7. Eligibility

Whether you qualify for student finance depends on:

  • your university or college
  • your course
  • if you’ve studied a higher education course before
  • your age
  • your nationality or residency status

Your university or college

This should be a university, college or other institution that offers a qualifying course.

Your course

This must be in the UK and one of the following:

  • a first degree, eg BA, BSc or BEd
  • a Foundation Degree
  • a Certificate of Higher Education
  • a Diploma of Higher Education (DipHE)
  • a Higher National Certificate (HNC)
  • a Higher National Diploma (HND)
  • a Postgraduate Certificate of Education (PGCE)
  • Initial Teacher Training

Check with your university or college that your course is recognised.

Part-time students

Part-time students need to study their courses at a rate of at least 25% of an equivalent full-time course in each academic year.

This is known as ‘course intensity’. You can check course intensity with your university or college.

You’ve studied before

You’ll usually get student finance only if you’re doing your first higher education qualification - even if your previous course was self-funded.

However, you may still get limited funding if, for example:

  • you change course
  • you leave your course but decide to start again
  • you’re ‘topping up’ a higher education qualification, for example you’ve finished an HNC, HND or Foundation Degree and now want to do an Honours degree
  • you hold an Honours degree or higher level of qualification and start a part-time Honours degree in engineering, technology or computer science (or a joint Honours in 2 of these subjects)

Your age

There’s no upper age limit for Tuition Fee Loans or grants.

Your nationality or residency status

You can apply if all of the following apply:

  • you’re a UK national or have ‘settled status’ (no restrictions on how long you can stay)
  • you normally live in England
  • you’ve been living in the UK for 3 years before starting your course

Non-UK nationals must have settled status on the first day of the first academic year of the course - which could be 1 September, 1 January, 1 April or 1 July.

You may also be eligible if your residency status is one of the following:

  • refugee
  • humanitarian protection
  • EEA migrant worker
  • child of a Swiss national
  • child of a Turkish worker

You may also be eligible if you’re not a UK national and are either:

  • under 18 and have lived in the UK for at least 7 years
  • 18 or over and have lived in the UK for at least 20 years (or at least half of your life)

EU nationals

You can apply as though you were a UK national if you’ve been living in the UK for more than 5 years before the first day of the first academic year of your course.

Academic years start on 1 September, 1 January, 1 April or 1 July. Ask someone who runs your course if you don’t know which one applies.

Example If your course begins on 20 September 2016, you must have lived in the UK since 1 September 2011.

You only need to have lived in the UK for 3 years before the first day of the first academic year of your course if you’re either:

Apply

Apply for student finance or find out how to apply.