Bulletin No by mudoc123



       The following information will soon be appearing on the University’s website:

                FROM 2006
                               Questions & Answers

A website devoted to providing comprehensive information and services in
relation to the new financial support arrangements for students entering higher
education from 2006 can be found at:


However, the following are some of the most common questions that prospective
students are asking us.

1. What are the main changes affecting students entering higher education in
   September 2006 ?

   Students starting full-time higher education courses in Autumn 2006 will be
   charged tuition fees of up to £3,000 for each year of their course by most

   However, the new package of student finance allows you to “study now and pay
   later”. You will not have to pay any tuition fees up-front at all and you can get
   assistance with your living expenses – in other words, the total cost of your
   university education can be deferred until after you leave university.

2. What tuition fees will the University of Ulster charge ?

   The University of Ulster will charge £3,000 for each year of your course, with the
   exception of any placement year (that is, any year of your course spent away from
   the University gaining work-based experience) or any intercalary year (that is, any
   year you may spend abroad as part of a language degree), when the tuition fee for
   the year will be £1,500.

   You will NOT have to pay tuition fees for the following courses:

   Occupational Therapy

   Speech and Language Therapy

3. Is there any help available for payment of my tuition fees ?

   Yes – there is a NEW Student Loan (sometimes called a Fees Loan) of up to
   £3,000 which you may take out to cover tuition fees and which is not dependent
   upon income.

4. Is there any help available for payment of my living expenses ?

   Yes, help is available from both the Government and your university.


          New Maintenance Grant

           There will be a NEW Maintenance Grant of up to £3,200 for Northern
           Ireland students, to help meet the costs of going to university. This grant is
           means-tested. That means, the amount you receive will depend on parental
           income (or your own income, if you are living independently). If your
           family’s residual income is below £17,500 you will receive the maximum
           grant, but if it is over £37,425 you will not be eligible for any grant at all.
           Between these two thresholds, you will receive a partial grant – on a
           sliding scale, dependent on income.

          Existing Student Loan

           A student loan for maintenance/living costs (which is partly dependent
           upon parental income) has existed for several years and is intended to help
           pay for expenses such as accommodation, food, travel and course
           materials. In 2006/07, the maximum amount of this Student Loan will be
           increased to £4,405 for students living away from their parents’ home, and
           to £3,415 for students living at home. A higher rate of loan is available for
           those studying in London.


          Bursaries

           Every university which charges the new £3,000 tuition fee must make
           available (normally through a bursary) a minimum of £300 to each new
           student. Eligibility for this bursary will depend on whether you are
           receiving some (or all) of the new Maintenance Grant mentioned above. If
           you receive even the minimum amount of Maintenance Grant, you will
           also receive the bursary of £300 from the University of Ulster. If you
           receive the maximum grant of £3,200 you will receive the maximum

          University of Ulster bursary of £1,000. If you receive a partial
          Maintenance Grant, you will receive a bursary of between £300 and
          £1,000. Please note that while the minimum amount of bursary is the
          same for all universities, the maximum amount may vary.

5. My friend is already at university and receives a Student Loan. Is there now
   another, different Student Loan?

   Yes, there will be a new student loan of up to £3000 available for new students
   from 2006/07 for tuition fees. This loan is not means tested i.e. it does not depend
   on your income or your families income.
   Existing students and new students can also apply for a maintenance loan to cover
   living costs such as accommodation, food, travel, study materials etc which is
   means tested.

6. I’m confused - what’s the difference between Loans, Grants, Bursaries and
   Scholarships ?

   Don’t worry – in the context of a new full-time student starting university in
   2006/07, loans and grants come from the Government, and bursaries and
   scholarships come from the university. More importantly, only loans have to be
   paid back !

7. When do I start paying back any loan(s) that I may have taken out ?

   Repayments start from the beginning of the tax year following the year of
   graduation from university – that is, the April of the following year. You also only
   start paying back when you are earning more than £15,000 a year.

8. What happens if I lose my job, or my income is below £15,000 ?

   In both cases, your repayments stop until you have an income which exceeds the
   £15,000 threshold. If you have an outstanding loan(s) to repay after 25 years, this
   amount (apart from any arrears you may have accrued) is written off.

9. How does it work if I have to repay both a NEW Fees Loan AND a Student
   Loan (mostly for living costs)?

   Repayments for both are merged and collected by the Student Loans Company
   through your employer.

10. How much am I likely to be paying back ?

   You should expect to pay back 9% of your salary above £15,000. Obviously then,
   the more you earn above that threshold, the more you pay back. Conservative
   estimates put the average starting salary of graduates at around £18,000 a year. In
   this case, you would be repaying around £5.19 a week.

11. I am a resident of the Republic of Ireland – what help is available to me ?

   Students from the Republic or Ireland are not eligible to receive the new
   Maintenance Grant nor the existing Student Loan (for living costs), both of which
   are available to UK residents only. However, ROI students are eligible to apply
   for the new Fees Loan of up to £3,000 sterling a year to cover the costs of their
   tuition fees.

   Universities are currently finalising their policies on whether students from
   outside the UK will be eligible for their bursaries and scholarships.

12. Is it really all worthwhile financially ?

   Estimates of the average starting salaries of a graduate vary from between £18,000
   to around £22,000 a year – not bad, is it ? Over a working lifetime, the difference
   in earnings between a graduate and a non-graduate can be very substantial. Again,
   estimates vary from between £120,000 to £400,000 !

13. Where may I find more information ?

   The most comprehensive source of information on the new financial support
   arrangements for students from 2006 may be found at:


   In addition to this, an information booklet entitled “Financial Support for Higher
   Education – 2006/07” will be available from various government sources and is
   also likely to be distributed to schools and colleges.


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