Whether a student can get a Tuition Fee Loan depends on their:
- university or college
- previous study
- nationality or residency status
Uni and course
The course must be at an eligible uni or college 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 their self.
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
They might be able to get an extra year of tuition fee support if they need to repeat a year due to compelling personal reasons, such as bereavement or illness.
They would need to provide evidence of this. Depending on their circumstances, this could include:
- medical evidence from their GP
- evidence from social services
- evidence from their university or college
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 in England on or after 1 August 2017.
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. If they have settled status, they must not have been resident mainly for the purposes of getting full time education.
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 of 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 an eligible relative of one.
- granted leave to remain, or a child of someone granted leave to remain, under section 67 of the Immigration Act 2016.
To be eligible under section 67 they must have been living in the UK for at least 3 years before the first day of the first academic year of their course.
Students who are overseas may be eligible if they’re:
- a member of the UK Armed Forces serving overseas
- a spouse or civil partner living with a member of the UK Armed Forces serving overseas
- a child, step-child or adoptive child living with a member of the UK Armed Forces serving overseas
- a dependant parent living with either a child who is a member of the UK Armed Forces serving overseas or the child’s spouse or civil partner who is a member of the UK Armed Forces serving overseas
This applies to students starting an eligible distance learning course on or after 1 August 2016.
From 1 August 2018 students studying a distance learning course will also be able to get a Tuition Fee Loan if they’re:
- a member of the UK Armed Forces who usually lives in England but are serving in Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland
- a relative living with a member of the UK Armed Forces serving in Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland.