MOST WOULD-BE students have one major fear lurking at the back of their minds - will they be able to afford a higher education now that grants will no longer be available, and that tuition fees are now payable on courses in higher education?

From this year maintenance grants are history. Instead, students will have to borrow the money they need under the students loans system. Then there is the pounds 1,025 annual contribution to tuition fees - but it's a myth that all students have to pay the full levy.

What you pay depends on a means test based on parent's or spouses' income. Over pounds 34,000 a year the student will be billed for the full pounds 1,025. An income below that will reduce the fee paid, and under pounds 17,370 there's nothing to pay. Only about one student in three has to pay the lot.

Edge Hill College at Ormskirk, Lancashire, which has a fine reputation for student support and is held in high esteem for its financial and operational management, gives its 12,000 students this useful budget guide:

Estimated weekly student costs

n Rents: hall of residence, with catering pounds 60 self-catering pounds 45

n Food and toiletries, catered hall pounds 10 self-catering pounds 20

n Telephone pounds 5.00

n TV rental and licence pounds 1.00

n Books and stationery pounds 4.50

n Clothes and shoes pounds 4.50

n Laundry pounds 2.00

n Travel pounds 2.00

Edge Hill suggests a total income of pounds 107.42 a week to allow for entertainment, sport and any emergencies.