Student finance – how to apply

New students

The quickest and easiest way to apply is online at www.gov.uk/studentfinance as soon as the application service opens.

1. Set up a student finance account

When you register you’ll be given a unique Customer Reference Number and be asked to create a password and secret answer. You should keep these safe as you’ll need them to log into your account to check the progress of your application and reapply for student finance next year.

2. Fill in and submit your application

The first time you apply you’ll be asked for proof of identity. You can easily do this by giving us your valid UK passport details. If you don’t have a UK passport, you may have to send us evidence. See section 3 to find out what to send.

You will also need the following information to complete your application:

  • course start date and end date
  • bank account details
  • National Insurance number

Don’t worry if you don’t know your National Insurance number or where to find it. HMRC have made it quick and easy to find this information, all you have to do is click on the link and register your details: www.gov.uk/lost-national-insurance-number

This means that you no longer have to contact HMRC directly to obtain your National Insurance number.

If you want to apply for student finance that depends on your household income, we’ll ask your parents or partner for their National Insurance number and their personal income details.

When you apply for student finance you'll need to agree to our terms and conditions

3. Send any evidence we ask for

We may contact you, or your parents/partner to ask for evidence to support your application.

If you’ve had no contact with your parents for over a year, you might be able to apply as an ‘independent student’.

 

Continuing students

To reapply for student finance, log into your student finance account and apply online as soon as the application service opens.

If you’re applying for the first time, you can do this online at www.gov.uk/studentfinance

 

Evidence

Proof of identity

UK nationals

If you don’t have a UK passport, you need to send us your original UK birth or adoption certificate.

You need to send us your original UK birth or adoption certificate. We’ll return your evidence as soon as we’ve checked it so you won’t be without your original documents for long. The sooner you apply and send your evidence, the quicker we’re able to return it. We’ll return your original documents using a secure method of post.

You’ll need to send a UK Birth/Adoption Certificate form with your birth certificate and ask someone to sign it for you and provide their details. This person must be a professional person of good standing in the community, such as a:

  • doctor
  • police officer
  • nurse
  • teacher or lecturer
  • civil servant
  • social worker

These are only a few examples. Check the full list of acceptable occupations.

 The person signing the form must also meet all of the following:

  • they must have known you for at least 2 years,
  • they must not be related to you by birth or marriage,
  • they must not be in a personal relationship with you,
  • they must not live at the same address as you,
  • they must hold a current UK passport, and
  • they must currently live in the UK.

 

Non-UK and non-EU nationals

If you’re a non-UK and non-EU national, you will need to send us your original passport or Home Office biometric residence permit card.

You’ll also need to provide us with proof of your lawful residency status in the UK for the full 3 years prior to the start of your course. Your biometric residence permit card or proof of your visa stamped in your passport are both acceptable forms of evidence to prove your status. We’ll return your original documents using a secure method of post.

 It’s important to apply early and send us your evidence as soon as possible. We’ll return your evidence as soon as we’ve checked it so you don’t need to worry about being without your original documents for long.

Do not send your original documents to us if you’re due to travel within 8 weeks as we can’t guarantee they’ll be sent back in time. Instead, you should send the evidence when you return from travelling.

 

Proof of household income

If you’re applying for finance that depends on your household income, we’ll ask your parents or partner to give us their National Insurance numbers and details of their personal income. HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) will check this information matches their records.

We may contact your parents or partner to ask for evidence of:

  • their income – if the details they give us don’t match HMRC’s records
  • their marital status – if they’re separated or divorced

Your parents or partner will need to give us financial details every year you apply for student finance. If their income is 15% lower than the prior tax year, they can submit an estimate of their financial details for the current tax year. Read our guide to find out how to do this and to download a Current Year Income application form.

 

Changing your details

If any of your details change after you’ve applied for student finance, don’t worry – you can simply update your application. Before the start of your course you can use your online account to make changes to:

  • your choice of course
  • your choice of university or college
  • the amount of loan you’re applying for
  • your personal details

You can also use your online account to change your personal details once your course has started. But if there are any changes to your course, you should contact us and let your university or college know so they can tell us too.

If you don’t tell us about a change to your circumstances, you might end up being overpaid. In this case, you might have to start repaying earlier and before your income is over the repayment threshold.