Financial considerations if you are graduating

Updated on 23 April 2022

Information about repaying your student/tuition fee loan and other financial considerations if you are graduating.

On this page

Graduation is the perfect way to celebrate your achievement, however, graduation has associated costs. For example there are costs to register and costs to hire your gown, and hood, etc. Many students do not appreciate the costs involved and struggle to find the financial resources at the last minute. Please note that if you have outstanding debt to the University of more than £200, this may have implications for graduation.

When do I stop being a student?

For most financial or taxation purposes, graduating students stop being classed as students after their final exam and not on the date of their graduation.

Repaying your student/tuition fee loans

You will enter into repayment the April after you graduate. The amount you repay per month will depend on your income and which funding body has provided your student support package. See the Student Loans Company (SLC) to find out more about which repayment plan you are on and how much per month you will be expected to repay.

The monthly student loan repayment will be deducted at source, foe example from your salary.

If you go travelling or work abroad, you are still eligible to repay your student loan if you have an income. It is your responsibility to maintain contact with the Student Loans Company (SLC) as non-contact could lead to them activating their debt recovery procedures. In short, this would have a negative impact upon your credit rating and may include legal processes.

Understanding your payslip

Any student who has had a part-time job during their studies will be familiar with payslips. However, when you begin working as a non-student, additional deductions will be taken from your gross salary, particularly Income Tax, National Insurance, and pension contributions as well as your student loan.

Since 2012 all employers must sign all staff up to a pension system, this is called auto enrolment. Larger employers (such a the NHS or Local Authorities) will have national pension schemes.

Council tax

Your exemption from Council Tax will end on the day of your last exam. If you are moving out, but not for a few weeks, you will be liable for the tax over this period.

Bank accounts

If you have a student bank account at graduation, you are encouraged to contact your bank. Most banks will change this product to another called a Graduate account. These let you keep most of the benefits of your student account including your 0% overdraft facility, sometimes for up to three years after graduation.

Be aware that the overdraft will need to be paid off by the end of that period otherwise you will be charged for your overdraft. 

If you are going onto postgraduate study and a graduate account doesn’t suit your needs, ask your bank and if you can keep your student account.

Financial planning

Not everyone will be motivated to dip into formal financial planning when they get a job, but you can. Take independent financial advice if you are looking to buy any financial product.

The Money Advice Service have staff in most areas within the UK who can provide free, impartial information on financial products delivered via your local Citizens Advice Bureau. 

State benefits

UK Students who do not have a job when their course completes are entitled to claim unemployment benefit. In the UK, unemployment benefit and several older benefits have been merged into Universal Credit. Universal Credit works differently in different parts of the UK.

You are encouraged to contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau for advice regarding applying.

Dealing with debt

Understandably, many students will leave university with debt mainly comprised of their student loan and overdraft facilities. For some, there could be credit/store card debt and car payments.

If you are concerned about repaying your debts, free and confidential debt advice is available from Citizens Advice Bureau across the country.


Student Funding

+44 (0)1382 384801