Last modified: 09 January 2015
Who can get Student Support?
Student Support is only available if you are studying on a designated course, namely:
- an undergraduate degree;
- a Higher National Diploma (HND);
- a Higher National Certificate (HNC);
- a Diploma of Higher Education;
- a teacher training course.
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.
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.
What, and how much, will I receive?
The amount of Student Support you will receive, if you are eligible, depends on:
- your and your family's income;
- when you start/started your course, ie before 1 September 2012 or on/after 1 September 2012. Different fee and funding levels apply for people who start their course on or after 1 September 2012.
Student Support is, broadly speaking, composed of:
- a loan for tuition fees;
- a loan for living costs;
- certain supplementary grants for specific categories, for example disabled students;
- a non-repayable maintenance grant.
If you are eligible for a full maintenance grant, you might also be eligible for an additional bursary from your university.
See the Student Finance England web information about applying for higher education student finance, for amounts and application processes, at www.direct.gov.uk/en/EducationAndLearning/UniversityAndHigherEducation/StudentFinance/index.htm.
The Directgov website has UK Government information about financial help that is available to students in further and higher education, including application forms and contact details for Student Finance England, the EU Customer Services Team and the Student Loans Company, at www.direct.gov.uk/en/EducationAndLearning/index.htm.
BIS is the government department that produces the England Student Support regulations, and accompanying guidance, for students and assessors. This guidance can be accessed on its Student Finance England website at practitioners.studentfinanceengland.co.uk. This information can be useful if you are refused Student Support and you do not agree with that decision.
You can contact the EU Customer Services Team of the Student Loans Company at: EU Customer Services Team, Mowden Hall, Staindrop Road, Darlington DL3 9BG (Tel: (+44) (0) 141 243 3570, Email: EU_Team@slc.co.uk).
How to apply
If you think you meet all of the requirements of one of the categories listed under Who is entitled?, and you have not yet started your studies, or never applied for government financial support before, you should apply to Student Finance England. If you have already started your studies, and you have moved to a different area in order to study, you should contact your Local Education Authority where you were living before you moved for your studies. They will instruct you on what to do next.
If you meet the requirements of Category 2, and of no other categories, you are entitled only to a tuition fee loan, and you should apply direct to the EU Customer Services Team of the Student Loans Company.
If you meet the requirements of Category 5, and of no other categories, you are entitled to Student Support, and you should apply direct to the EEA Migrant Worker Applications department of the EU Customer Services Team of the Student Loans Company.
Student Finance England, your Local Education Authority or the EU Customer Services Team of the Student Loans Company will send you an application form and you must apply within nine months (six months for part-time courses) of the start of the academic year.
If you do not meet all of the requirements of a category on the first day of the first academic year of your course, you can still apply for a tuition fee loan if one of the following events occurs within the first three months of an academic year of your course, and you meet all the other requirements of the relevant category:
- your course becomes a designated course
- you or your spouse or civil partner or parent is recognised as a refugee or is refused refugee status but is granted humanitarian protection
- the country of which you are, or a relevant family member is, a national joins the European Union
- you become a relevant family member of an EU national, for example, you marry or enter into a civil partnership with an EU national
- you acquire the right of permanent residence
- you become a European Economic Area or Swiss migrant worker or the relevant family member of such a worker
- you become the child of a Swiss national
- you become the child of a Turkish worker.
You can apply for a loan or grant to help with your living costs if one of these events occurs at any point in the academic year. Your deadline for applying is nine months from the date on which the event occurs.
What can you do if you think you have been incorrectly refused Student Support?
You should ask for the reasons for the refusal in writing. You should then write to the person who informed you of the refusal and explain why you think the decision is wrong. If you are still not satisfied, you can appeal against the decision but first you should speak to an adviser at your institution, your Students' Union, or our Student Advice Line.
If you are considering applying for a NHS-funded course - eg, Nursing or Midwifery - admission to the programme may depend very much on whether you will be granted an NHS Bursary. The requirements are similar to those described in the categories but please check your eligibility carefully before you apply for an Access to Nursing course or an 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 an 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. You can find information about NHS bursaries on the website of the NHS Business Services Authority and nursing and midwifery admissions information is available from the UCAS website.