An introduction to student finance

throwing mortarboards in air

If you want to go to university but are not sure about what help you may be able to get, all the information out there can be really overwhelming. To help make it easier for you, we have simplify the whole process and put together a one-stop shop for all things Student Finance to get you ready for the Student Finance deadline on 31st May.

What is student finance? The basics explained

Student Finance is an organisation that offers student loans. For most students, you will need to apply to Student Finance to receive your loans. There are a few exceptions (such as being a student from the EU, having studied previously etc.), but usually, you will apply online. You can do this by creating an online account and will be given a unique Customer Reference Number. This number is important because you will need it whenever you contact Student Finance and when your parents/carers support your application.

You can find out online how to apply for Student Finance whether you’re in England, Scotland,  Wales or Northern Ireland.

Who is eligible?

Whether you qualify for Student Finance depends on these key things:

  • Where you are going to study
  • The course you are going to study
  • If you’ve studied a higher education degree course before
  • Your nationality or residency status.  This means which country you live in, how long and where you were born. You can apply if the answer to all of the following is “yes”:
  1. You’re from the UK or have ‘settled status’ (there are no restrictions on how long you can stay here)
  2. You normally live in England
  3. You’ve been living in the UK, for 3 years before starting your course

You may also be eligible if you have Refugee status.

How to apply

The application doesn’t take long to complete. You will need your National Insurance Number, Passport number and bank account details.

Student Finance will ask information about the uni you want to go to, the course you want to study and how much tuition fee you want to apply for.

You also need to say whether you will be living at home or on the uni campus and how long your course will be.

At the end of the application, give your parent/carer’s details so that they can complete the household income part of your application. This will help Student Finance work out how much Maintenance Loan to give you.

Once you submit your completed form with all the information, Student Finance will send you an award letter which will include all the details you have provided, including the amount of Tuition Fee and Maintenance Loan you will get. Make sure to sign the declaration and send this back to Student Finance so they can pay your support at the start of your course.

Apply as early as possible!

The application for Student Finance normally opens in late February/early March. From February check the Student Finance website for details of when the application process opens and remind your parents so they can prepare the income information.

The deadline for 2017 is the 31st May and although applying after this date doesn’t mean you won’t get your money, it is harder to guarantee that you will receive it on time as soon as you start uni.

You can update or change details on your application even after you submit it, so it’s best to apply as soon as possible.

How much will I get?

 Student Finance loan amounts
Full-time student Loan for the 2016 to 2017 academic year Loan for the 2017 to 2018 academic year
Living at home Up to £6,904 Up to £7,097
Living away from home, outside London Up to £8,200 Up to £8,430
Living away from home, in London Up to £10,702 Up to £11,002
You spend a year of a UK course studying abroad Up to £9,391 Up to £9,654

Continuing students: Re-applying for student finance

You have to re-apply to Student Finance every year that you are studying, though after the first year, you only need to confirm that there are no changes and return the signed notification.

Sending this back is important because this is what releases your Maintenance Loan to you and the Tuition Fee to your uni.

Check your online account regularly for any correspondence alerts from Student Finance.

More information

  • The Student Room is the largest student community in the world with a range of online resources to help you get through university.
  • Go to Money Advice Service for free and impartial money advice.