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Student Finance Application Guide

Borrowing money from Student Finance England can help you pay for your living expenses and tuition fees (e.g. for college or university).

This section explains the undergraduate student finance application process. Check how to get student loans or grants while you study in the United Kingdom.

Student Loans Terms and Conditions Guide

Repayments do not start until your earnings go above the threshold. The amount you pay back depends on income - not the amount owing.

But, Student Finance England (SFE) will start charging interest on the amount you borrow from the day you take out the loan.

Note: You can use the student finance login page to create an account, track an existing application, and view your statements. Some of the rules differ if you started before the 1st of September 2012.

Student Finance for Undergraduates

Another section explains how to apply for student finance in more details. But, students under the age of 25 may be able to apply as an 'estranged student'. Check the 'Stand Alone' website if you are (either):

You can also give permission to another person or an organisation (called 'consent to share') so they can help to manage your student loan account.

For example, using the Power of Attorney means they can act on your behalf (e.g. complete the student finance application for you).

Note: This undergraduate student finance application guide is for England. The process differs if you are from Scotland, Wales, or Northern Ireland. Contact the education authority if you are living in the Channel Islands (Jersey and Guernsey) or the Isle of Man.

If You are a New Full-time Student

Providing the course you are on started on or after the 1st of August 2016, new full-time students can apply for a Tuition Fee Loan and Maintenance Loan.

Tuition Fee Loan

The university or college where you are studying will set your tuition fee. After securing a loan, SFE will pay the money directly to the college or university (not the student). But, you will have to pay it back.

Note: You could get a Tuition Fee Loan up to £11,100 if you are studying one of the accelerated degree courses.

Maintenance Loan (for living costs)

As a rule, you will need to provide your household income if you apply for a full Maintenance Loan. The money would go directly into your bank account at the beginning of each term. You will have to pay back the loan.

Note: You can apply for an amount up to £3,893 if, on the first day of the first academic year of your course, you are 60 or older. The student finance calculator can help you estimate your Maintenance Loan.

If You are Studying Abroad

In some cases, the special travel grants for students can help to cover the expense of studying away from home if you usually live in England. Medical or dental students may also qualify for financial help with the extra costs of attending clinical placements in the United Kingdom.

Further reading:

If You are a Continuing Full-time Student

Courses Started Since 1st of August 2016

Providing the course you are on started on or after the 1st of August 2016, continuing full-time students can apply for a Tuition Fee Loan and Maintenance Loan.

Tuition Fee Loan

The university or college where you are studying will set your tuition fee. After securing a loan, SFE will pay the money directly to the college or university (not the student). But, you will have to pay it back.

Maintenance Loan (for living costs)

As a rule, you will need to provide your household income if you apply for a full Maintenance Loan. The money would go directly into your bank account at the beginning of each term. You will have to pay back the loan.

Note: You will receive less money in your final year. You can apply for an amount up to £3,893 if, on the first day of the first academic year of your course, you are 60 or older.

Courses Started Before 1st of August 2016

Did your course start before the 1st of August 2016? If so, you can apply for grants and loans instead, to help finance your study.

Tuition Fee Loan

The university or college sets the tuition fee. SFE will pay the money directly to them (not the student). But, you will have to pay it back.

Maintenance Loan (for living costs)

In most cases, you will need to give some details about your household income. But, students who are aged 60 and older cannot apply for this type of financing.

The money would go directly into your bank account at the beginning of each term. You will have to pay back the loan.

Note: You will receive less money in your final year.

Maintenance Grant (for living costs)

In most cases, you will need to give some details about your household income. The money would go directly into your bank account at the beginning of each term.

You do not have to pay back this kind of student loan. But, the funds you get to help cover your living expenses will reduce the amount of Maintenance Loan that you can get.

Special Support Grant

Students who are unable to get a Maintenance Grant, might qualify for a Special Support Grant instead, such as if they are getting (or qualify for):

Special Support Grant rates are the same as those for the Maintenance Grant. But, getting this funding would not reduce the amount of Maintenance Loan that you can get.

Note: Often, lone parents, and students with certain disabilities, can get the Special Support Grant. You will find out when you apply for student finance.

Before Applying for Student Finance

Check through other help guides for extra information on how to apply for student finance UK and how students from England can make an online application.

If You Study Away from Home (abroad)

If you are studying away from home, but you usually live in England, you may qualify for a grant to cover some of your travel expenses. Medical or dental students may also get extra financial help with the costs associated with attending clinical placements in the United Kingdom.

If You are a Part-time Student

The 'course intensity' needs to be at least 25% for you to get a loan for studying a part-time course. The 'course intensity' is a measurement of how much of you complete each year (when compared to an equivalent full-time course).

How does it work?

In simple terms, it compares module credits with those that a full-time student would study. You will need to give the number of credits you will be studying as part of the student loan application process.

The university or college can help you check if you are unsure. But, the course start date will determine what you can apply for.

Courses Started Since 1st of August 2018

Tuition Fee Loan

The university or college sets the tuition fee. SFE will pay the money directly to them (not to the student). Even though you can get up to £6,935 in an academic year, you will need to repay it.

Maintenance Loan (for living costs)

As a part-time student, the amount of money that you can get through a Maintenance Loan will depend on your household income, and:

They will pay the loan into your bank account two (2) weeks after each term begins. You will have to repay the loan.

A disability must stop you from attending the course in person, to qualify for a Maintenance Loan as a 'Distance Learning' student.

Note: The student finance estimator can help you work out how much Maintenance Loan you can get. But, you cannot apply for a Maintenance Loan if, on the first day of the first academic year of your course, you are 60 or older.

Courses Started Before 1st of August 2018

The university or college sets the tuition fee. SFE will pay the money directly to them (not to the student). Even though you can get up to £6,935 from a Tuition Fee Loan in an academic year, you will need to repay it.

If You are an EU Student

The European Union (EU) is an economic and political union of many countries. A Tuition Fee Loan (and help with some of your living costs) may be available even if you come from an EU country.

Tuition Fee Loan

The university or college sets the tuition fees. Student Finance England (SFE) would pay the money directly to them (not to EU students). But, you will have to pay it back.

Financial Help with Living Expenses

To be eligible for help with your living costs, you would need to have lived in the United Kingdom for more than five (5) years prior to the first day of your course in the first academic year.

You can apply for financial help towards your living costs using the same application process as though you were a UK national (details above).

Note: Academic years in the United Kingdom start on the 1st of September, the 1st of January, the 1st of April, and the 1st of July.

Extra Financial Help for Students

You can get a quick estimate of what student bursaries, loans, grants, and other funding is available through the student finance calculator on the GOV.UK website.

Students who are getting a low income can apply for:

If you are a student with children or a dependent adult you might get:

Disabled students with a disability, long-term health condition, mental health condition, or a specific learning difficulty (e.g. dyslexia) can apply for:

As a medical, social work, or teacher training student you should be able to apply for:

Students who are studying overseas might qualify for a grant to cover some travel expenses (e.g. you normally live in England but you will study away from home).

Note: The TURN2US website has further information on specialist funding available from charitable trusts (e.g. non-repayable grants).

Student Finance Eligibility Criteria

Several factors are going to determine whether you meet the eligibility criteria to apply for student finance in the United Kingdom.

Your College or University

The place where you are studying should be a recognised college, university, or other institution. Another section explains how to check if a university or college is officially recognised in the United Kingdom.

The Course You are Studying

The course you are studying should be at one of the recognised colleges, universities, or other institutions. If you are studying full-time, to get student finance your course must be in the UK and (either):

If you are studying part-time, to qualify for student finance your chosen course needs to have a 'course intensity' of at least 25%.

You can get a Tuition Fee Loan from Student Finance England if your course is in the UK and (either):

You can get a Maintenance Loan from Student Finance England if your course is in the UK and (either):

If You Already Studied a Higher Education Course

As a rule, student finance is only available for a first higher education qualification. The same also applies when a previous course was self-funded. But, limited funding is available for some courses in certain circumstances.

Did You Change Course, Stop Your Studies or Repeat a Year?

Stopping your course within the first year means you would get funding for the same course (or a new one) when you return. You may also qualify for funding if:

Note: The rules are different for student finance if you suspend or leave your course for a personal reason (e.g. because you are pregnant or ill). If so, you would need to provide some supporting evidence when you apply online.

What if You Already Have a Degree?

You may get limited funding from the Student Loans Company even if you already have a degree (but only for certain situations).

Limited funding may be available if you will be 'topping up' a higher education qualification (e.g. you want to do an Honours degree after you finished an HNC, HND or Foundation Degree).

In some cases, you may get limited funding if you hold an Honours degree or a higher level of qualification and you then start a part-time Honours degree, joint Honours degree or Integrated Master's degree in any of these courses (2 of the following for a joint Honours degree):

Note: Starting one of the healthcare courses on or after the 1st of August 2017 means you could also be eligible for limited funding.

Age Limits for Student Finance

The Student Loans Company (SLC) does not place any upper age limit on financing through Tuition Fee Loans or grants.

What if You are 60 or Older?

If you are sixty (60) or over you may have entitlement to limited funding for a Maintenance Loan providing you are studying full-time, and:

Your Nationality or Residency Status

Before making an application, you can check whether you meet the nationality and residence status eligibility criteria. All these must apply to your situation:

Note: Non-UK nationals would need to have 'settled status' on the first day of the first academic year of the course (e.g. 1 September, 1 January, 1 April, or 1 July).

You could also meet the eligible criteria if your residency status is (either):

As a non-UK national, you may also qualify if you are (either):

Note: The short YouTube video - presented by Student Finance England (SFE) - explains how to ensure you get your student finance on time.

Parents of Students

If your child or partner applies for student finance in England you may need to submit some information about your income. Another section explains how to support your child or partner's student finance application.


Undergraduate Student Finance Application Guide for United Kingdom

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