Course, age and previous study

Your age

There’s no upper age limit for student finance but if you're over 60 on the first day of the first academic year of your course, you won’t be able to get the basic Maintenance Loan - you should apply for a Special Support Loan instead. The amount of loan you can get depends on your household income only.


Your previous study

Usually you can only get student finance for your first degree or higher-education qualification, even if you studied a long time ago or if the course was abroad. You might get funding for a second degree if you study an exception course such as Nursing, Midwifery or Teaching.    

As a general rule, a Tuition Fee Loan is available for the full length of your first course, plus one extra year if needed, for example, if:

  • you change your course,
  • you have to resit a year, or
  • you leave your course but start another.

The number of years for which you are eligible for funding is calculated as:

Length of current course + one year – years of previous study

You will use up one year of funding when you register, regardless of how long you actually attend the course.

If you haven’t got enough years of funding left to cover your course, you’ll have to cover some of the cost yourself. You’ll usually still be able to get a Maintenance Loan in any self-funded years of study. You may also be able to get a bursary from your university or college.

You might be able to get an extra year of tuition fee support if you need to repeat a year due to compelling personal reasons, such as bereavement or illness.

You would need to provide evidence of this. Depending on your circumstances, this could include:

  • medical evidence from your GP
  • evidence from social services
  • evidence from your university or college

Any letters you provide must be on headed paper, signed and dated.

Your university or college and course

The course you plan to study must be at an eligible university or college in the UK and one of the following:

  • first degree, eg BA, BSc or BEd
  • Foundation Degree
  • Certificate of Higher Education
  • Higher National Certificate (HNC)
  • Higher National Diploma (HND)
  • Diploma of Higher Education (DipHE)
  • Postgraduate Certificate of Education (PGCE)
  • Integrated Master's
  • Initial Teacher Training (ITT)

You could also be eligible for funding if you’re studying a Level 4 or 5 qualification with HTQ approval e.g., Certificate, Diploma or NVQ. To find out if your course is HTQ approved and qualifies for undergraduate student finance speak to your university or college.

If you’re studying a Level 4 or 5 qualification that is not HTQ approved or does not qualify for undergraduate student finance, you could still be eligible for an Advanced Learner Loan.

From 1 August 2018, students studying a Postgraduate healthcare course will also be able to apply for a Tuition Fee Loan. 

If you’re studying a degree apprenticeship course, you can’t get student finance from Student Finance England. Find out more about degree apprenticeships.

If you’re not sure whether your course qualifies for student finance, you should check with your university or college.