Tuition fees and the Placement scholarship

What are placement year tuition fees

For the 2021/22 academic year tuition fees will be:

  • £1,250 for home and EU students who began their course after 2017/18
  • £1,000 for home & EU students who began their studies after 2012/13 but before 2017/18
  • £2,500 for International students
Can I get help to pay my placement year tuition fees?

If you are a Home or EU student, you can apply to Student Finance England or Student Finance Services for a tuition fee loan to pay your fees in the same way as for the other years of your course.

You may also qualify for a placement scholarship which can be requested as a tuition fee waiver or cash payment.  You will qualify if you meet any of these criteria:

You are undertaking a placement overseas

  • Your placement is unpaid
  • You usually qualify for an Aston Excellence scholarship
  • You qualified for  Aspire household income based scholarship in year 1 of your course

Please note, if you qualify for more than one of the above you can only receive one scholarship during your placement year.  You will be given the option to use your scholarship as a tuition fee waiver or bank transfer.  Scholarships can only be assessed if your placement is fully uploaded and approved on MAP by November 2020 at which point you will be asked to select a payment method.  If you select bank transfer, payment will be made in 2 instalments in terms 2 & 3.

Living cost grants and loans during your placement year

If you're a Home student, you may be able to receive living cost grants and loans through Student Finance England for your placement year. 

There are different types of student funding available for Home students, depending on what kind of placement you'll be undertaking.

I'm taking a paid placement

If you will be taking a paid placement in 2021 you can apply to Student Finance England for a reduced Maintenance Loan in addition to your placement salary.  This loan is not based on your family’s income and the amounts for 2021/22 are:

  • Living at home -  £2,155
  • Living in London - £4,035
  • Living elsewhere (UK or overseas) - £2,874

See below for EU or study abroad funding details

You may also qualify for a placement scholarship of £1250

I'm taking an unpaid placement

If you will be undertaking a Unpaid Placement in 2018/19 (which is not considered as Unpaid Service) then can apply to Student Finance England for a Maintenance Loan. This loan is not based on your family’s income and the amounts for 2021/22 are:

  • Living at home - £2,155
  • Living in London - £4,035
  • Living elsewhere (UK or overseas) - £2,874

See below for EU of study abroad funding details

Unpaid placements qualify for a placement scholarship of £1,250

I am taking an unpaid service placement

As a placement student, you are considered to be doing Unpaid Service if you are taking an unpaid placement in one of the following:

  • in a Hospital or Laboratory or with a primary care trust in the UK (or equivalent health authorities in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland)
  • unpaid service with a local authority in the UK in work that relates tp thje care and welfare of children and young persons, health or welfare, or with a voluntary organisation providing facilities or carrying out similar activity in the UK.
  • in a prison or aftercare service in the UK
  • unpaid research in an institution (ie: a University) in the UK or overseas

If you're considered to be taking Unpaid Service in your placement year then you can apply to Student Finance England for the same types of student funding for your living costs as you would in the other years of your course.

Placement scholarship are paid to students on unpaid placements. The placement scholarship is £1,250.

Working or studying abroad on your placement year

I am a home student taking a study abroad placement

If you will be studying abroad for your placement year then you can apply to Student Finance England for the same level of funding as in a normal academic year.  This also includes a slightly higher maintenance loan.

If you normally receive a loan  based on household income you may also qualify for a travel grant.  SFE will send you an application form if you qualify.

All overseas placements are eligible for a placements scholarship of £1,250.   

I am taking a placement within the EU

Aston University participates in the European Union’s Erasmus scheme which encourages students to undertake placements in other participating European countries.

Home/EU undergraduates who take part in this scheme may be eligible for an Erasmus mobility grant which can contribute towards the extra costs of living abroad.

The countries which will participate in the Erasmus programme 2021/22 are:

Austria | Belgium | Bulgaria | Cyprus | Czech Republic Denmark | Estonia | Finland | France | Germany | Greece | Iceland | Hungary | Ireland | Italy | Latvia Liechtenstein | Lithuania | Luxembourg | Malta | Netherlands | Norway | Poland | Portugal | Romania | Slovak Republic | Slovenia | Spain | Sweden | Turkey | Croatia

If you are not sure whether or not you qualify to apply for Erasmus funding then contact the Erasmus Team

You have to apply to participate in the Erasmus scheme but the funding position is often not certain until just a month or so before you are due to start your placement.

SFE funding for an Erasmus placement (work or study, even if the work placement is paid) is the same as in a normal academic year plus up to £1000 extra loan (dependent on household income).

All overseas placements will also qualify for a placements scholarship of £1,250.

I’m a home student going on placement abroad, outside of the EU - what funding can I get?

If you will be taking a work  placement abroad, but outside the EU, you can apply to Student Finance England for a Maintenance Loan. The maximum amount available for 2021/22 is £2,874. This amount is not dependent on your household income.

All overseas placements in 2021/22 will qualify for a placements scholarship of £1,250.

EU and International students

I am an EU or International student - what funding can I get during the placement year?

There is no funding available to International students during placement year.

If you are an EU student who began a course at Aston prior to September 2021, you can apply to Student Finance Services for a tuition fee loan to pay your fees in the same way as for the other years of your course.  

You may qualify for a placement scholarship. You will qualify if you meet any of these criteria:

  • You are undertaking a placement overseas
  • Your placement is unpaid
  • You usually qualify for an Aston Excellence scholarship
  • You qualify for the Aston Advantage household income based scholarship in year 1 of your course

Please note, if you qualify for more than one of the above you can only receive one scholarship during your placement year.  All scholarships during the placement year are paid as fee remissions.

If you are taking a placement in the EU, you can also apply for support through the Erasmus scheme.

Both EU and International can apply to the Susan Cadbury Fund if you are facing unexpected financial hardship.

Paying tax and National Insurance on your placement salary

Do I have to pay income tax on my placement earnings and what if I pay too much tax?

Everyone pays income tax once they are earning above their tax threshold, even if you are on placement.

The earnings allowance (the amount you have to earn before you start paying tax) for Income Tax for all UK residents is £12,570 in the tax year 6th April 2021 to 5th April 2022. Any amount of money you earn over this will be taxed at a rate of 20%. As well as your placement salary, your earnings include interest from savings and all other employment (including part-time jobs you may have done before or after your placement).

The tax year in the UK always starts on 6th April, which means your placement will actually fall into two different tax years. At the end of the tax year, your placement employer should give you a P60 which will confirm what your earnings were and how much tax you paid.  Once you finish your placement, your employer should give you a P45 which will confirm how much you have earned so far  and how much tax you will have paid.

Although you will often find that you placement employer calculates your tax correctly for the first part of your placement, many students end up paying too much tax during the second part of their placement. You can claim a tax overpayment back from HMRC (Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs)by completing a form using information you will find on your P60 and P45. You can collect Tax reclaim forms from The Hub and one of our advisers can help you to complete the form if you wish. 

Do I have to pay National Insurance contributions on my placement earnings?

Placement students do pay National Insurance Contributions. The amount you pay will depend on how much money you will earn each week.

You only have to pay National Insurance in the tax year 2021/22 if you earn more than £120 in a week and you will have to pay 12% of any amount which exceeds this.

Funding for emergencies

What if something goes wrong - is there any emergency funding available?

If you face unexpected financial hardship during your placement year, you can apply for assistance.  These are limited funds for students facing hardship and there is no guarantee you will receive an award. You should not plan to rely on these funds as a way to pay for your placement year studies. 

Aston Support Fund - UK students 
If you are a home student and you are facing unexpected financial difficulties during your placement year and meet the other criteria in the Policy then you may apply for short-term assistance from the Aston Support Fund.

Susan Cadbury Fund - EU & International students 
If you are an EU student or International student and you are facing unexpected financial difficulties during your placement year then you may apply for assistance from the Susan Cadbury Fund.