Financial Help for Students
If you are a new full time student you can apply for a Tuition Fee Loan and Maintenance Loan if your course commences on or after 1 August 2016.
If you are a continuing student and your course started before the 1 August 2016 you may be eligible for a Maintenance Grant or Special Support Grant in addition to the Tuition Fee Loan and Maintenance Loan. However the loans are of a lesser rate.
Depending on whether you meet eligibility criteria you may be able to receive help for; dependents, travel, disabilities or even be awarded a bursary.
Tuition Fee Loan
You can apply for a tuition fee loan from Student Finance England to cover the tuition fees which are set by your university or college. The easiest way to apply, is to set up an account online, if you have made applications previously you need to use your existing login details. The first time you apply you will need to provide proof of your identity, such as a valid UK passport. You will need to reapply each year.
The loan is paid directly to the university or college and has to be paid back by you, but not until you’ve finished or left your course, and your income is over the repayment threshold. During the academic year three instalments are made, the first two are 25% of the amount borrowed and the final payment is the 50% balance. For full time students the amount of the tuition fee loan for 2019 to 2020 academic year is up to £9,250. If you’re studying an accelerated degree course, you could get up to £11,100.
To qualify for a Tuition Fee loan your university or college must be in the UK and be:
- First degree, such as a BA, BSc or BEd
- Foundation Degree
- Certificate of Higher Education
- Diploma of Higher Education (DipHE)
- Higher National Certificate (HNC)Higher National Diploma (HND)
- Postgraduate Certificate of Education (PGCE)
- Initial Teacher Training (ITT)
- Integrated Master’s
If you’re an overseas student, starting an eligible distance learning course on or after 1 August 2016, you may be eligible for a Tuition Fee Loan if:
- You are a member of the UK Armed Forces serving overseas
- You are a spouse or civil partner living with a member of the UK Armed Forces serving overseas
- You area child, step-child or adoptive child living with a member of the UK Armed Forces serving overseas
- You are a dependant parent living with either a child who is a member of the UK Armed Forces serving overseas or the child’s spouse or civil partner who is a member of the UK Armed Forces serving overseas
From 1 August 2018 if you're studying a distance learning course you will also qualify if:
- You are a member of the UK Armed Forces, normally live in England but you are serving in Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland
- You are a relative living with a member of the UK Armed Forces serving in Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland.
Maintenance Loan for Living Costs
You can apply for a Maintenance Loan from Student Finance England to help pay for your rent, food, books, travel, and other expenses you might have. The loan has to be paid back, but not until you’ve finished or left your course, and your income is over the repayment threshold. How much you receive will depend on when you started your course, where you live, and your household income. Your Maintenance Loan will be reduced by 50p for every £1 you receive if your course commenced before 1 August 2016. For full time students the amount of the maintenance loan for 2019 to 2020 academic year is:
- Up to £7,529 if you are living at home
- Up to £11,672 if you are living away from home (in London)
- Up to £8,944 if you are living away from home (outside London)
- Up to £10,242 if you spend a year of a UK course studying abroad
- Up to £3,783 if you will be 60 or over on the first day of the first academic year of your course
To estimate how much you might receive, use the student finance calculator.
Payments are made directly to you, into your bank account at the beginning of every term. The amount you receive will be less in your final year, because student finance normally covers breaks between one year and the next, you will no longer be entitled when your course comes to an end.
As a part time student, you may be eligible for both a Tuition Fee Loan and Maintenance Loan if:
- Your course is starting on or after 1 August 2018
- The ‘course intensity’ is 25% or more
‘Course intensity’ is the measurement of module credits you have completed, compared to an equivalent full-time course.
For courses that started before 1 August 2018 you can only apply for a Tuition Fee Loan. The Tuition Fee Loan amount is set by your university or college and has to be repaid. The loan will be up to £6,935 (up to £4,625 for private universities or colleges).
How much Maintenance Loan you receive will depend on where you live while you are studying, your household income and your ‘course intensity’.
If you are a distance learning student you will only be able to apply for a Maintenance Loan if you are not able to attend your course because you have a disability.
If you’re 60 or over on the first day of the first academic year of your course you will not qualify for a Maintenance Loan.
If you are a continuing student and your course started before the 1 August 2016 you may be eligible for a Maintenance Grant, depending on your household income. You are not required to repay the grant but the amount you receive will reduce your entitlement to the maintenance loan. Funds will be paid into your bank account at the beginning of each term.
Special Support Grant
Your entitlement to the Maintenance Grant will be replaced by the Special Support Grant in certain circumstances. For full time students the full grant amount is £3,694 for 2019 to 2020 academic year. You may be eligible for a grant if:
- You’re a single parent, or a single foster parent, and your child (or young person) iso under the age of 20 and in full-time education (not higher education), or on an approved training course
- You have a partner who is also a full-time student, and one or both of you is responsible for a child (or young person) under the age of 20 and in full-time education (not higher education), or on an approved training course
- You are disabled and qualify for Disability Living Allowance, a Disability Premium, or a Severe Disability Premium
- You qualify for Personal Independence Payment or Armed Forces Independence Payment
- You qualify for a Disabled Students’ Allowance because you are deaf
- You've been treated as incapable of work for a continuous period of 28 weeks minimum
- You are disabled and qualify for income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- You will be going back to a course, after taken agreed time out from that course due to an illness or caring responsibility that has now come to an end
- You are 60 or older
The Special Support Grant will be disregarded as income when claiming any income-related benefits.
Disabled Student's Allowance
If you have a disability that affects your ability to study, you may be eligible for a Disabled Students Allowance (DSAs). There is no age limit to qualify for a DSA.
Conditions that may entitle you to an allowance include:
- Learning difficulties, for example; dyslexia, dyspraxia, or ADHD
- Mental health issues, including anxiety or depression
- Physical disabilities, including being partially sighted
- A long-term health condition, for example cancer, chronic heart disease, or HIV
You will need to be an undergraduate or postgraduate student (including Open University or distance learning), studying on a full-time or part-time course, lasting a minimum of a year and qualify for student finance from Student Finance England.
You won't be entitled to a Disabled Students Allowance if; you're an EU student, are eligible for an NHS Disabled Students Allowance or receiving equivalent support from another funding source, such as, your university or a social work bursary.
If you qualify for an NHS bursary, you don't need to repay it. If your not eligible you might still be eligible for student finance.
For courses starting on or after 1 August 2018, and studying to be a doctor or dentist you can qualify for a bursary to help with your study and living costs. If you’re studying a pre-registration postgraduate healthcare course, you might still qualify.
For 2017 to 2018 academic year courses, studying to be a doctor, dentist, dental hygienist or dental therapist you can qualify for a bursary to help with your study and living costs.
For courses that started before 1 August 2017 studying
a dental, medical or healthcare course in England you can qualify for a bursary to help with your study and living costs.
The NHS Award Estimate Calculator will help you determine what you may receive. If you’re eligible for an NHS bursary, the NHS will also pay your standard tuition fees, directly to your university.
If you’re studying a graduate-entry accelerated medical or dental programme, you can receive some help towards your tuition in years 2 to 4 of your programme.
How much you receive will depend on your household income, including your parents’ income, or that of your partner, spouse or civil partner.
If you started a Diploma of Higher Education (DipHE) Nursing or Operating Department Practitioner course before 1 September 2012, you will have entitlement to a basic bursary and household income is not taken into account. If you’re studying to become a doctor or dentist, applications can be made from your second year for graduate entry programmes or from your fifth year for undergraduate programmes.
If you’re an eligible full-time NHS student starting your course on or after 1 September 2012 you will receive a grant of £1,000 and a reduced payment if you study part-time. You have to apply for an NHS bursary first.
- You must have been living in the UK, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man for three years up to the start of the academic year
- You will not qualify if you’re a first level nurse or midwife and you’re registering for a second field in nursing or midwifery
- If your course starts on or after 1 August 2018 your place needs to be a full or part-time NHS-funded course which will lead to you registering as a doctor or dentist
- You can apply for an NHS bursary from your 5th year on the 5 or 6 year undergraduate course or from your 2nd year on the 4 year accelerated graduate course
If your course started in the 2017 to 2018 academic year your place must be on a full or part-time NHS-funded course which will lead to you registering as; a doctor or dentist (you can apply for an NHS bursary from the 5th year on the 5 or 6 year undergraduate course or from your 2nd year on the 4 year accelerated graduate course), a dental hygienist or a dental therapist.
If your course began before 1 August 2017 your place must be on a full or part-time NHS-funded course which will lead to you registering as:
- A doctor or dentist (you can apply for an NHS bursary from the 5th year on the 5 or 6 year undergraduate course or from your 2nd year on the 4 year accelerated graduate course)
- A chiropodist (including a podiatrist), dietician, occupational therapist, orthoptist, physiotherapist, prosthetist, orthotist, radiographer, radiotherapist, audiologist or a speech and language therapist
- A dental hygienist or dental therapist
- A nurse, midwife or operating department practitioner (on a degree or diploma course)
How to apply
A bursary needs to be applied for every academic year. You have to create a Bursary Online Support System (BOSS) account on the NHS Student Bursaries website, after being offered a place at your university or college. The first time you make an application you will need to provide evidence of your identity including a photograph of yourself, for example a birth certificate and a valid passport.
Once your application has been approved, NHS Student Bursaries will email you to advise you that your bursary is available for you to view in your BOSS account. You will then be able to apply to Student Finance England for a reduced rate loan.
NHS Student Bursaries
T: 0300 330 1345
Fax: 01253 774491
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm
Saturday 9am to 3pm
NHS Student Bursaries
You will be entitled to a reduced loan and what you receive will be based on where you live and study and whether you’re in the final year of your course.For the 2019 to 2020 academic year the rates are:
- £3,354 for students studying living away from home (in London)
- £2,389 for students studying away from home (outside London)
- £1,793 for students living at home
You can make an application through your BOSS account if you have an adult or child that is financially dependent on you during your training.The amount you receive will depend on your household income.
If you have a dependant child you might be able to get an NHS Bursary Childcare Allowance, you will need to apply for the Dependants’ Allowance first. How much you receive will depend on your circumstances and your household income. You will not be awarded the childcare allowance if you’re not entitled to the NHS bursary (known as a ‘Fees Only award’).
You can make an application on the NHS Student Bursaries website.
Parent Learning Allowance
You will need to apply for the Dependants’ Allowance first and if you're application includes a dependent child, you will be automatically assessed for the Parent Learning Allowance. The amount you will receive will depend on your household income, but it could be up to £1,204 per academic year.
Disabled Students’ Allowances
If you are disabled and need to pay expenses because of your; physical disability, long-term health condition, mental-health difficulty, or a specific learning difficulty like Dyslexia you may be eligible for this allowance. The amount you receive is up to:
- £20,725 for someone to help you
- £5,214 for specialist equipment to cover the full course
- £1,741 for additional costs
You can make an application via your BOSS account.You will need to provide medical evidence to support your application, such as a report from a qualified professional.
Practice placement expenses
You might qualify for help with travel costs if you do a practice placement in a; hospital or community health centre and not at your university. The cost of travel must be more to travel to your placement than it costs to travel to your university. You can make a claim for your expenses on the NHS Student Bursaries website.
Social work bursaries
For students training for social work you may be able to get a bursary to help with; living costs and tuition fees. A social work bursary does not have to be repaid and isn't determined by your household income.
The amount you receive will be determined by; where you study, if you're studying full or part-time and the cost of your tuition. The bursary will be paid in three instalments, one per term.
A Social work bursary is available to eligible social work students that:
- Don’t receive funding from their employer, and;
- The social work course is an approved undergraduate or postgraduate course, and;
- You don’t already have a higher education social work qualification
You can download an application form from NHS Business Services Authority
If you’re studying on an employment-based course including a direct Open University course, you will not be eligible for a bursary.
If you are doing an undergraduate social work course, you can apply for the Maintenance Loan part of the main student finance package from Student Finance England.
You can also receive student finance for either full or part-time teacher training courses such as, initial teacher training (ITT) (including early years) and school-centred initial teacher training (SCITT)
You might be eligible for extra help if you’re disabled.
You can also receive student finance for either full or part-time teacher training courses such as, ITT (not including early years),Postgraduate Certificate of Education (PGCE) and SCITT. You might also be eligible for a training bursary from the Department for Education (DfE).
To assist you with travel expenses you may be eligible to receive a travel grant, which you don't need to repay. Your permanent place of residence needs to be in England and either:
- As part of your course, you're required to study abroad, or;
- You’re on an Erasmus study or Erasmus work placement, or;
- You’re studying abroad as a medical or dental student, or;
- You’re attending a clinical placement in the UK
How it works
The first £303. of your travel expenses must be paid by you and your travel grant will be reduced by £1. for every £8.73 of household income over £39,796. Household income includes:
- Your own income
- Your parents or guardian's income
- Your spouse or partners income (if they live with you)
Income from other family members you live with is disregarded.
To qualify for a travel grant you are required to attend an overseas institution, which must be for at least half of each academic term and the study can be compulsory or optional. You will also qualify for a travel grant if you’re on an Erasmus study or Erasmus work placement.
You will be able to receive help for:
- Essential expenses, medical insurance and travel visas
- A maximum of three return journeys from your home to the overseas institution within the full academic year
- If you're a single parent, you might be eligible for help with your children’s travel costs
To make an application, you use your Student Finance England account. If you don’t already have an account you can register and set one up. Student Finance will then send you a course abroad form.
If you qualify for the travel grant the money will be paid directly into your bank account, once you've completed and returned the form. You will need to send copies of your receipts for all of the expenses you are applying for.
UK clinical placements
If you’re receiving an income dependent Maintenance Loan or Maintenance Grant you may be entitled to receive help with your travel costs between your home and the hospital or facility where you’re doing your placement. Once you have applied for student finance for clinical study a travel grant form will be sent to you, providing you’re eligible.
The clinical placement needs to be an essential part of your medical or dental course. Furthermore, if you’re eligible for means-tested bursaries or awards from the Department of Health you will not qualify for a travel grant.
Other bursaries, scholarships and awards
Bursaries, like grants do not have to be repaid. If you are a student in higher education and awarded money directly from your university or college this will be in addition to your student finance. Each university or college will have their own rules to determine who can qualify and how much to award. You should contact your student support service to find out how to apply and what’s available.
You can apply for bursaries from your local authority and your university or college if you’ve been in local authority care. You could receive a one-off bursary of £2,000 from your local authority and a bursary from your university or college.
If you are experiencing financial hardship your university or college may be able to assist with extra funds you don't need to repay or a loan that you must repay. They may help if:
- You're a student with children, in particular if you're a single parent
- You're a mature student with existing financial commitments
- You're from a low-income family
- You have a disability
- You're a care leaver
- You're homeless or living in a foyer
To make a request for assistance you should get in touch with your student services department at your university or college and provide details of the following:
- How much student finance you have been awarded (a letter from Student Finance England
- Your bank statements and rent statement, detailing your expenses
The student services department will consider your situation and notify you of their decision.
A Hardship fund payment from your university or college will not normally be counted as income when working out your entitlement to benefits or tax credits, but it will be taken into account if it is for day-to-day living costs.
Students with dependent children or adults
For information about grants and initiatives available to help you with childcare, please refer to our factsheet Help with childcare costs - support for students.