Government Student Support

Last modified: 25 August 2016

Student Support is the name given to financial support provided by the Government to eligible students in the UK.

Student Support is not considered as one of the 'public funds', as defined in the Immigration Rules (paragraph 6). Therefore, a student with UK immigration permission containing a condition stating "no recourse to public funds" would not be in breach of that condition by applying for, and receiving, Student Support.

Basics

Last modified: 17 August 2016

Government Student Support provision exists in each of the four UK countries, England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. The rules about eligibility for Student Support are broadly similar in each case. However, there are some significant differences between each country, and the type/level of financial support available varies.

You apply for support from the government of the UK country in which you normally reside; this may be different from the country you choose to study in.

After eligibility has been established, the relevant authority will assess your income to calculate the level of support to which you are entitled. We cannot describe the calculations used to assess levels of support; information on this is contained in guidance issued by the relevant government department or agency.

Certain courses attract additional help or alternative support. If you are in financial hardship, and you are eligible for Student Support, you might be able to apply for further help through your institution. They can access additional Government support such as Access to Learning Funds (England), Discretionary Funds (Scotland), Financial Contingency Funds (Wales), and Support Funds (Northern Ireland).

The Student Support package also includes extra grants for students with particular needs, for example disabled students and those with dependants.

Eligible courses

Last modified: 02 December 2015

Student Support is only available if you are studying on a designated course, namely:

  • undergraduate degree;
  • Higher National Diploma (HND);
  • Higher National Certificate (HNC);
  • Diploma of Higher Education;
  • a teacher training course.

In Scotland only, Student Support is also available for

  • Certificate in Higher Education
  • Diploma, or Advance Diploma

All of the above are higher education courses. If you are studying on a further education course, check with your institution whether any funding is available - for example, Further Education Awards or Educational Maintenance Allowance or Discretionary Learner Support.

You may not be eligible if you have previously received Student Support (or a mandatory award) to study a higher education course. The same applies if you have already studied a course at the same or lower level, including qualifications you have obtained in other countries. Read more information about the 'equivalent or lower qualification' policy (for England-only) at the HEFCE website

NHS bursaries

Last modified: 17 August 2016

Admission on a NHS-funded course (for example, Nursing or Midwifery) can depend very much on whether you will be granted a NHS Bursary. The requirements are similar to the general Student Support eligibility requirements but please check your eligibility carefully before you apply for an Access to Nursing course or a NHS-funded degree course.

There are only very limited opportunities for self-funded applicants to study Nursing and Midwifery in UK Higher Education. Apart from these, it is very unlikely that any institution will be able to consider applicants who are not eligible for a NHS bursary. If you do wish to follow such a course as a full fee-paying student, check with the institution in advance if they accept fee-paying students onto the course.

Unlike Student Support arrangements for most other courses, you apply for a NHS bursary to the country in the UK where you are studying, even if it is different from the country in the UK where you normally live.

See the NHS bursary information for England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

Incorrectly refused, and those not eligible

Last modified: 17 August 2016

How to challenge an incorrect refusal of Student Support

Not eligible for Student Support

Applying in England: Basics

Last modified: 17 August 2016

Applying in England: Who is entitled?

Last modified: 24 January 2017

If you meet all the requirements of one or more of the following categories, you will be entitled to some level, and amount, of Student Support. This is only a brief summary of persons who are entitled. If you are unsure about whether you are entitled to Student Support, or if you need further information, check your situation with an adviser at your institution, your Students' Union or our Students' Advice Line.

1: Settled status and living in the UK and Islands (England)

2: EU nationals, and family (England)

3: Non-UK EU nationals living in the UK and Islands (England)

4: People with the right of permanent residence in the UK (England)

5: Non-UK EEA and Swiss workers, and family (England)

6: Settled status and exercised a right of residence in the EEA/Switzerland (England)

7: Child of a Swiss national (England)

8: Child of Turkish worker living in the EEA/Switzerland/Turkey (England)

9: Refugees, and family (England)

10: People granted humanitarian protection, and family (England)

11: Long Residence (England)

Applying in Scotland: Basics

Last modified: 02 December 2015

Applying in Scotland: Who is entitled?

Last modified: 24 January 2017

If you meet all the requirements of one or more of the following categories, you will be entitled to some level, and amount, of Student Support. This is only a brief summary of persons who are entitled. If you are unsure about whether you are entitled to Student Support, or if you need further information, check your situation with an adviser at your institution, your Students' Union or our Students' Advice Line.

1. Settled status and living in the UK and Islands (Scotland)

2. EU nationals and family (Scotland)

3. Non-UK EU nationals living in the UK and Islands and family (Scotland)

4. Those with the right of permanent residence in the UK (Scotland)

5. Non-UK EEA/Swiss workers and family (Scotland)

6. Settled status and exercised a right of residence in the EEA/Switzerland (Scotland)

7. Children of Swiss nationals (Scotland)

8. Children of Turkish workers (Scotland)

9. People with refugee status and family (Scotland)

10. People who are refused refugee status but allowed to remain in the UK and family (Scotland)

11. Temporary protection (Scotland)

12. Unaccompanied asylum-seeking children and children of asylum seekers (Scotland)

13. Iraqi nationals granted indefinite leave to enter the UK under the Locally Engaged Staff Assistance Scheme (Direct Entry), and family (Scotland)

14. Syrian (Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme) nationals, and family (Scotland)

Applying in Wales: Basics

Last modified: 19 January 2016

Applying in Wales: Who is entitled?

Last modified: 19 January 2017

If you meet all the requirements of one or more of the following categories, you will be entitled to some level, and amount, of Student Support. This is only a brief summary of persons who are entitled. If you are unsure about whether you are entitled to Student Support, or if you need further information, check your situation with an adviser at your institution, your Students' Union or our Students' Advice Line.

1: Settled status and living in the UK and Islands (Wales)

2: EU nationals, and family (Wales)

3: Non-UK EU nationals living in the UK and Islands (Wales)

4: EU nationals and family with the right of permanent residence in the UK (Wales)

5: Non-UK EEA and Swiss workers, and family (Wales)

6: Settled status and exercised a right of residence in the EEA and Switzerland (Wales)

7: Child of a Swiss national (Wales)

8: Child of Turkish worker (Wales)

9: Refugees, and family (Wales)

10: ‘Persons with leave to enter or remain’ (humanitarian protection or discretionary leave), and family (Wales)

Applying in Northern Ireland: Basics

Last modified: 28 July 2016

Applying in Northern Ireland: Who is entitled?

Last modified: 24 January 2017

If you meet all the requirements of one or more of the following categories, you will be entitled to some level, and amount, of Student Support. This is only a brief summary of persons who are entitled. If you are unsure about whether you are entitled to Student Support, or if you need further information, check your situation with an adviser at your institution, your Students' Union or our Students' Advice Line.

1: Settled status and living in the UK and Islands (Northern Ireland)

2: EU nationals, and family (Northern Ireland)

3: Non-UK EU nationals living in the UK and Islands (Northern Ireland)

4: People with the right of permanent residence in the UK (Northern Ireland)

5: Non-UK EEA/Swiss workers, and family (Northern Ireland)

6: Settled status and exercised a right of residence in the EEA and Switzerland (Northern Ireland)

7: Child of a Swiss national (Northern Ireland)

8: Child of Turkish worker (Northern Ireland)

9: Refugees, and family (Northern Ireland)

10: People who apply for refugee status and are refused but who are allowed to remain in the UK, and family (Northern Ireland)

Definitions: for Student Support assessment

Last modified: 31 July 2015

Awards for postgraduate study

Last modified: 24 January 2017

This section gives you information about the funding available if you are studying in the UK as a postgraduate student.

 

Loans 

If you normally live in England, and you are studying anywhere in the UK, you may be eligible for a Government Postgraduate Loan of up to £10,000 to help with course fees and living costs. This loan is not means-tested, which means it is not based on your household income. If you are on an integrated masters course, you should apply for support as an undergraduate student instead. Where you are on an eligible course, you must satisfy residency conditions which are broadly similar to those for undergraduate Student Support.

If you normally live in Scotland, you may be eligible for a SAAS-funded Postgraduate loan. Again, this support is for course fees / living costs, but the loan is available for those studying on a smaller range of courses than in England.

 

Other funding

Mostly, UK public funding for postgraduate study is handled by Research Councils. Postgraduate Social Work courses are funded by separate bodies.

In England, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (known as ‘BIS’) offer awards for study at European institutions. The Department for Employment and Learning in Northern Ireland, and the Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS), have postgraduate awards schemes for certain types of study. For most awards from these bodies, you will have to meet qualifying conditions similar to those described for Student Support. EU students would normally be considered for a fees-only award. Awards are usually competitive and should normally be applied for through the academic department at which you will be studying. Contact the relevant funding body, or your institution’s academic department, about other funding that may be available locally.

For more information, consult the funding information on the Prospects web site.

 

EEA migrant workers

Last modified: 02 December 2015

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