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Student Support

Students in universities and colleges of higher education may be able to get help with tuition fees, the costs of their course and their living expenses by getting student support in the form of student grants (including bursaries) or loans from the Government.

1. What is student support?

Students in universities and colleges of higher education may be able to get help with tuition fees, the costs of their course and their living expenses by getting student support in the form of student grants (including bursaries) or loans from the Government.

A grant does not have to be paid back. A student loan has to be paid back later when you start earning over a certain amount.

Applies to: England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland

Taxable: No

Administered by: Student Finance in each country of the UK

2. How much student support will I get?

The amount of help you can get depends on where you are studying, where you are living whilst studying, the fees charged by your university or college and your family circumstances.

Some students could get extra financial help, for example:

•    single parents
•    student parents if they have a partner who is also a student
•    students with certain disabilities

See the information on Student Finance on the Gov.UK website for more details (link opens in a new window)

3. How do I claim student support?

You can apply online or on paper. Follow the links below for the applications forms.

•    More information on loans and grants in England (link opens in a new window)
•    More information on loans and grants in Wales (link opens in a new window)
•    More information on loans and grants in Scotland (link opens in a new window)
•    More information on loans and grants in Northern Ireland (link opens in a new window)

If you are a national of another European Union country, contact Student Finance Services European Team

What documents will I need?

You must provide your passport. If you do not have a passport, you can send your original birth certificate (or adoption certificate). If you send either of these documents, they must be accompanied by an identity confirmation form. Ask the Student Finance organisation for the country of the UK you live in where you get this from.

Depending on your circumstances, you may have to supply other evidence. For example, if you are claiming extra money because of a disability, you will need to provide evidence of the disability, such as a letter from a doctor.

If you will be under 25 at the start of the academic year, and you are married or in a civil partnership, you need to send your original marriage or civil partnership certificate.

4. How does student support affect benefits?

The rules about how student income, such as grants (including bursaries) and loans, affects benefits entitlement are quite complicated. If this concerns you, we suggest you seek further information from a benefits adviser. You can use our Find an Adviser tool to find a local one.

Benefits where student support is ignored

Student loans or grants are not taken into account as income for:

•    contribution-based Jobseeker's Allowance
•    contribution-based Employment and Support Allowance
•    Pension Credit
•    Disability Living Allowance
•    Personal Independence Payment
•    Attendance Allowance
•    Incapacity Benefit
•    Carer's Allowance
•    Child Benefit

Student income is not taken into account for Housing Benefit or Council Tax Support if you (or your partner) receive:

•    Income Support
•    income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
•    income-related Employment and Support Allowance or

*are of Pension Credit age

Benefits where student support is taken into account

Student loans or grants are taken into account as income for means-tested benefits, such as:

However, even for these benefits, some grant or loan income is ignored, including:

•    Fixed amounts for travel costs and books/equipment
•    Any allowance for tuition fees
•    A disabled student's allowance
•    An allowance to cover the cost of residential study
•    Any amount for childcare costs
•    A parent's learning allowance
•    A higher education grant
•    A special support grant
•    A higher education bursary for care leavers.

5. How does student support affect tax credits?

Student loan income is ignored when working out the amount of Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit you will get.

Some student grant income is ignored for Tax Credits, including:

•    any amount for tuition fees
•    a postgraduate maintenance grant
•    certain bursaries (such as a health bursary or social work bursary)
•    childcare grants
•    a parents’ learning allowance.

If you don’t apply for student income, which you could claim, you can still be treated as if you have that money. This is called “notional income.”

The period over which student grant and loan income is taken into account

Most student income is averaged out over only the weeks of the year when you are studying (usually 42/43 weeks), but there are exceptions:

  • Some student income is averaged over the whole year (52 weeks), such as some National Health Service (NHS) bursaries and postgraduate awards

  • If you are on a “sandwich course” your grant income is normally not taken into account for the periods when you are on the placement or work experience part of the course

  • If you stop being a full-time student before the end of your course, your grant or loan income may still be treated as income, until the date your course should have ended or until the date you repay your grant.

 

Updated October 2016