Medical student loans

Student loans are government sponsored loans administered by the Student Loans Company (SLC).

If you have to borrow money you should always take out the maximum student loan that you can as you will not find any other loans provided on such favourable terms.

Even if you don’t need the money immediately, say in first year, you may do by the time you reach fifth year. So, if you can trust yourself to save the money rather than spend it, take the maximum loan that you can in any one academic year because it won’t be available to you again after the closing date for student funding for that year.

There are three main types of student loan you may come across during your time as a medical student, depending on which country in the UK you live or study:

Student Loan for fees

A fee loan lets you delay paying your tuition fees until after you’ve graduated. The loan is non income-assessed and is paid directly to your university. Some countries also offer grants alongside or instead of fee loans.

Student Loan for maintenance (first four years)

This loan is made up of a non income-assessed part and an income-assessed part. The proportion of the loan which is assessed and not assessed can vary according to:

  • when you started your course
  • which country of the UK you live in
  • where you are studying

There are three different rates of loan depending on whether you live at home, live away from home and study in London, or live away from home and study elsewhere in the country. There are also additional weekly loan payments if your course is longer than the standard year. For exact details of the amounts refer to the relevant loan authority websites:

Student Loan for maintenance (fifth year onwards)

This loan is non income-assessed and is a set annual amount with no extra weeks’ allowance. For exact details of the amounts refer to relevant loan authority websites above.

Student Loan Repayment site

The Student Loans Company runs a repayment site for all students, UK and EU, who have finished their course and who have student loans from the SLC. The site contains a great deal of useful information about the repayment of your student loan, both for continuing students and the new arrangements for some new students starting their course from 2012 onwards, as well as online services.

On the site you can:

  • check the current interest rate
  • view your balance
  • work out your balance since your last statement
  • update your personal/contact information
  • make online payments by debit/credit card
  • find copies of guides to student loans for the UK countries

If you are an EU student repaying a tuition fee loan, or a UK student working abroad, the SLC will work out your monthly repayment schedule using the same principles as for those who stay in the UK. You will repay nine per cent of your earnings over the repayment threshold but, to take account of differences in living costs, the repayment threshold may not be the same as in the UK.

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