Historically, higher education has often been inaccessible to groups such as women, ethnic and racial minorities, the disabled and the poor. Lots of people have started studying again to achieve their degree by the help of Student Finance. Student Finance is designed in supporting the Higher Education (HE) and Further Education (FE) sectors by: making timely and accurate payments of maintenance grants and loans to learners; and ensuring timely and accurate payments of tuition fee loans to HE and FE provider. If you are UK and EU national, you may be able to borrow money to help pay for your University/College tuition fees and to help cover with living costs. You might get extra money on top of this, for example if you’re on a low income, are disabled or have children.
Only you need to start repaying if you earn over a certain amount ( currently £23000p/a). The size of your monthly repayments will depend on how much you earn, not what you owe.

You may be able to get a Tuition Fee Loan and help with living costs if you’re from an EU country. As an EU national, or a family member of an EU national, you can apply for financial help to cover the cost of tuition fees and maintenance costs while studying in Northern Ireland, England, or Wales. If you have been living in the UK for at least five years before the start of your course and your main reason for moving to the UK was not for full-time education, you may qualify or if you have been working in UK and now you want to study, you may qualify for full tuition fees & living costs.

Tuition fees are the amount your university or college charges each year to attend your course. A Tuition Fee Loan covers the cost of your tuition fees. If you’re starting or continuing a course in 2017/18, you can get up to £9,250 to cover the fees your university or college charges. If you apply for a Tuition Fee Loan you should confirm the fees with your university or college annually. This will make sure you apply to SFE for the correct amount.

The Tuition Fee Loan is paid directly to your university or college in three instalments throughout the academic year.

This helps with your living costs and is paid to you in three instalments throughout the academic year. The figures shown below are totals for each academic year.


Living with parentsUp to £7,097
Studying in London and not living with parentsUp to £11,002
Studying outside London and not living with parentsUp to £8,430
Living and studying abroad for at least one academic termUp to £9,654

Whether you can get student finance depends on:

  • your personal eligibility;
  • your course; and
  • your university or college

To apply, you must:

  • be a UK national or have settled status (that is, no restrictions on how long you can stay in the UK);
  • normally live in England; and
  • have been living in the UK for at least three years before the first day of your course.

You might still be able to apply, if you’re:

  • 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;
  • an EEA/Swiss migrant worker, or a relative of one;
  • the child of a Swiss national; or
  • the child of a Turkish worker.

If you normally live in the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man you can’t apply to Student Finance England. You should contact the education authority on your island to apply for student finance.

Usually you can only get student finance for your first higher-education qualification. As a general rule, Tuition Fee Loans are available for the full length of the course, plus one extra year if needed, for example if:

  • you change your course; or
  • you leave your course but decide to start again.

The number of years for which you are eligible for funding is calculated as:

Length of current course + one additional year – years of previous study

You might be able to get an extra year of tuition fee support if you need to repeat a year due to compelling personal reasons.

If you’ve previously studied in the UK or abroad, you might be able to get some financial support if you don’t have an equivalent or higher-level qualification, or if you’re studying a course which leads to a professional qualification, such as medicine, veterinary science or architecture.

Full financial support is available if you already have a degree but you’re starting a Nursing, Midwifery or Allied Health Professional course (excluding dental hygiene and dental therapy) in England on or after 1 August 2017.

The course you plan to study must be in the UK and one of the following:

  • first degree, eg BA, BSc or BEd;
  • Foundation Degree;
  • Certificate of Higher Education;
  • Higher National Certificate (HNC);
  • Higher National Diploma (HND);
  • Diploma of Higher Education (DipHE);
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE);
  • Integrated Masters; or
  • Initial Teacher Training (ITT).

If you’re not sure if your course qualifies for student finance, you should check with your university or college.

Your 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 receive public funding.
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