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Tuition fees: frequently asked questions

Are you financially prepared for University? The information on this page should help you understand the costs of education and the help that is available to you.

Going to University is an exciting prospect and potentially one of the greatest investments you will ever make, improving your chances of employment and boosting your earning capability.

By giving some thought to your finances and with the help and support of our experienced staff, you will be better prepared when you go to University.

Do I pay every year?

You have to pay tuition fees for each year. There may be a slight increase in the fees for future years of your course.

You can pay the fees directly to St Mary's (in three instalments), but most people choose to take out a tuition fee loan to cover all or part of the cost.

Can I get help to pay my fees?

If you are a Home or EU student studying for a first degree, you can apply for a tuition fee loan for each year of your course.

You can request either the whole amount of your fees, or if you wish to pay part of the fees yourself, you can apply for a partial loan. You pay this back when you start working.

The tuition fee loan is not dependent on household income and is paid directly to the University.

Please note: If you have already been awarded a degree then you may not be eligible for any funding.

Can I get help to pay my living costs?

If you live in England and are studying for a first degree, you are eligible for the following support:

Maintenance Loan

The amount you can borrow depends on your household income and whether you are living with your parent(s) or away from home while you are studying.

  • £5,981 - £12,010 if you live away from home and study at St Mary's
  • £3,410 - £7,747 if you intend to live with your parents and study at St Mary's

If you qualify for benefits, such as Housing Benefit, Income Support, ESA or Disability Living Allowance you may be eligible for a higher loan.

Students who normally live in Wales, Northern Ireland or Scotland have different funding arrangements and should contact their own awarding body.

Is it different if I study part-time?

If you are a part-time student studying at least the equivalent of 25% of a full-time course, you can apply for a tuition fee loan to cover the cost of your course. You can now also apply for a part-time maintenance loan to assist you with some of your living costs.

When do I pay my student loan back? How much will I pay?

When you start repaying your loan is linked to your income. You only start making repayments on your loan once you start earning over £25,000 a year. If at any point your income drops below this amount, your repayments will stop.

If you leave your course early you will still have to pay back the loans if you earn more than £25,000 a year, starting in the April after you leave.

How do loan repayments work?

You repay 9% of your income above £25,000. For example, if your salary was £30,000, the 9% would only apply to £5,000 meaning you would only repay £37.50 per month.

If your salary falls below £25,000 your repayments stop - for example, if you take a career break or are unemployed. Repayments will start again when you earn more than £25,000.

Loan repayments will be deducted from your salary, normally through the tax system. If you have not repaid your loan after 30 years, it is written off.

I've already studied at higher education level. Could this effect my funding?

Usually, you can only get funding from Student Finance England for your first full degree. If you already hold an equivalent degree, from anywhere in the world, you may not get any financial help for a second course. For more information, check the  Student Finance England eligibility requirements.

What about scholarships?

St Mary's has a range of scholarships for undergraduate students.

How much does it cost to study at St Mary's?

Your main costs as a student will be your accommodation, food, travel, entertainment, clothing and other course costs.

It is difficult to estimate how much students should budget for, as the income available to each student will vary and your priorities and interests will be different. Some may manage with a couple of T-shirts and a pair of jeans, where others may consider a regular trip to clothes shops an essential part of their expenditure.

As a guide, for a first year student living in a hall of residence at St Mary's please see below some estimations of costs that they may have per week:

  • Hall accommodation: £155 to £249 (20/21 prices)
  • Food*/toiletries: £30 to £40
  • Entertainment: £40 to £50
  • Travel: £15 to £30
  • TV Licence/Insurance: £5 to £10
  • Clothes: £10 to £20
  • Other course costs: £10 to £30†
  • Laundry: £5 to £10
  • Telephone: £10 to £15

Students living in a house or flat share will also have to budget for utility costs (gas, electric, water rates, phone, etc.) and allow extra for food and travel costs. The cost of rent for properties in Twickenham and the surrounding areas is averagely between £550 and £750 per person per month which may or may not include utility costs.

If a student’s maintenance loan isn’t enough to cover their core costs, students are expected to seek part-time work to supplement their income.

* For students living in halls of residence, breakfast and evening meals are included in the accommodation fees.

† These will vary, depending on your chosen course, but will include text books, stationery and photocopying. Other costs may include field trips, theatre visits, sports kit, etc. Please contact the relevant academic schools for further information.

Do I have to pay Council Tax?

Full-time registered students are exempt from Council Tax. To be classed as a full time student, you must be studying for 100 credits or more each academic year. To ensure you do not pay Council Tax you will need to apply for a Council Tax Exemption Certificate.

You can download your Council Tax Exemption Certificate, please log in to the student portal. Go to My details; request letters and select the council tax exemption letter. This will automatically email the document to your student email account.

If you have any difficulties with this, please contact

Please note: that the property you live in may still be liable for council tax if there are one or more adults, over 18, who are not students and living in the property. If you do decide to move in with non-students, make sure they are aware that you are not liable for council tax.