student loans

Understanding How Parental Income Affects Student Loans in the UK

Navigating the world of student finance can be a daunting task for both students and their families. With tuition fees and living costs rising, understanding how student loans work is crucial. One key factor that significantly influences the amount of loan a student can receive is their parents’ income. In this blog post, we’ll explore how parental income affects student loans and what this means for you and your family.

If you are looking for a professional accountant in Gravesend or Kent, get in touch with Clayton Stirling & Co today. 

What Are Student Loans?

In the UK, student loans are provided by the government to help students pay for tuition fees and living costs while attending university. Student loads in the UK are run the government via the Student Loads Company. If you have a student load and you want to see your balance or repay it, you can do so here. These loans are split into two main types:

  1. Tuition Fee Loans: These cover the cost of tuition fees and are paid directly to the university. They are not means-tested, meaning they do not depend on household income.
  2. Maintenance Loans: These are intended to cover living costs such as accommodation, food, and books. Unlike tuition fee loans, maintenance loans are means-tested, meaning the amount you receive depends on your household income.

student loans

How Parental Income Affects Maintenance Loans

The amount a student can borrow through a maintenance loan is directly linked to their household income. Here’s how it works:

  • Lower Household Income: If the household income is below a certain threshold, the student may be eligible for the maximum maintenance loan. For the academic year 2024/25, students with a household income of £25,000 or less could receive the maximum amount.
  • Higher Household Income: As household income increases, the amount of maintenance loan a student is eligible for decreases. There are specific income brackets that determine the exact reduction in the loan amount. For instance, students from households with an income above £60,000 might receive significantly less or even the minimum maintenance loan.

Maintenance Load Calculation Example

Let’s look at an example for clarity:

  • Household Income of £30,000: A student from a household with an income of £30,000 per year might receive approximately £9,000 per year if they are living away from home and studying outside London.
  • Household Income of £50,000: A student from a household with an income of £50,000 per year might receive around £6,000 per year under the same conditions.

What If Parents Can’t Contribute?

The assumption behind means-tested maintenance loans is that parents will contribute financially to their child’s living costs. However, this isn’t always possible. In such cases, students may need to explore other funding options such as:

  • Scholarships and Bursaries: Many universities and external organizations offer financial aid based on various criteria such as academic performance, talents, or specific personal circumstances.
  • Part-time Work: Students might consider part-time jobs to supplement their income, although it’s important to balance work with their academic commitments.
  • Budgeting and Financial Planning: Effective budgeting can help manage limited resources more efficiently. Financial advisors, like those at Clayton Stirling & Co., can provide valuable guidance on managing finances during university years.


Understanding the impact of parental income on student loans is essential for making informed decisions about university finances. While the system is designed to ensure students from lower-income households receive more support, it can place a financial burden on families with higher incomes. If you need personalized advice on managing university finances or any other financial matters, Clayton Stirling & Co. is here to help. Our team of experts in Gravesend, Kent, is dedicated to providing tailored financial solutions to meet your needs.

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