Government Student Support

Last modified: 06 March 2017

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 paragraph 6 of the Immigration Rules. 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

Funding for healthcare courses

Last modified: 19 May 2017

Admission on healthcare courses, such as Nursing or Midwifery, can depend very much on whether you will be granted funding. In England, the former NHS Bursary scheme has now closed to new applicants (ie those starting in August 2017 onwards). However, students on eligible heathcare courses can apply for the general Student Support available to other students.

If you wish to follow a healthcare course as a full fee-paying student, check with the institution in advance if they accept fee-paying students onto the course.

NHS bursary reform

Applying for NHS bursaries, or new 2017-onwards funding

Incorrectly refused, and those not eligible

Last modified: 24 February 2017

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: 05 April 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. England: Settled status and living in the UK and Islands

2. England: EU nationals and family

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

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

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

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

7. England: Child of a Swiss national

8. England: Child of Turkish worker

9. England: Refugees, and family

10. England: People granted humanitarian protection, and family

11. England: Long Residence

Applying in Scotland: Basics

Last modified: 23 February 2017

Applying in Scotland: Who is entitled?

Last modified: 22 February 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. Scotland: Settled status and living in the UK and Islands

2. Scotland: EU nationals and family

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

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

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

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

7. Scotland: Children of Swiss nationals

8. Scotland: Children of Turkish workers

9. Scotland: People with refugee status and family

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

11. Scotland: Temporary protection

12. Scotland: Unaccompanied asylum-seeking children, and children of asylum seekers

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

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

Applying in Wales: Who is entitled?

Last modified: 22 February 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. Wales: Settled status and living in the UK and Islands

2. Wales: EU nationals and family

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

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

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

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

7. Wales: Child of a Swiss national

8. Wales: Child of Turkish worker

9. Wales: Refugees, and family

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

Applying in Northern Ireland: Who is entitled?

Last modified: 22 February 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. Northern Ireland: Settled status and living in the UK and Islands

2. Northern Ireland: EU nationals and family

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

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

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

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

7. Northern Ireland: Child of a Swiss national

8. Northern Ireland: Child of Turkish worker

9. Northern Ireland: Refugees, and family

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

Definitions: for Student Support assessment

Last modified: 23 February 2017

Awards for postgraduate study

Last modified: 18 May 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 Postgraduate Loan.

If you normally live in Scotland, you may be eligible for a SAAS-funded Postgraduate loan.

If you normally live in Wales, you may be eligible for a Postgraduate Loan.

 

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, there are awards for study at European institutions. The authorities in Northern Ireland and Scotland 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.

Funding info at Prospects.ac.uk

EEA migrant workers

Last modified: 02 December 2015

Brexit: Impact on student finance

The funding bodies in EnglandScotlandWales, and Northern Ireland, have all given reassurances to EU nationals about continuing student finance eligibility.

 

Students in 2016/17

Between June and August 2016, each of the funding bodies confirmed that EU students:

  • currently on courses and receiving student finance will continue to be eligible for student finance for the duration of their study on that course; and
  • commencing university study on an eligible course in Autumn 2016 will also be eligible for student finance in the normal way and, furthermore, will continue to be eligible for student finance for the duration of their study on that course.

 

Students starting in 2017/18

In Autumn 2016, the funding bodies throughout the UK made further statements:

  • England confirmed that "EU students applying for a place at an English university or further education institution in the 2017 to 2018 academic year will continue to be eligible for student loans and grants - and will be for the duration of their course [...] even if the UK exits the European Union during that period";
  • Wales made a similar statement to England;
  • SAAS in Scotland confirmed that "eligible EU students will continue to have access to free tuition, including tuition fee support [...] and [SAAS] will provide funding in the normal way. These students will be eligible to apply for funding from SAAS for the duration of that course. This applies [...] to students starting a new course from 2017-18". The statement is no longer publicly available but see 'Swinney demands student immigration guarantee' at gov.scot;
  • Northern Ireland confirmed that "the rules applying to EU nationals, or their family members, who have applied for a place at university from this August 2017 to study a course which attracts student support are unchanged. [...] EU nationals, or their family members, who are assessed as eligible to receive grants and/ or loans [...] will then be eligible for the duration of their study on that course".

 

Students starting in 2018/19

  • ​In March 2017, Scotland confirmed that "EU nationals choosing to study in Scotland and enrolling in 2018-19 have been guaranteed free tuition for the duration of their entire course".
  • In April 2017, England reconfirmed its position for 2016/17 and 2017/18 (as above), and also confirmed the same funding package for EU students commencing study in 2018/19.
  • In April 2017, Wales confirmed that "EU nationals who intend to begin studying in the academic year 2018/19 will be eligible for support from loans and grants" and that these students "will not have the terms of their funding changed if the UK leaves the EU during their studies".

 

Brexit: Impact on fee status assessments

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