I am in the fortunate situation of having both an unconditional offer for a (UK) university I really want to go to, and a sponsorship offer from the company that I have worked for in my gap year, in return for me working for them for 2-5 years after. However they haven't sponsored anyone since the changes to the UK tuition fees, and we're both unsure of the best way to way to do it.
Ignoring sponsorship money (a few thousand pounds per year), my 4 year course will cost £36000, which I will take out a tuition fee loan for. I have the option of taking out about £15000 in maintenance loan over the 4 years too. I would later pay some of these 2 loans back to SFE at 9% of everything I earn each year over £21000, for 30 years after I finish uni. It's predicted that pretty much no-one will ever pay their whole loan back, and calculations that I've done seem to confirm this. The debt is linked to RPI + 3% so I'll probably end the 30 years more in debt than I started. To complicate matters, I have about £5K of savings from this year and will be working each summer holiday for the company that is sponsoring me. I think I could comfortably save £2.5K of my earnings each summer.
Bearing all of this in mind, would I be best to:
a) Not take out a maintenance loan and instead live off my sponsorship money and earnings, still taking out the tuition fee loan.
b) Take out all of the loans anyway, and stick the sponsorship money and any leftover summer job money in a savings account for a house or something. (This is what my family recommend I do!)
c) Use my current savings, summer job money and sponsorship money to pay as much of the tuition fees as I can afford, meaning I would have a small and manageable amount of debt and could hopefully stop having to pay the monthly <9% after a number of years.
d) Something different.
It's a weird system we have here, where the debt pretty much ends up like taxation and throwing sponsorship money at it could potentially make no difference to what I end up paying back. I'd be grateful to know people's thoughts.