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

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

If you’re studying full-time

You may be eligible for student finance if your course is in the UK and one of the following:

  • a first degree, for example 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)
  • an Initial Teacher Training course
  • an integrated master’s degree
  • a pre-registration postgraduate healthcare course

Check on the student finance calculator to find out which loans and grants you could be eligible for.

If you’re studying part-time

Your course needs a ‘course intensity’ of 25% or more for you to be eligible for student finance.

You’ll be eligible for a Tuition Fee Loan if your course is in the UK and one of the following:

  • a first degree, for example 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)
  • an Initial Teacher Training course
  • an integrated master’s degree

You’ll be eligible for a Maintenance Loan if your course is in the UK and one of the following:

  • a first degree, for example BA, BSc or BEd
  • an Initial Teacher Training course (if it’s degree level or above)
  • an integrated master’s degree
  • a Foundation Degree in dental hygiene and dental therapy
  • a DipHE in dental hygiene and dental therapy or operating department practice

If you’ve studied before

You’ll usually only get student finance if you’re doing your first higher education qualification - even if your previous course was self-funded. You may still be eligible for limited funding in certain circumstances and for some courses.

If you changed course, stopped your studies or are repeating a year

If you stopped your course within the first year, you’ll get funding for the same course or a new course when you go back.

You might also get funding if you:

  • suspended your course or withdrew before it finished - and you’re going back to study any course
  • are repeating a year of your course at the same university, college, or institution.

If you stopped your studies for a personal reason (for example, you were ill or pregnant) you might get funding for all of your course - you should apply online with supporting evidence.

You can calculate the amount you will get by taking the total number of years of the course you are applying for and adding one year. Then take away the number of years you studied for. If you studied for part of a year you should count it as a whole year.

Example

If you are applying for a 3 year course and have studied 5 months of a different course, you’ll get 3 years of funding.

If you are applying for a 4 year course and have studied 2 years of a different course, you’ll get 3 years of funding.

If you already have a degree

You may be eligible for limited funding in certain circumstances.

You may get limited funding if 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 may also get limited funding if you hold an Honours degree or a higher level of qualification and start a new course. This could be a part-time Honours degree, a joint Honours degree or an Integrated Master’s degree in one of the following (or 2 if it’s a joint Honours degree):

  • agriculture and related subjects
  • architecture (if it’s a MArch RIBA Part 2 course)
  • biological sciences
  • computer science
  • mathematical sciences
  • medicine and allied subjects
  • physical sciences
  • technologies

You could also be eligible if you’re starting a healthcare course on or after 1 August 2017.

Your age

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

If you’re 60 or over

You may get limited funding for Maintenance Loans if all of the following apply:

  • you’re 60 or over on the first day of the first academic year of your course
  • you’re studying full-time
  • your course started on or after 1 August 2016

The amount you can apply for depends on your household income.

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, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man for 3 years before starting your course

You can also apply if you’ve been given settled status (‘indefinite leave to remain’) because you’ve been the victim of domestic violence.

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
  • a stateless person (including eligible family members) and you’re a new student starting on or after 1 August 2018
  • granted leave to remain or a child of someone granted leave to remain
  • granted ‘Calais leave’ to remain or a child of someone granted ‘Calais leave’ to remain - your course started on or after 1 August 2020 and you’ve lived in the UK for at least 3 years before the first day of the first academic year of your course

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

  • from an EU country
  • 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)

Apply

Apply for student finance or find out how to apply.

  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 Repay your loan