Whether a student can get student finance depends on their:
- university or college
- previous study
- nationality or residency status
University or college
The university or college must be in the UK and either:
- publicly funded (paid for by the government), or
- privately-funded but running individual courses that get public funding.
This must be in the UK and one of the following:
- first degree, eg BA, BSc or BEd
- Foundation Degree
- Certificate of Higher Education
- Diploma of Higher Education (DipHE)
- Higher National Certificate (HNC)
- Higher National Diploma (HND)
- Postgraduate Certificate of Education (PGCE)
- Initial Teacher Training (ITT)
- Integrated Master’s
Students can usually only get student finance for their first undergraduate higher-education qualification - even if their previous course was self-funded.
The number of years for which they are eligible for funding is calculated as: Length of current course + one year – years of previous study
If they haven’t got enough years of funding left to cover their course, they’ll have to cover some of the cost themselves. They’ll usually still be able to get some Maintenance Loan in any self-funded years of study. However, they may still get some funding if, for example:
- they change course
- they leave a course but start another
- they’re ‘topping up’ a higher-education qualification, for example they have finished an HNC, HND or Foundation Degree and now want to do an Honours degree
Full financial support is available if the student already has a degree but they’re starting:
- an Initial Teacher Training course, not exceeding two years and they don’t hold qualified teacher status, or
- a Nursing, Midwifery or Allied Health Professional course (excluding dental hygiene and dental therapy) in England on or after 1 August 2017.
For courses starting from 1 August 2016
There’s no upper age limit for applying for a loan to help with living costs. But if the student is aged 60 or over on the first day of the first academic year of their course the amount they can get depends on their household income only.
For courses starting before 1 August 2016
Students aged 60 or over are not able to get a loan for their living costs.
Nationality or residency status
Students can apply if:
- they’re a UK national or have ‘settled status’ (that means there’s no restrictions on how long they can stay in the UK)
- they normally live in England
- they’ve been living in the UK for at least 3 years before the first day of the first academic year of their course
The first day of the first academic year of their course is:
- 1 September, if their course starts between 1 August and 31 December
- 1 January, if their course starts between 1 January and 31 March
- 1 April, if their course starts between 1 April and 30 June
- 1 July, if their course starts between 1 July and 31 July
Students may also be eligible if they are one of the following:
- an EU national, or a relative of one
- a refugee, or a relative of one
- under humanitarian protection, or a relative of someone under humanitarian protection
- 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 their life)
- an EEA or Swiss migrant worker, or a relative of one
- a child of a Swiss national
- a child of a Turkish worker
- a stateless person, or a relative of one.
To be eligible as a ‘stateless person’ they must:
- be a new student starting on or after 1 August 2018
- have been ordinarily and lawfully resident in the UK and Islands for 3 years before the first day of the first academic year of their course.