Placement years during a degree can often feel like an entirely different world to your actual degree course. Gone are the lectures, seminars and essays of university and now you’re faced with an actual working environment for you to gain experience.
As placement years don’t feel the same as university, it may lead you to wonder if the same things apply to a placement year as it would to a normal year at university. At any point of your university studies, finances can feel like a complicated mess. However, this can be even worse for a placement year and so you might be wondering how your finances work during a placement year.
In this article, we’ll particularly look at whether a placement year is financially the same as a normal year at university, particularly in whether you need to pay university tuition fees during your placement year.
In short, yes, students do have to pay tuition fees for a placement year while at university. This most likely because it is still a part of their degree programme and as a result students can still access support from their university. For a placement year, students won’t need to pay the full tuition fees for an academic year. Instead, students’ fees for the year will be at 20% of their typical tuition fee or lower. However, the exact amount will vary between each university.
Continue reading to gain a better understanding of whether you need to pay tuition fees and how much this is. This article will take you through everything you need to know about paying tuition fees and how student finance works for a placement year.
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Do you pay tuition fees for a placement year at university?
When it comes to placement years, you will probably think of all the valuable work experience you can gain and how you can learn more about the potential career paths for you after university, rather than the financial technicalities. Even if you are thinking about the financial side of things, you might instead be thinking about how you can earn some money while on this placement or even the costs involved with it.
However, what is often not thought about is whether or not taking a placement year while at university will require you to still pay your tuition fees. Nonetheless, this is an important part of placement years.
Yes, students will need to pay tuition fees even while on they are on a placement year. However, this won’t be the full amount. You can learn more about this and how much they need to pay in the following section.
The fact that students will still need to pay tuition fees, despite not actually being at university during this placement year can seem unfair. However, it is most likely due to the fact that the placement year is still a part of the whole degree programme.
This is particularly as students will often still be attributed credits for their placement year and may even have to do some kind of project for university within this year. On top of that, as they will still be students at the university, placement year students will often still be able to get support from their university.
You can learn more about this by checking out this page on the Loughborough University’s website.
How much tuition fee do you pay on a placement year?
As of 2023, in the UK, tuition fees for each academic year of university are typically £9,250. Due to this, for the typical 3-year degree, students will end up with tuition fees of £27,750.
Due to the government’s price cap, these tuition fees are currently fixed at time of writing (September 2023) and so this is the highest fee that universities can charge per academic year, regardless of their status. For more information about this, check out this Think Student article.
However, as we’ve already established, placement years work a little differently to the average academic year at university and so do the tuition fees for placement years.
For a placement year, students will pay considerably less than they would for the typical academic year. The amount that students pay for their placement year won’t be more than 20% of the typical tuition fee.
However, placement year tuition fees can vary depending on the university. For some universities, your placement year tuition fee may even vary depending on where you choose to do your placement year.
For example, for the 2023- 2024 academic year, Aston University has set their tuition fee for placement years at £1,250 for UK and EU students. For international students, the tuition fee is at £2,500, however, it’s important to note that for international students the same government set price cap on regular tuition fees doesn’t exist. You can learn more about this by clicking here to find a page on Aston University’s website.
Another example is from the University of Plymouth. For the 2023- 2024 academic year, the University of Plymouth has set their placement year tuition fee for all undergraduate students undertaking their placement year or any part of it within the UK at £1,850.
Whereas, for students, who are undertaking their entire placement year outside of the UK, the tuition fee is £1,385 for the 2023- 2024 academic year. You can learn more about this, check out this page on the University of Plymouth’s website.
Do you get student finance for a placement year?
Applying to student finance and being able to get a student loan, is often an incredibly important part of being able to afford going to university. As we’ve already seen in this article, the fees for a placement year at university aren’t as much as the typical university year. This might make you wonder if you will still be eligible to receive student loans during your placement year.
When it comes to student finance for undergraduate degrees, we need to split it up. This is into the tuition fee loan, which is paid directly to the university to cover your tuition fees, and the maintenance loan, which is means-tested and paid in instalments into your account to help you cover your living costs while at university.
You can learn more about these types of student loans by checking out this Think Student article. Look at the following sections to see how each type of student loan works on a placement year.
Do you get tuition fee loans for a placement year?
When undertaking a placement year, students are still eligible to get a tuition fee student loan. In this case, you will need to apply in the same way as you normally would if it was a typical academic year at university.
As your tuition fees will be reduced, the tuition fee loan will reflect this as it always would. This means that no, student finance won’t end up overpaying your tuition fees on your placement year.
Depending on your university, it may also be possible for some students to be able to get a placement scholarship. While this could be a cash hand out, universities may also offer it as a tuition fee waiver for the year. In this case, you wouldn’t need a tuition fee loan for than year and as a scholarship, you wouldn’t need to pay this back.
You can learn more about this by clicking on this page from Aston University. You can also learn about what exactly a scholarship is and how it’s different from a bursary or grant, by checking out this Think Student article.
Do you get a maintenance loan for a placement year?
For a placement year, you will typically only be able to get a reduced amount of maintenance loan. For the 2023- 2024 academic year, the maximum that you will be able to get if you live at home £2,267 and the maximum for living away from home is £4,244, if you live in London.
This is unless you are certain kinds of unpaid placements, such as an unpaid placement in a hospital, a prison, doing unpaid research or some other kind of unpaid placement. In this case, you would be entitled to the full amount that you would receive in a typical year at university.
It’s also important to note that on a placement year, you would also not typically be eligible for grants and allowances. This includes the following grants/ allowances.
- The Maintenance Grant
- Special Support Grant
- Childcare Grant
- Parents’ Learning Allowance
- Adult Depandants’ Grant
- Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA)
You can learn about this by checking out this page on the University of Westminster website as well as this page by the University of Bath. You can also more about the DSA by checking out this Think Student article.