Martin Lewis: Money Saving Expert uncovers hidden parental contribution in student loan | Personal Finance | Finance


Martin Lewis, Money Saving Expert, is well-known for offering tips and tricks through his self-titled Money Show, live on ITV. In the latest instalment of the popular programme, Martin spoke to two families who were sending their teenagers off to university in September. While many were worried about the financial implications of student debt, Martin in fact highlighted another matter that many fail to realise.

Although repayments of student loans will be important in the long term, in the here and now many people will be looking at maintenance loans for their young person.

A maintenance loan means students can receive funding for their day-to-day expenses, and the payment will often help young people to cover the cost of their food shop and accommodation rent.

The amount of money a person gets from a maintenance loan, however, is means-tested, as Martin explained.

He said: “Living or maintenance loans are based on your household income. 

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As a result, Martin explained, if income has dropped more than 50 percent for the coming tax year – 2021/22 – then parents or guardians can ask for what is known as a current year assessment.

This will take into consideration the current level of income a family has, and base the maintenance loan on this amount of money.

However, Martin went on to highlight some of the ‘hidden’ costs for parents which may be associated with a student loan.

This will be important for parents to note, he said, even years before they send their children off to university.

“So I define the parental contribution, and I’m not saying you have to do it, as the full loan you’d get minus what you’re told you’ve got.

“The difference, because of income, is the parental contribution.”

For those who may be surprised about the parental contribution element of the student loan, Martin urged action.

Even for those who have young children, making a concerted effort to begin saving now could mean less financial stress in the long run. 

Putting aside money, perhaps into a dedicated savings account, Martin said, may be an appropriate course of action.

Martin Lewis is the Founder and Chair of To join the 13 million people who get his free Money Tips weekly email, go to

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