New university tuition fees come into force

September 2012 ushers in a new era for university tuition fees, with some establishments able to charge up to £9,000 a year – almost a threefold increase (universities in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are also able to raise their fees from 2012 but their home students will not be affected).  As a parent or a young adult, the decision to go to university could now be one of the biggest investments that you ever make.

While support is available for most students so that tuition fees do not need to be paid up front, this will depend on the family’s total income. Again, maintenance loans and grants are also available but on a mean’s tested basis such as where you live. Students starting this year will begin to pay back their student loan once they earn £21,000 a year, in addition to the interest accrued charged at the rate of RPI inflation, plus three per cent (again means assessed).

It’s not surprising that initial reports suggest the new fees have affected the numbers applying for university this year. With this in mind it is now more important than ever to consider how you can plan to assist with funding your child’s higher education costs, as it is estimated that  for those starting this year eventual student debt could rise to £40,000 and beyond.