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Student finance
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Higher education institutions in the UK

Student finance

Funding available towards the tuition fees and living expences

1. Overview
The main student finance package includes a: You might get extra help on top of this.
Tuition fee loans pay for your course. Maintenance loans and grants help with living costs (eg accommodation, books, bills). You have to pay back loans but you don’t need to pay back grants.
You apply for student finance every year. You don’t need a confirmed place at university or college to apply.
Tuition Fee Loan
English or EU full-time or part-time students can apply for a Tuition Fee Loan.
The loan is paid directly to your university or college. You have to pay it back only if your income is over 25 000 pounds.

Full-time studentTuition Fee Loan Full-time  Up to £9,250
Full-time at a private university or college         Up to £6,150
Part-time studentTuition Fee Loan Part-time  Up to £6,750
Part-time at a private university or college          Up to £4,500
Maintenance Loan for living costs up to 16 000 pounds per year
You must be a full-time English student. Part-time students, EU students and students aged 60 and over can’t apply.
You may have to give details of your household income.
The loan is paid directly into your bank account at the start of term. You have to pay the loan back.

Maintenance Grant for living costs
You must be a full-time English student. Part-time and EU students can’t apply.
You have to give details about your household income and your course start date.
The grant is paid into your bank account at the start of term. You don’t have to pay the grant back, but any grant you get will reduce 
the Maintenance Loan you can get.

Special Support Grant
You must be a full-time student. Part-time and EU students can’t apply.
You may get a Special Support Grant instead of a Maintenance Grant if you get or qualify for Income Support or Housing Benefit. The amount you get is the same as the Maintenance Grant, but it won’t reduce the Maintenance Loan you can get.
You may get the Special Support Grant if, for example, you’re a lone parent or have certain disabilities.
4. 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
Generally, you’ll only get student finance if you’re doing your first higher education qualification. This is true even if your previous course was self-funded.
However, you may still get it if, for example:
  • you change course
    you leave your course but decide to start again
    you’re ‘topping up’ a higher education qualification, eg you’ve finished an HNC, HND or Foundation Degree and now want to do an honours degree
Your age
There’s no upper age limit for tuition fee loans or grants. To apply for a Maintenance Loan you have to be under 60 at the start of the course.
Your nationality or residency status
You can apply if:
  • 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 5 years before starting your course
You may also be eligible if your residency status is one of the following:
  • EU national, or family member of an EU national
    humanitarian protection (as a result of a failed application for asylum)
    migrant worker
    child of a Swiss national
    child of a Turkish worker
5. Repayments
You must pay back tuition fee loans and maintenance loans. You also pay interest on these. You don’t have to pay back other student finance, eg grants and bursaries.
How much you pay back
Repayments won’t start until April 2016 if your course finishes before 2016, or you choose to leave before then.
Your repayments are linked to your income. You only make repayments when your income is over £25,000 a year. Repayments are put on hold if your income drops below £25,000.
Part-time students sometimes start making repayments while they’re still studying.
Each year you pay back 9% of any income over £25,000
Your income per year          Monthly repayments

£25,000 and under                   No repayments
£25,000                                      £30
£30,000                                      £67
£40,000                                      £142
£50,000                                      £217
£60,000                                      £292
  • If you leave the UK, repayments are based on the earnings threshold for the country where you live.
    Interest on your student loans
    There are different rules if your course started before 1 September 2012.
    You pay interest from the time your first payment is made until you pay your loan back in full.
The following interest rates apply for courses that started on or after 1 September 2012.
Income                                   Interest rate
While you’re studying            Rate of inflation (Retail Price Index) plus 3%
£25,000 or less                      Rate of inflation
£25,000 to £41,000               Rate of inflation plus up to 3%
Over £41,000                        Rate of inflation plus 3%
Making repayments
You can pay back some or your entire loan at any time without an extra charge.
  • If you’re an employee your employer will work out your repayments and take them out of your salary with your tax.
    If you’re self employed you must make repayments as part of your Self Assessment tax return.
    You still have to repay your student loan if you leave your course early.
    You must fill in an overseas income assessment form if you go abroad for more than 3 months. Student Finance England will then work out your repayments.
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