Student loans: in the know
All week we’ve been bringing you top money advice, and today, we’re talking student funding.
We love to hate them. They help us get by during university, but generally aren’t enough to cover living expenses.
It’s also easy to forget, while you’re using it to pay your rent or fund your summer holiday, that they have to be paid back at some point.
If you’re heading off to college or university after the summer, chances are you’ve heard of the Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS)before.
SAAS is the national student funding body for Scottish and EU students in Higher Education at college or university.
You will make your application for funding through their website. As you’ll know, studying at college or university in Scotland is free for eligible Scottish students, but you must apply to SAAS each year you study, to have your course fees paid for and receive any funding you are entitled to.
But, great news: the course fees don’t have to be paid back.
You must also apply through the SAAS website for a bursary and student loan for living costs (rent, bills, transport, socialising) while at university, too. The amount you’re eligible for depends on your household income, AKA your parents earnings.
If your household income is higher than £34,000, you will be entitled to a Student Loan of £4,750 each year you attend university. If it is less than £34,000, you’ll need to provide supporting evidence, but will be entitled to a larger sum each year.
To have your funding in place for the start of your course apply to SAAS before 30 June 2019.
However, you can still apply to SAAS right up until 31March 2020.
The earlier you apply the better and you’ll be entered into a draw to receive a mini ipad or vouchers to help with your studies.
Finishing your studies may seem a long time away, which is why it’s so important to enjoy your time at college or university while you’re there.
Repaying your student loans isn’t something you have to start thinking about as soon as you’ve left college or uni, so don’t worry.
You’ll automatically start paying your student loan back as soon as you hit the minimum threshold in your wages.
Currently that stands at £18,330, which means, if you’re earning less than that, you don’t have to pay it back until you do start earning that much.
This figure also rises each year, in line with inflation.
The Student Loans Company Ltd (SLC) will expect you to pay nine percent of any income you earn over £18,330 a year and the SLC will write to you letting you know exactly how they’ll collect your repayments.
You also do not have to start repayments until at least the 6 April of the following year you graduate from your course.
So, you see, student loans aren’t really as daunting as they seem, as long as you submit your application in plenty of time each year, and stay on top of your repayments. Easy peasy!