Student funding for uni
Not sure how to afford a degree? Here's a handy guide to student funding for uni, including grants, loans and bursaries.
Full-time HE students
All eligible students can get help with tuition fees and living costs through Student Loans. You'll be able to take out two Student Loans per academic year - one for tuition fees and another for maintenance, which covers day-to-day expenses and accommodation. How much you get depends on your household income. Student Loans have to be paid back, but you don't have to start making repayments until you've left your course and are earning over a certain amount.
Maintenance Grant and Special Support Grant
These grants, which don't have to be repaid, are to help with accommodation and other living costs while you're on a full-time higher education course. If you qualify, you'll receive either one or the other - more often than not it will be a Maintenance Grant. However, you could qualify for the Special Support Grant if you receive Income Support or another means-tested benefit, such as Housing Benefit.
Bursaries are extra sources of help from your university or college that don't have to be repaid. Institutions in England will offer at least a minimum bursary payment if you're getting the full Maintenance Grant or Special Support Grant.
A number of organisations offer grants on top of the student finance package provided by the Government. You can find information at most public libraries, or you can ask a student advisor at your college or university. Useful publications include: the Educational Grants Directory; the Charities Digest; the Grants Register; and the Directory of Grant Making Trusts.
You may qualify for extra help on top of Student Loans, grants and bursaries if you're disabled, or you have a mental health condition or specific learning difficulty. Extra help may also be available if there's a child or an adult who depends on you financially.
Help for disabled students
If you have an impairment, health condition (including a mental health condition) or specific learning difficulty, like dyslexia, you may be entitled to claim extra financial help. This is paid on top of anything you get through the standard student finance package and includes:
- Disabled Students' Allowance: Grants to help with extra costs you may face as the direct result of an impairment, health condition or learning difficulty. These allowances don't have to be repaid and are not affected by your household income.
- Access to Learning Fund: A fund for full- or part-time students in England who are in hardship. You may be able to get help with course costs, living costs, childcare costs and emergency payments.
- Disability Living Allowance (DLA): A tax-free benefit for children and adults who need help with personal care or have walking difficulties because they are physically or mentally disabled. DLA isn't affected by savings or income and doesn't have to be paid back.
- Employment and Support Allowance (ESA): People claiming this allowance have access to a trained personal advisor and are expected to take steps to prepare for work.
Funding options for part-time HE students
Fee grant and course grant
Depending on your circumstances, you may be able to apply for the part-time Fee Grant (for help with tuition fees) or Course Grant (to help study with books, materials and travel). How much you get depends on your household income and personal circumstances. If you're getting certain benefits, you'll qualify for the maximum automatically. Otherwise, how much you can get depends on your personal circumstances and household income. You don't have to pay back these grants.
If you are in training for social work, medicine or certain areas of healthcare, you may be able to get a bursary through the NHS. DirectGov outlines the help available to students ordinarily resident in England. In some cases this help is paid on top of the standard finance package available to other higher education students, and in other cases instead of it.
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