If you have just received your A Level results and are planning to head off to University in September, then you may be able to apply for student finance, where you borrow money that will help you pay for your tuition fees or costs of living.
What loans or grants can I receive as a full-time or part-time student?
If you are a full-time student, there are two different types of loan that you can apply for; a Tuition Fee Loan or a Maintenance Loan.
If you apply for a Tuition Fee Loan, it is paid directly to your place of study and you have to pay it back once you earn over a certain amount (£21,000), and the repayments will be taken out of your salary. You can also apply for a Maintenance Loan, which will help cover your living costs. This is paid directly into your bank account, but again, you have to pay this back.
As well as a Maintenance Loan you may also be able to apply for a Maintenance Grant, which like the loan can help with living costs. You do not have to pay this grant back; however, it might lower how much Maintenance Loan you receive.
Instead of a Maintenance Grant, you may be eligible for a Special Support Grant if you qualify to receive Income Support, Housing Benefit or Income Related Employment and Support Allowance. You will receive the same amount as a Maintenance Grant, but it won’t lower your Maintenance Loan. You will find out if you can receive this grant when you apply for Student Finance.
If you are a part time student, you can potentially apply for a Tuition Fee Loan, but the course you are studying should have a ‘course intensity’ of 25% or more. You can find out what your ‘course intensity’ is through your University or College. The same as a full-time student, your Tuition Fee Loan is paid directly to your place of study and you are required to pay it back.
Who is eligible to apply for student finance?
To be eligible for Student Finance, your place of study should be a University or College that offers a qualifying course. You should check with your place of study to find out if your course if recognised.
If you are on your first Higher Education qualification, you should be eligible for student finance. If you have studied before, there are some exceptions to this, such as if you have changed courses. Whether you are eligible or not also depends on your nationality or residency status, such as if you are a UK national, or have been living in the UK for the last 3 years before starting your course.
How do I apply?
You can apply for Student Finance online by setting up an online account and completing an application form. The application deadline is 9 months after the first day of the academic year for your course, for example if the first day of the academic year is 1st September 2016, the Student Finance deadline is 31st May 2017.
To find out more about student finance, visit https://www.gov.uk/student-finance/overview and to apply, visit https://www.gov.uk/apply-online-for-student-finance.
Also, if you have a student loan and are self-employed, make sure to acknowledge this on your tax return.