If you’ve studied before and are returning to university or you’re repeating a year, this can affect your student finance.

If you’ve studied before

You’ll normally only get student finance for your first degree or higher education qualification, even if you studied a long time ago, or if the course was abroad.

The number of years that you can get a Tuition Fee Loan for is normally calculated as:

Even if you only attended your course for a short time, it would still count as a year of previous study.

Extra year of tuition fee support

If you were unable to progress to the next year of your course, or had to leave due to personal reasons, you could get an extra year of tuition fee support.

Common reasons for applying for an extra year include:

  • mental health
  • illness
  • bereavement
  • pregnancy
  • a caring responsibility

This list does not include all acceptable reasons. Student Finance England will review each application on an individual basis. However, applications cannot be based on:

  • financial hardship
  • not liking your course
  • reasons within your control

How to apply

As soon as you’ve applied for student finance, you should upload evidence of your personal reasons for repeating a year or leaving your course.

It’s vital you upload a cover letter which contains your Customer Reference Number (CRN), and explains the situation and how it affected your studies.

Examples of evidence you can upload to prove these personal reasons include:

  • a letter on headed paper from a professional person, such as a doctor or a social worker, who can confirm the situation
  • a letter on headed paper from someone at your university or college, who can confirm your situation and when you left the course
  • copies of birth or death certificates

Visit our page for help uploading your documents.

Unable to provide the standard evidence?

If you do not have any of the evidence listed, you should upload a cover letter explaining your situation in as much detail as possible, along with any evidence you feel supports your application.

After you apply

It can take six to eight weeks to review your evidence. Once we’ve made a decision we’ll contact you to let you know the outcome of your application.