Government Student Support

Last modified: 05 November 2018

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, and/or your family's, 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: 13 September 2018

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

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

In Scotland, undergraduate Student Support is also available for a Certificate in Higher Education or a Diploma / Advanced Diploma.

All of the above are higher education (HE) undergraduate courses. If you are studying on a HE postgraduate course, see our info on Government Student Support for postgraduate study.

If you are studying on a further education (FE) 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 HE 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.

Funding for healthcare courses

Last modified: 18 August 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 healthcare 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: 28 March 2018

If your application for Student Support is refused, you should ask for the reasons for the refusal in writing. If you feel you have been refused incorrectly, you can normally challenge the decision. This will usually involve telephoning, or writing to, the official who informed you of the refusal. You should explain why you think the decision is wrong.

If you are still not satisfied, you can formally appeal against the decision but first you should speak to an adviser at your institution, your Students' Union, or on our Student Advice Line.

Read our information on EEA/Swiss migrant workers if you have been refused following an application to be considered as an EEA/Swiss worker, or as the family member of such a worker.

If you are not eligible for Government Student Support, you may wish to read our information about scholarships and funding your studies, as well as how to manage the cost of living in the UK. 

If you did not originally think you would need financial support, but you have now experienced a change in your financial circumstances, you should read our information about unexpected financial hardship.

Applying in England: Basics

Last modified: 13 April 2018

You must meet all of the conditions of at least one of the categories outlined below in Applying in England: Who is entitled?.

You should apply to Student Finance England. You will find guidance documents, and details of how to apply, on its website. The deadline for your application depends on when your course starts but you must apply within nine months (six months for part-time courses) of the start of the academic year.

The UK government produces the England Student Support regulations, and accompanying guidance, for students and assessors. You can read its guidance for practitioners, which can be useful if you are refused Student Support and you do not agree with that decision.

If you do not meet all of the requirements of a category at the start of your course, you may still become entitled to support later on if you experience a relevant change of circumstances. If you are unsure about whether you have become entitled to Student Support, or if you need further information, speak to an adviser at your institution or Students' Union, or on our students' advice line.

Applying in England: Who is entitled?

Last modified: 13 June 2018

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.

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, speak to an adviser at your institution or Students' Union, or on 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: Those granted stateless leave, and family

12. England: Long Residence

Applying in Scotland: Basics

Last modified: 13 April 2018

You must meet all of the conditions of at least one of the categories outlined below in Applying in Scotland: Who is entitled?.

You should apply to the Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS). You will find guidance documents, and details of how to apply, on its website. The deadline for your application depends on when your course starts.

The Scottish Government produces the Student Support regulations for Scotland. You can read further information in the funding section of the Scottish Government website.

If you do not meet all of the requirements of a category at the start of your course, you may still become entitled to support later on if you experience a relevant change of circumstances. If you are unsure about whether you have become entitled to Student Support, or if you need further information, speak to an adviser at your institution or Students' Union, or on our students' advice line.

Applying in Scotland: Who is entitled?

Last modified: 06 August 2018

Student Support is composed of:

  • the payment of your tuition fees, if you study in Scotland;
  • a loan for tuition fees if you study outside Scotland;
  • a loan for living costs;
  • certain supplementary grants for specific categories, for example disabled students;
  • a non-repayable Young Students' Bursary (if you study in Scotland and start the course before you turn 25), a non-repayable Students' Outside Scotland Bursary, or the Additional Loan for students from households with a low income.

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, speak to an adviser at your institution or Students' Union, or on 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

15. Scotland: Long residence

16. Scotland: Afghan (Locally Employed Staff Ex-Gratia Scheme) nationals, and family

17. Scotland: Those granted stateless leave, and family

Applying in Wales: Basics

Last modified: 13 April 2018

You must meet all of the conditions of at least one of the categories outlined below in Applying in Wales: Who is entitled?.

You should apply to Student Finance Wales. You will find guidance documents, and details of how to apply, on its website. The deadline for your application depends on when your course starts. 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 at the start of your course, you may still become entitled to support later on if you experience a relevant change of circumstances. If you are unsure about whether you have become entitled to Student Support, or if you need further information, speak to an adviser at your institution or Students' Union, or on our students' advice line.

Applying in Wales: Who is entitled?

Last modified: 30 July 2018

Student Support is composed of:

  • a loan, and in some cases a grant, for tuition fees;
  • a loan for living costs;
  • certain supplementary grants for specific categories, for example disabled students;
  • a non-repayable Assembly Learning Grant. If you are eligible for a full Assembly Learning Grant, you might also be eligible for an additional bursary from your university.

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, speak to an adviser at your institution or Students' Union, or on 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 or private life), and family

11. Wales: Persons with stateless leave, and family

Applying in Northern Ireland: Basics

Last modified: 13 April 2018

You must meet all of the conditions of at least one of the categories outlined below in Applying in Northern Ireland: Who is entitled?.

You should apply to Student Finance NI. You will find guidance documents, and details of how to apply, on its website. The deadline for your application depends on when your course starts. 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 at the start of your course, you may still become entitled to support later on if you experience a relevant change of circumstances. If you are unsure about whether you have become entitled to Student Support, or if you need further information, speak to an adviser at your institution or Students' Union, or on our students' advice line.

Applying in Northern Ireland: Who is entitled?

Last modified: 20 October 2017

Student Support is composed of:

  • money for tuition fees;
  • money for living costs;
  • certain supplementary grants for specific groups, for example for disabled students;
  • a non-repayable maintenance grant, for full-time students from households with a low income. If you are eligible for a full maintenance grant, you might also be eligible for an additional bursary from your university.

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, speak to an adviser at your institution or Students' Union, or on 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: 12 June 2018

This section has explanations about words and terms which occur in our information on Government Student Support. These explanations should not be read in isolation but, instead, combined with the appropriate Student Support category.

Dependency

European Economic Area (EEA)

European Union (EU)

First day of the academic year

Ordinary residence

Overseas Territories

Relevant date

Settled

UK and Islands

Worker

Relevant family members - applying in England

Relevant family members - applying in Scotland

Relevant family members - applying in Wales

Relevant family members - applying in Northern Ireland

Funding postgraduate study

Last modified: 05 November 2018

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

Government Student Support for postgraduate study

Other funding for postgraduate study

Brexit: Impact on student finance

Last modified: 01 November 2018

The funding bodies in England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, have all given reassurances to EU nationals about continuing student finance eligibility for those already on courses.

Following earlier decisions by the funding bodies for those starting in 2016/17, there have since been some further assurances for students:

Students starting in 2017/18

England confirmed that "EU students applying for a place at an English university or further education institution in the 2017 to 2018 academic year [that is, the current 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 [EU] during that period". See England's 2017/18 statement.

Wales made a similar statement to England, on its news page, entitled EU Nationals and Student Finance in Wales 11/10/2016. See Wales's 2017/18 statement.

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 “EU students applying for university places in Northern Ireland in the 2017/18 and 2018/19 academic year will continue to have access to student loans and grants, even if the course concludes after the UK’s exit from the EU.  This applies to all student finance from Student Finance NI for students in Northern Ireland for which EU nationals are eligible… EU nationals, or their family members, who are assessed as eligible to receive grants and/or loans by the Student Loans Company (SLC) will then be eligible for the duration of their study on that course”.  See Northern Ireland’s 2017/18 and 2018/19 statement.

Students starting in 2018/19

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. See England's 2018/19 statement.

​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". See Scotland's 2018/19 online statement and Scotland's 2018/19 EU referendum guidance pdf.

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". See Wales's 2018/19 statement.

Northern Ireland confirmed that “EU students applying for university places in Northern Ireland in the 2017/18 and 2018/19 academic year will continue to have access to student loans and grants, even if the course concludes after the UK’s exit from the EU.  This applies to all student finance from Student Finance NI for students in Northern Ireland for which EU nationals are eligible… EU nationals, or their family members, who are assessed as eligible to receive grants and/or loans by the Student Loans Company (SLC) will then be eligible for the duration of their study on that course”. See Northern Ireland’s 2017/18 and 2018/19 statement.

Students starting in 2019/20

Scotland has confirmed that it will "extend [its 2017/18 and 2018/19] commitment to the 2019/20 cohort [which] means that all eligible non-UK EU citizens who come to Scotland to study for an undergraduate higher education qualification in 2019/20 will benefit from free tuition". See Scotland's 2019/20 statement.

England has confirmed the same funding package, as for 2018/19 and before, for EU students commencing study in 2019/20. This means they will "be able to access financial support for the duration of their course on the same basis as is available today" - see England's published 2019/20 statement. This published statement was added to by a ministerial statement in parliament on the same day, in which it was indicated that family members are included in these provisions - see England's ministerial 2019/20 statement.

Wales has confirmed that "EU nationals who intend to study in Wales for the academic year 2019/20 [...] will be eligible to receive loans and/or grants from Student Finance Wales. This is a continuation of the Welsh Government’s current policy and means that students will be eligible to receive support until they finish their course". See Wales's 2019/20 statement.

Northern Ireland has now confirmed that "EU nationals who are currently in receipt of student loans from Student Finance Northern Ireland, and EU students applying for university places in NI in the 2018/19 and 2019/20 academic years will continue to have access to student loans and certain grants, even if the course concludes after the UK’s exit from the EU". See Northern Ireland’s 2019/20 statement.

 

Brexit: Impact on fee status assessments

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