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.
Last modified: 17 February 2014
Government Student Support
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.
Generally, 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.
Additionally, 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's:
- Access to Learning Fund (England);
- Support Fund (Northern Ireland);
- Discretionary Funds (Scotland); and
- Financial Contingency Fund (Wales).
The Student Support package also includes extra grants for students with particular needs - eg, disabled students and students who have dependants.
Other funding, including for those not eligible for any Government Student Support
If you are not eligible for Government Student Support, you may still wish to read our information about Financial Hardship.
You may also wish to read our general information on Money, scholarships and the cost of living.
Asylum seekers, Refugees, people with Discretionary Leave, and family members
The Helena Kennedy Foundation provides financial, and other, support to a particular group of people who are not eligible for student loans in the usual way; specifically, it supports asylum seekers, those with Discretionary Leave, and/or the family members of such people. It does this through its Article 26 Project awards scheme. You need to meet certain eligibility criteria and you must be studying, or planning to study, on an undergraduate degree programme at one of a specific number of English universities.
There are other bodies, providing non-financial support, and lobbying for further financial support, for the vulnerable groups above:
- Let Us Learn (part of Just for Kids Law) - the campaign "calls for a change in the law which prevents ambitious young people who are lawfully resident in the UK from being able to take up their place at university because of financial barriers";
- Equal Access (from Student Action for Refugees [STAR]) - a national network of student groups aiming to ensure that "people in the UK seeking refugee protection have equal access to higher education and can join us at university as equals";
- Coram (CLC) Children's Legal Centre - factsheets and legal advice, in the 'Access to further and higher education' section.