Whether you can get student finance depends on your:
- personal circumstances,
- course, and
- uni or college
Your nationality or residency status
You’ll be eligible for student finance if all of the following apply:
- you’re a UK national or have settled status (this means you have no restrictions on how long you can stay in the UK)
- you normally live in England
- you’ve been living in the UK for at least 3 years before the first day of the first academic year of your course. If you've got settled status, you must not have been resident mainly for the purposes of getting full time education
You might still be able to apply if you’re:
- an EU national, or a relative of one,
- a refugee, or a relative of one,
- under Humanitarian Protection, or a relative of someone under Humanitarian Protection,
- under 18 and have lived in the UK for at least 7 years,
- 18 or over and have lived in the UK for at least 20 years or at least half your life,
- an EEA/Swiss migrant worker, or a relative of one
- the child of a Swiss national,
- the child of a Turkish worker
- a stateless person (including eligible family members)
- granted leave to remain, or a child of someone granted leave to remain, under section 67 of the Immigration Act 2006.
To be eligible under section 67 you must have been living in the UK for at least three years before the first day of the first academic year of your course.
If you normally live in the Channel Islands or on the Isle of Man, you can’t apply to Student Finance England. You should contact the education authority on your island to find out more.
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.
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.
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
Your university or college and course
The course you plan to study must be at an eligible uni 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)
From 1 August 2018, students studying a Postgraduate healthcare course will also be able to apply for a Tuition Fee Loan.
If you’re not sure whether your course qualifies for student finance, you should check with your university or college.
You might also be eligible if you're:
- a member of the UK armed forces serving overseas
- a spouse or civil partner living with a member of the UK Armed Forces serving overseas
- a child, step-child or adoptive child living with a member of the UK Armed Forces serving overseas
- a dependent 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 students studying a distance learning course will also be able to get a Tuition Fee Loan if they’re:
- a member of the UK Armed Forces who usually lives in England but is serving in Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland
- a relative living with a member of the UK Armed Forces serving in Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland