Fees and funding information

If you're a parent or carer of a student about to embark on undergraduate study, applying for student finance can seem complicated. Here you can read our answers to some of the most common concerns that you might be experiencing.

For information about how student finance works for undergraduate students, please visit our main fees and funding page.

What information do I need to have available in order to support my child’s application for Student Finance?

Before you start, make sure you have the following to hand: 

  • Your National Insurance number
  • Details of all your earned and unearned income for tax year 2015-2016 (2017 applicants).

Depending on your circumstances, parents or partners may also need to give evidence of divorce or separation, and list other dependent children.

My son/daughter is applying for Student Finance, based on our household income for the previous tax year, as required, but I’ve just lost my job – can this be taken into account?

Yes – If your household income has reduced by more than 15% since the relevant tax year (This would be tax year 15-16 for students starting in September 2017) you can ask to be assessed on your current year income.  For information about how this works, you can find advice at www.gov.uk.

I am worried about the amount of debt my son or daughter will have and I have some savings – is it worth paying all or part of the tuition fees up front instead?

There is no definitive answer to this, as you cannot predict precisely what your child will earn in the future.  However, as the loan is entirely income contingent, (i.e. only repayable subject to the graduate’s income), you may find that by paying up front, you pay more than you actually need to.  Regardless of how much the student has borrowed, they will only pay back at the rate of 9% of their income above the first £21,000. Do remember that interest is added to the loan though so the debt will increase from the day it’s paid out, but this does not affect the amount of the monthly repayments.  Think very carefully about what else your child may need the money for when they graduate.  For example, they may need to buy a car or some equipment, or a save for a deposit on a flat/house, or even pay for further study at Master's level , so if you use up your savings on paying tuition fees, they may then have to borrow money on a commercial basis. This is a complex subject and you can read more about the pro’s and con’s on the Money Saving Expert website.

If my child wants to apply for mortgage in the future, will the student loan debt affect their ability to borrow?

Mortgage lenders have agreed that they will only consider what the monthly repayments are, rather than the total amount borrowed. This enables them to look at how much they can afford to repay each month, from the disposable income. Student loans do not appear on any credit files held with the credit reference agencies.

If I chose to pay my child’s tuition fees, instead of taking a tuition fee loan, what methods of payment does the Conservatoire accept?

You can pay in full before or at enrolment, by cheque, debit card or credit card, or by internet transfer.  Home students may also opt to pay in 3 instalments. Detailed information about how to pay fees is sent with our joining information.

Can students apply for benefits in the summer holidays?

Not usually, as the student finance package for full time students is designed to cover a 12 month period, unless they are in your final year, in which case they can claim benefits from when they finish the course, and the loan rate is slightly reduced in the final year because of this. However, an exception would be students who have dependent children and some carers and students with disabilities. You can find more information at www.gov.uk.

How is the household income assessed where parents who are no longer together?

The financial assessment will be on the household where the student normally lives. In most cases this would be the parent who has been receiving the Child Benefit.  The income of the absent parent is not counted. However, if the relevant parent has a new partner or spouse, living in the same household, their income is counted too - it’s always done on household income - the same as for any benefit or tax credit claim.  If the parent with whom the student normally lives is single, divorced, widowed or separated, they will be asked to provide evidence of this e.g.  Decree Absolute, or Council tax bill showing the single person discount. The household details are also checked against the electoral roll.

If the parents have separated since the relevant tax year, and as a consequence, the household income has dropped significantly, you can ask for a current year assessment. For more details visit www.gov.uk.

If my child can’t afford the repayments, will I be liable?

No! Only the student is liable, but read the section about how repayments work.

I have other dependent children - is this taken into account when looking at household income?

Yes- there are questions on the application, about other dependants who are still at school, college, or university.  An amount of £1,130 per dependant child is deducted from the household income to derive a residual household income figure. This is then used to determine the amount of student finance your son or daughter receives.

At what income level is it worth being income assessed?

For 2017 entry, we recommend that your child opts to be “income assessed” if the household income was less than around £63,000 in the tax year 2015-2016.  This will enable them to have a slightly higher maintenance loan, although they would only be eligible for the maintenance grant at income levels of less than £42,800.  If your household income is definitely well over £63,000 there’s no point in submitting your income information as the outcome would be the same.  Students in this situation can apply for the basic finance, available to any student regardless of income, without their parents having to be involved. However, it would be assumed that parent’s would need to make up the difference.

My child is only entitled to the basic amount of maintenance loan, (£3,928) due to our household income.   How much would we need to give them, to make up the shortfall?

This decision is entirely between the parents and their child, and will ultimately be determined by what you feel you can afford, and the lifestyle expectations of the student. However, as a rough guide we would suggest that the minimum they would need to live on, if living away from home in student halls, or a shared house, would be similar to the full student finance awarded to those with the lowest household incomes, where no parental contribution is expected. (ie around £8,500 per year).  Students can potentially supplement their maintenance loan with income from part-time work, and maybe gigs, in addition to the bank of Mum and Dad! We would also advise that students have a student bank account, so that they have access to an interest free overdraft.   Although it has to be paid back, an overdraft can help with cash flow at the start and end of term, as long as the student understands that it’s critical that they do not exceed their agreed overdraft limit.

My child is under 25, and doesn’t live with us - do they still have to have an income assessment based on my income?

There are certain groups of students who are under 25 when they start the course, who can be considered independent for student finance purposes. They may be considered independent if they can provide evidence to prove one of the following:

  • that they've entirely supported themselves financially for at least three years through earnings or benefits
  • they are married, separated or divorced
  • they have dependent children
  • both the parents are deceased
  • they are no longer in contact with their  parents  (independent evidence for this would be required)

What happens if my child leaves early or suspends from my course?

We will notify the SLC and all further payments will stop. If they have been overpaid a maintenance loan, they will ask them to repay some of it straight away. This scenario can occur if a student leaves a course partway through the term. Maintenance support is paid in advance in 3 equal instalments, but is calculated over 365 days, so if the student leaves after, for example, 50 days of study, they will have been overpaid. The student will also need to check the position with any tenancy agreement they have signed, as most will require payment for the duration of the tenancy, regardless of withdrawing from study.

With regard to the tuition fees, this is detailed in the tuition fee policy which is available on our website, and is explained in the joining information we send before enrolment. If they decide to withdraw, suspend or transfer from the course, tuition fees will be charged on the following basis:


Date of withdrawal / suspension 
(Week numbers are as per the published academic calendar –week numbers shown are for the 2016-2017 calendar and may change for 2017-2018)

Percentage of tuition fee payable

After enrolment and within first 2 weeks of teaching


Between start of week 3 and end of week 19


Between start of week 20 and end of week 34


On or after start of week 35


Further questions?
Parents and carers are welcome to contact us with questions about student finance:
Email studentfunding@lcm.ac.uk or phone 0113 2223419/3508


> What is a conservatoire?
> Admissions information
> Fees and funding information
> Support for students
> Life in Leeds
> A career in music

< Back to Undergraduate homepage

Your conservatoire

Undergraduate study

We have a number of music degrees at undergraduate level – find out about our Foundation, BA, combined and top-up degrees

What's On

Our packed concert season welcomes everyone from global superstars to up-and-coming talents – and Leeds College of Music students are always at the heart of the programme

Short Courses

Keen on developing your skills on an instrument – or your voice? Check out our short courses on offer