Student finance: how to apply

Skip to contents of guide

Household income

You must provide your household income if you apply for any of the following:

  • full Maintenance Loan
  • Maintenance Grant - not available if your course started on or after 1 August 2016
  • Special Support Grant - not available if your course started on or after 1 August 2016
  • Childcare Grant
  • Adult Dependants’ Grant
  • Parents’ Learning Allowance

You’ll need to provide your household income for tax year:

  • 2020 to 2021 if you’re applying for the 2022 to 2023 academic year
  • 2019 to 2020 if you’re applying for the 2021 to 2022 academic year

After you apply, Student Finance England will ask the people in your household to confirm their income. They might need to provide evidence.

What counts as household income

Household income always includes income you get from your own savings, investments or property (for example dividends or rent).

It may also include your parents or partner’s income. This depends on your individual circumstances.

If you’re under 25 and financially depend on at least one parent

Your household income includes:

  • your parents’ income, if you live with them or depend on them financially
  • the combined income of one of your parents and their partner, if you live with them or depend on them financially

If you’re under 25 and do not financially depend on your parents

Your household income does not include your parents’ income if:

  • you have supported yourself financially for at least 3 years
  • you have been married or in a civil partnership at any time before the start of your course
  • you spent at least 13 weeks in the care of your local authority before you turned 16 - in this case, you might be able to apply as a care leaver
  • you’ve had no contact with your parents for over a year - in this case, you might be able to apply as an ‘estranged student’

If you’re over 25

Your household income will not include your parents income if you are over 25, as you will be classed as an ‘independent student’

Your household income will include your partner’s income, if you live with them (even if they spend most of their time abroad).

  1. Step 1 Check if you're eligible

  2. Step 2 Find out how much loan you could get

    Find out the maximum tuition fee and maintenance loan you could get if you're a:

    How much maintenance loan you get depends on where you'll study and your household income.

    1. Use the student finance calculator to estimate your maintenance loan

    You'll have to pay back any loan you get.

    1. Find out how much you'll repay
    2. Find out when you'll start repaying
  3. and Check if you can get extra help

  4. Step 3 Prepare your application

  5. Step 4 Apply

    1. Apply online

    You'll need to create a student finance account if you're a new student or sign into an existing account if you're a returning student.

    It can take up to 6 weeks to process your application. You might have to provide extra evidence.

  6. Step 5 Update your details if your circumstances change

    You must update your application if your circumstances change. For example if you:

    • change your course through clearing
    • change where you're going to live - for example with your parents instead of halls
    1. Find out how to update your application
  7. Step 6 Make sure you can be paid

    After you register at your university or college you'll usually get your maintenance loan paid directly into your bank account at the start of each term.

    Use your student finance account to:

    • update your bank details - for example if you open a student account
    • check how much you'll be paid
    • check when you'll be paid
    1. Sign in to your student finance account
  8. Step 7 Check what to do while you're studying

    You'll need to reapply for student finance for each year of your course.

    You must keep your details up to date throughout your course because some changes can affect your loan payments, for example if your household income or bank details change.

    1. Check how to update your details
    2. Find out what to do if you suspend or leave your course
  9. Step 8 Check what to do when you stop studying

    When you stop studying the Student Loans Company (SLC) will create a student loans repayment account for you.

    Make sure your contact details are up to date in your repayment account. The log in details will be the same as for your student finance account.

    1. Sign in to your student loan repayment account
    2. Update your employment details
  10. Step 9 Repay your loan