living away from home, in LondonUp to £12,382
You spend a year of a UK course studying abroadUp to £10,866

The student finance calculator can tell you how much you’re likely to get, and if you’re eligible for any extra grants or allowances. 

REMEMBER: Whatever you borrow, you’ll have to pay the loan back.

Tuition fees loan

Your university or college sets your tuition fee, up to £9,250, and the loan is paid directly to them. Again, you’ll have to pay this back. Those studying accelerated courses can get up to £11,000. 

Can I apply for a maintenance grant?

Not anymore, unfortunately! Maintenance grants were scrapped by the government in 2016, which you did not have to pay back. 

Can I use a tuition fees loan for rent?

No, a tuition fees loan is to cover tuition costs only and will be paid directly to your university. It’s not money you’ll be able to use for anything else. 

Do I have to take out a student loan?

Some people don’t take out a student loan at all, so they’ll have less debt at the end of university. Their parents might be able to cover their living expenses and rent, for example. However, many people aren’t in a position where this is possible. 

This is why in 2016 when maintenance grants were scrapped, many people were worried it would deter people from lower-income families from applying to university. However, the total amount of money you can borrow hasn’t really changed. It will affect you when you start repaying loans in the future, which will be determined by your earnings. 

You only have to start paying once you earn £25,725 per year. The loan will also be written off after 30 years, so you may never have to pay it back.

How to save money when renting 

Here are some top tips for saving money as a student:

  1. Always negotiate your tenancy agreement. You may be able to get lower rent, or bills included
  2. Live with more people (a six bed is often cheaper than a two bed! Plus, more people to split the bills with)
  3. If you’re happy to, pay less for a smaller room 
  4. Look at multiple properties before choosing one to rent
  5. Get your full deposit back; look after the property and ensure it’s thoroughly cleaned when you move out
  6. Try a deposit alternative
  7. Build a good relationship with your landlord and show consideration for their property. They are more likely to be responsive if things go wrong
  8. Get a part-time job e.g. in a pub or shop
  9. Always read the small print on all contracts you enter. For example, super cheap broadband might sound great on paper, but you could be hit with a hefty installation fee
  10. Split the bills equally among housemates to make sure things are fair
  11. Take meter readings when you move in to avoid paying for gas and electricity you haven’t used
  12. Switch energy supplier if you’re responsible for the bills, you could find a cheaper deal!
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Last Updated: August 11th, 2021