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Student finance

What support is available to you?

Click on the items below to find out more about funding. All figures are for the 2013/14 academic year.

 

The information in this section is for students in England. If you normally live in another UK region or outside the UK, different rules will usually apply, and your student finance will be dealt with by one of the following organisations:

 

Northern Ireland: Student Finance ni
Scotland: Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS)
Wales: Student Finance Wales

Tuition fee loan

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A loan to cover your tuition fees
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What?

This is a loan to pay your tuition fees. Whatever your income, it will cover the full cost of your university’s fees (usually £6000-£9000). You don’t pay back the loan until you have graduated and are earning more than £21,000 per year, or £15,000 per year if you started before 2012.

Who can receive it?

UK or EU students doing their first undergraduate higher education course. There are no restrictions on your age or income.

If you are starting a part-time course and it's equivalent to 25% or more of a full-time course, then you can get a loan to cover your fees.

When to apply and when you receive it

Apply as soon as you can to make sure the loan will be ready on time. The money is paid directly to the university when you arrive and register.

How to apply

You can apply online through the Student Finance England website, or send them a paper form. You can apply for the tuition fee loan, the maintenance loan, the maintenance grant and additional grants like the Parents Learning Allowance with the same form.

You could also get...

If you’re studying a full-time undergraduate degree, you could also apply for:

Maintenance Loan
Maintenance Grant
Special Support Grant
Parents Learning Allowance
Childcare Grant
Adult Dependents Grant
University Bursary

External Links

Government student finance calculator 
Apply online 
Download an application form 

Maintenance grant

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A non-repayable grant to help cover living costs
More info

What?

A non-repayable grant to help you cover living expenses. If you started in 2014, this is up to £3,387. The amount you get depends on your annual income.  If you get the grant, it will reduce the size of your Maintenance Loan.

Who can receive it?

Students doing their first full-time undergraduate higher education course (excluding students on NHS-funded courses). Whether you receive it and how much you can get depends on your household income.  You must have lived in the UK for three years before studying.

When to apply and when you receive it

You should apply for this grant along with your other student finance in the year before you start your course. Apply as early as possible to make sure you get your finance in time.

 Your grant will be paid in three instalments, one at the start of each term. It will only be paid once you have arrived at university and registered.

How to apply

You can apply online through the Student Finance England website, or send them a paper form. You can apply for the maintenance grant, the maintenance loan, the tuition fee loan and additional grants like the Parents Learning Allowance with the same form. You will need to supply evidence  of your income in order to be assessed for this grant.

You could also get...

Maintenance loan
Tuition fee loan
Childcare Grant
Tax Credits
Parents’ Learning Allowance 
Adult Dependants Grant 
University bursary

External Links

Government student finance calculator
Apply online 
Download an application form 

Maintenance loan

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A loan to help cover living costs
More info

What?

A loan to help cover your living costs. Every full time student can apply for a set amount, which depends on where you live when you study (at the parental home, away from home in London or elsewhere). You could also be assessed for a larger loan if you disclose your annual income. You don’t have to pay the loan back until you have graduated and are earning over £21,000 per year, or over £15,000 per year if you started before 2012. 

Who can receive it?

Students doing their first full-time higher education undergraduate course. You can apply whatever your income, but the amount you can borrow depends on your income.  You must have lived in the UK for three years before studying.

Students doing a NHS-funded course at degree level can apply for a set rate of maintenance loan alongside their income-assessed NHS Bursary. 

If you receive the Maintenance Grant, the amount of Maintenance Loan you receive will be reduced – this means you borrow less.

When to apply and when you receive it

You should apply for this loan along with your other student finance in the year before you start your course. Apply as early as possible to make sure you get your finance in time. 

Your loan will be paid in three instalments, one at the start of each term. The first instalment  will only be paid once you have arrived at university and registered.

How to apply

You can apply online through the Student Finance England website, or send them a paper form. You can apply for the maintenance loan, the tuition fee loan, the maintenance grant and additional grants like the Parents Learning Allowance with the same form.

You could also get...

Maintenance loan
Tuition fee loan
Childcare Grant
Tax Credits
Parents’ Learning Allowance 
Adult Dependants Grant 
University bursary

External Links

Government information on the Maintenance Loan 

Special support grant

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A non-repayable grant for specific groups of students, including lone parents, to help with living costs
More info

What?

This grant is for specific groups of students, including lone parents, to help with living costs and does not have to be repaid. A non-repayable grant to help you cover living expenses. If you started in 2014, this is up to £3,387. The amount you get depends on your annual income.

You get the Special Support Grant instead of the Maintenance Grant: it is almost identical, except that it doesn’t affect the amount of Maintenance Loan you could get. This means that you get more support overall.

Who can receive it?

Full time undergraduate students (excluding NHS-funded courses). You will probably be able to get the grant if:
  • you are lone parent, or your partner is also a student
  • you have a disability and qualify for the disability premium or severe disability premium
  • you are deaf and qualify for Disabled Students’ Allowances
  • you have been incapable of work for a continuous period of at least 28 weeks
  • you had to leave a course temporarily because you were ill or had to care for someone, and you are now waiting to go back to it
  • you are aged 60 or older

When to apply and when you receive it

You should apply for this grant along with your other student finance in the year before you start your course. Apply as early as possible to make sure you get your finance in time. Your grant will be paid in three instalments, one at the start of each term. It will only be paid once you have arrived at university and registered.

How to apply

You can apply online through the Student Finance England website, or send them a paper form. You apply for the special support grant, the maintenance loan,the tuition fee loan and additional grants like the Parents Learning Allowance with the same form. You will need to supply evidence of your income and personal circumstances.

You could also get...

Maintenance Loan
Tuition Fee Loan
Parents Learning Allowance
Adult Dependants' Grant
Childcare Grant
University Bursary
Access to Learning Fund

External Links

Government information on the Special Support Grant 

University bursaries and scholarships

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Money from your university
More info

What?

Money from your university which does not have to be repaid. There are lots of reasons these might be given:
  • Financial need: For example, all students who get the full maintenance grant will get a bursary from their university
  • Background: Some universities offer scholarships for local students, or students who applied through an Access to Higher Education programme
  • Achievement: Many universities give scholarships for good A-level grades, or for good results in your first year exams
  • Subject: Many universities offer scholarships for “priority subjects” – usually things like sciences, engineering and mathematics.
  • These aren’t the only bursaries and scholarships that might be available, so check your university website or get in touch with the Student Services department.

Who can receive it?

Every university provides a different range of bursaries and scholarships. It’s worth doing your research – look at the university website, or the web pages for the faculty/subject area to see if there is any extra help available. Information is often hard to find, so you could also check with someone in the University Student Services department. However, if your university charges the maximum tuition fee and you qualify for the full maintenance grant or special support grant, then your university has to offer you a bursary of at least £329.

When to apply and when you receive it

The basic bursary is included with your main student finance application: your information will be passed on to the university, who will decide what you qualify for. This bursary will be paid along with the rest of your student finance.

Applications for other bursaries and scholarships will be different for different schemes. Some might not require an application – for example, if there is a scholarship based on first year exam results. You should research your university’s scholarships and bursaries in advance, as some might require an application before you start uni.

How to apply

At most universities, you can apply for the basic bursary automatically by ticking a box on the main student finance application form. This means that Student Finance England will assess whether you are eligible, then share this information with the university. However, some universities handle their own applications, so check with the university first.

Other bursaries and scholarships will vary from uni to uni.

You could also get...

Maintenance loan
Maintenance grant
Special support grant
Tuition fee loan
Access to Learning Fund
Parents’ Learning Aallowance
Childcare grant
Adult Dependants’ Grant

Access to Learning fund

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Extra financial help provided by universities.
More info

What?

Extra financial help provided by universities. This will usually be a grant that you don’t pay back, but could be a loan.

Who can receive it?

Full-time students, or part-time students whose course lasts for at least a year and takes no more than twice as long as the equivalent full-time course.

The Fund is given out by universities to students who
  • Can’t cover their living costs using other student finance
  • Have emergency costs that they can’t cover, such as household repairs
  • Are thinking about leaving university because of financial problems
Many universities will give priority to certain groups, including student parents (and especially lone parents).

When to apply and when you receive it

The Access to Learning Fund is for current students who are having financial problems, so you can’t apply until you’re already at university. Once you are, you should apply if you think you need it. 

How to apply

Apply through your university’s Student Services department. Different universities will have different application systems but you will usually need to show evidence of your situation (eg. bank statements) and of any other student finance you are receiving.

You could also get...

University Bursary
Childcare Grant
Parents' Learning Allowance

External Links

Government page on the Access to Learning fund 

Course grant

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A grant to help cover course costs for part-time students.
More info

What?

A grant to help cover course costs for part-time students who started before 2012 - for example, textbooks and travel. You do not have to pay this back. 

Who can receive it?

Part-time higher education students whose courses last at least a year. How much you receive will depend on your income and the “intensity” of the course (how much longer it takes than a full-time course.) To get the course grant, your course can’t take more than twice as long as the full-time course would. If you live with a partner, their income will also be included in the assessment.

When to apply and when you receive it

You need to hand in the application form to your university when you start your course. Once you have been on your course for two weeks, the form will come back to you with your attendance, intensity and fees confirmed. You must then send it to Student Finance England to receive your grant.

The grant will be paid in one installment at the beginning of the academic year.

How to apply

Application forms are available from Student Finance England. You will need to provide proof of income, but you get the maximum support automatically if you are on Income Support, Housing Benefit, Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), Council Tax Benefit, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance or New Deal Allowance. 

You could also get...

Fee Grant
Access to learning fund
Disabled students allowance

External Links

Government page on the Course Grant 

Fee grant

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A non-repayable grant to help cover living costs
More info

What?

A grant to help cover the tuition fees for a part-time higher education course if you started before 2012. You do not have to pay this back. The amount you get depends on your household income, the ‘intensity’ of your course and the actual fees you pay.

Who can receive it?

Part-time higher education students whose courses last at least a year. How much you receive will depend on your income and the “intensity” of the course (how much longer it takes than a full-time course.) To get the fee grant, your course can’t take more than twice as long as the full-time course would. If you live with a partner, their income will also be included in the assessment.

When to apply and when you receive it

You need to hand in the application form to your university when you start your course. Once you have been on your course for two weeks, the form will come back to you with your attendance, intensity and fees confirmed. You must then send it to Student Finance England to receive your grant.

The Fee Grant is paid directly to the university.

How to apply

Application forms are available from Student Finance England. You will need to provide proof of income, but you get the maximum support automatically if you are on  Income Support, Housing Benefit, Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), Council Tax Benefit, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance or New Deal Allowance. 

Part of the application form must be filled in by your university.

You could also get...

Course grant
Access to learning fund
Disabled students allowance

External Links

Government page on the Fee Grant 

Disabled Students' Allowance

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A grant to cover the extra costs of studying with a disability.
More info

What?

A grant to cover the extra costs of studying with a disability. This isn’t means tested: whatever your income, you can claim back costs for things like specialist equipment or helpers like note-takers.

You can claim up to £5,161 for equipment over your entire course, and up to £20,520 a year for non-medical helpers.

Who can receive it?

Full-time students, or part-time students whose course lasts for at least a year and takes no more than twice as long as the equivalent part time course.

When to apply and when you receive it

You can apply for the Allowance along with your other student finance in the year before you start your course. Apply as early as possible to make sure you get your finance in time. You have to visit an Assessment Centre to determine how much funding you need, so leave plenty of time – don’t wait to be accepted on your course before applying.

The Allowance is usually paid directly to the providers of support, such as the specialist helpers. The details will depend on individual circumstances, so you will be sent a letter giving more information once your Allowance is confirmed.

How to apply

You can get an application form from Student Finance England. If you are applying for other funding (eg. the tuition fee loan) there is a shorter form, as some of the information needed is provided in the main finance application. 

You’ll need to provide proof of your disability, and later you’ll have to visit an Assessment Centre to determine how much support you need.

If you are being funded by the NHS, you will need to apply to the NHS grants unit rather than through Student Finance England.

You could also get...

Access to Learning Fund (disabled students are often given priority)
Disability Living Allowance (see Benefits)

External Links

Government page on Disabled Students allowance 
Skill - the national bureau for students with disabilities

Childcare Grant

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Money to help pay for childcare while you study
More info

What?

Money to help pay for childcare while you study. The amount you can get depends on your childcare needs and your income, but it could cover up to 85% of your childcare costs.

Who can receive it?

Students doing their first full-time higher education course. Whether you receive it and how much you can get depends on your household income, how many children you have and your actual childcare costs.  You must have lived in the UK for three years before studying.

You can’t receive both the Childcare Grant and Child Tax Credits, but you can choose which to receive.	

When to apply and when you receive it

Apply as soon as possible to make sure you receive the money on time. The grant is paid termly, along with your other student finance.

How to apply

Along with your main Student Finance application, you will need to fill in a Childcare Grant application form. You will need to provide an estimate of your costs, and then complete a form three times a year to confirm your childcare costs.

You could also get...

Maintenance Loan
Maintenance Grant or Special Support Grant
Tuition Fee Loan
Parents’ Learning Allowance
University Bursary or Scholarship

External Links

Government booklet on the Childcare Grant
Government page on the Childcare grant

Parents' Learning Allowance

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Up to £1,508 to support students with children
More info

What?

Up to £1,508 to support students with children. This money does not have to be repaid.

Who can receive it?

Students doing their first full-time higher education course. Whether you receive it and how much you can get depends on your household income.

When to apply and when you receive it

Apply as soon as possible to make sure you receive the money on time. The allowance is paid termly, along with your other student finance.

How to apply

You apply or the Parents' Learning Allowance through the same form as the Maintenance Loan, Maintenance Grant and Tuition Fee Loan. You can do this online or with paper forms. You will need to include proof of your financial situation.

You could also get...

Maintenance Loan
Maintenance Grant or Special Support Grant
Tuition Fee Loan
Childcare Grant OR Tax Credits
University Bursary or Scholarship

External Links

Government page on Parents' Learning Allowance

Adult Dependants' Grant

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Up to £2,642 to help you support adults who are financially dependent on you.
More info

What?

Up to £2,642 to help you support adults who are financially dependent on you. This money does not have to be repaid.

Who can receive it?

Full-time higher education students with adult dependants. However, a grown up child does not count as an adult dependant. The grant is means-tested, and includes your income and the income of your dependants.

When to apply and when you receive it

Apply as soon as possible to make sure you receive the money on time. The grant is paid termly, along with your other student finance.

How to apply

You apply for the grant through the same form as the Maintenance Loan, Maintenance Grant and Tuition Fee Loan. You can do this online or with paper forms. You will need to include proof of your financial situation.

You could also get...

Maintenance Loan
Maintenance Grant
Tuition Fee Loan

External Links

Government page on the Adult Dependants’ Grant
What evidence will I need to apply?

Benefits

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Money from the Government to help if you are on a low income, have children, are disabled or otherwise need financial support.
More info

What?

Money from the Government to help if you are on a low income, have children, are disabled or otherwise need financial support.

Who can receive it?

Most full-time students can't receive benefits, but you will probably be able to claim if you are a lone parent or if your partner is also a student. Disabled students are also likely to be able to claim. 

Students who can claim can only access Jobseeker's Allowance during the summer holiday, or if they are waiting to go back to their course after they have had to take a break.

If you do qualify, some of your student finance will be counted as income when working out what support you can get. The government provides a list of which student finance counts as income.

Being a part-time student doesn't affect your right to claim benefits, but your student finance might still affect what you are entitled to.

For more information on how benefits work for students, see DirectGov.

Benefits are available for these situations:
  • you're on a low income (employed or looking for work)
  • you have dependent children
  • you're ill or disabled
  • you're caring for someone
  • you're aged 60 or over
  • you have been bereaved
  • you're pregnant or have recently had a baby
  • You can find out if you qualify using the Government’s online benefits adviser Your university's Student Services can help you to work out how benefits fit your situation.

    When to apply and when you receive it

    Benefits are not part of the student finance system, so you can apply at any time. You will be paid monthly, fortnightly or weekly.

    How to apply

    You can apply online, by phone or by post, or go to your nearest Job Centre Plus. 

    You could also get...

    Maintenance grant OR Special Support Grant
    University Bursary
    Childcare Grant
    Parents’ Learning Allowance OR Child Tax Credits

    External Links

    Government page on benefits 
    Online benefits advisor service 

    Help with Health Costs

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    People on a low income can get help with the cost of dental work, prescriptions and other healthcare costs.
    More info

    What?

    People on a low income can get help with the cost of dental work, prescriptions, opticians and other healthcare costs. Even if you don’t qualify for full support, you might get partial support – for example, you might have to pay for the first £15 of any dental work but get the rest free.

    Who can receive it?

    Whether you qualify is based on your income, your partner’s income and your outgoings. You can’t apply if you have savings of more than £16,000.
    
    If you or your partner are on Income Support, you automatically qualify for full help. If you receive Child Tax Credits you might also qualify.
    
    As a student, the student loan will count towards your income even if you haven’t claimed it.

    When to apply and when you receive it

    As a student, you will need to supply details of your student finance, so you can’t apply until you have these details. Once you have the information, you should apply as soon as possible – you never know when you might need it.

    How to apply

    Fill in an HC1 form. You will need to include proof of your income, including student finance, income from jobs and any benefits you receive.

    External Links

    Download an HC1 form

    Tax Credits

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    Payments from the Government for parents and people on low incomes.
    More info

    What?

    Payments from the Government for parents and people on low incomes. There are two types: Child Tax Credits and Working Tax Credits.

    Who can receive it?

    Parents and people who work but are on a low income can receive tax credits. What you could receive depends on circumstances including how many children you have, your income and your partner’s income. Most parents will qualify for some level of tax credit, but you can’t get both Child Tax Credits and the Childcare Grant.

    When to apply and when you receive it

    Tax credits are not part of student finance, so you can apply at any time. They are paid weekly or monthly, and you will need to renew your claim in April each year.

    How to apply

    You can register for tax credits at your local Job Centre Plus.

    External Links

    Government page on the Adult Dependants’ Grant
    What evidence will I need to apply?

    NHS Bursary

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    Money from the NHS for students on health professional training courses.
    More info

    What?

    Money from the NHS for students on health professional training courses, such as nursing and midwifery. Exactly what you can get depends on whether you are studying for a diploma or a degree.
    
    Students who qualify for the Bursary can also apply for a Childcare Allowance, Parents Learning Allowance and Dependants Grant through the NHS.

    Who can receive it?

    Diploma students are eligible for a bursary whatever their income. The amount is based on where you are studying. Diploma students cannot get the Maintenance Loan as well.
    
    For degree students, the bursary is income-assessed and you can also apply for the Maintenance Loan.
    
    For all students, the other allowances depend on your income and circumstances.

    When to apply and when you receive it

    Apply after you get the results of your Student Finanace application. The bursary is paid straight into your bank account in three lump sums, one at the start of each term.

    How to apply

    You might be sent an application form when you are offered a place on an eligible course. You can also get a form from the NHS bursaries website. You will need to provide proof of identity.
    
    Even if you don’t want to receive the Maintenance Loan or Maintenance Grant you still have to send a Student Finance application. This is because the NHS uses the result of your application to decide whether you can get the bursary. 

    You could also get...

    Maintenance loan
    Maintenance grant

    External Links

    NHS Bursary Calculator
    NHS Bursary information booklet 

    Social Work Bursary

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    Money from the NHS for people training in social work.
    More info

    What?

    Money from the NHS for people training in social work. This covers your tuition fees and up to £4,575 to cover living costs. You can also get a £575 contribution towards travel costs during a placement.
    
    The NHS also offers allowances similar to the Childcare Grant and Parents' Learning Allowance.

    Who can receive it?

    Anyone studying a social work course approved by the General Social Care Council (GSCC), as long as they are not being paid as part of their course (this includes employment-based courses and having part of your tuition fees paid.)

    When to apply and when you receive it

    Apply after you get the results of your main Student Finance application, as the results will be used as part of your application for the bursary. The bursary is paid straight into your bank account in three lump sums, one at the start of each term.

    How to apply

    You might be sent an application form when you are offered a place on an eligible course. You can also get a form from the NHS bursaries website. You will need to provide proof of identity.
    
    Even if you don’t want to receive the Maintenance Loan or Maintenance Grant you still have to send a Student Finance application. This is because the NHS uses the result of your application to decide whether you can get the bursary. 

    You could also get...

    Maintenance Loan
    Maintenance Grant

    External Links

    NHS Social Work Bursary site 
    Find qualifying courses
    Download an application pack 

    Does your budget add up?

    Use our easy student parents calculator to find out if your finances will add up.

    Print out your budget sheet to keep your finances on track throughout the year get started here


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