You can get student finance to help towards your living costs while you’re at university or college. Content provided by Student Finance England.
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It can help pay for things such as rent, food, books, travel, and other expenses. Any loan you borrow needs to be paid back, but not until you’ve finished or left your course, and your income is over the repayment threshold.

The following information is for full-time students – find out about help with living costs for part-time students.


What's available?

Everyone who is eligible for student finance can get at least some Maintenance Loan, but you can apply for more that’s based on your household income.

If you started your course before 1 August 2016, you might also be able to get one of the following:

Student Finance England's guide to how you're assessed and paid for 2018/19 (2.55 MB) and their guide to how you're assessed and paid for 2019/20, explain how they work out what you can get. They've also produced a factsheet to guide you through what's available:

Student finance in your final year of study

In your final year of uni or college, you'll get less Maintenance Loan than you had in other years. This is because student finance usually covers the breaks between each year, but you're no longer entitled to it once your course has ended.

Check if you're eligible


Maintenance Loan

How much you can get depends on when you started your course, where you live, and your household income.

If your course started before 1 August 2016, the amount of Maintenance Loan you can get will be reduced by 50p for every £1 of Maintenance Grant you get.


Long Course Loan

If your course lasts longer than 30 weeks and three days, you might be able to get a Long Course Loan as well as your Maintenance Loan.

How much you can get depends on your household income, and where you’re living while studying. You’ll be able to get a Long Course Loan if you’re getting the extra Maintenance Loan that’s based on your household income.

You don’t need to complete a separate application – Student Finance England will work out whether you can get a Long Course Loan when you apply for your main student finance.

They’ll pay your Long Course Loan to you at the same time they pay your Maintenance Loan.

This table shows the maximum weekly amount you can get:

Where you're living while studying Maximum amount per additional week
2019/20 2020/21
Living with parents £63 £65
Living outside of London, away from home £96 £99
Living in London, away from home £123 £127
Living abroad £133 £137

Maintenance Grant

The amount of Maintenance Grant you can get depends on your household income and when you started your course.

A Special Support Grant replaces the maintenance grant in certain circumstances.


Special Support Grant

The Special Support Grant replaces the Maintenance Grant in certain circumstances. Student Finance England works out entitlement to the Special Support Grant in the same way as the Maintenance Grant.

If you started your course between 1 September 2012 and 31 July 2016, the full grant available is:

  • £3,694 for the 2019/20 academic year
  • £3,801 for the 2020/21 academic year

You may get a Special Support Grant if any of the following apply while you’re on your course:

  • You’re a single parent, or single foster parent, of a child or young person under 20 who is in full-time education below higher education level, or on an approved training course.
  • You have a partner who is also a full-time student, and one or both of you is responsible for a child or young person under 20 who is in full-time education below higher education level, or on an approved training course.
  • You have a disability and qualify for the Disability Living Allowance, Disability Premium, or Severe Disability Premium.
  • You qualify for Personal Independence Payment or Armed Forces Independence Payment.
  • You’re deaf and qualify for a Disabled Students’ Allowance.
  • You have been treated as incapable of work for a continuous period of at least 28 weeks.
  • You have a disability and qualify for income-related Employment and Support Allowance.
  • You’re waiting to go back to a course, having taken agreed time out from that course due to an illness or caring responsibility that has now ended.
  • You’re aged over 60.

If you’re claiming an income-related benefit, Jobcentre Plus and your local authority’s benefit section won’t take account of the Special Support Grant when working out your income.


How to apply

When you apply for student finance, you'll need to agree to Student Finance England's terms and conditions.

New students

The quickest and easiest way to apply is online at www.gov.uk/studentfinance as soon as the application service opens.

  1. Set up a student finance account
    When you register, you’ll be given a unique Customer Reference Number, and will need to create a password and secret answer. You should keep these safe, as you’ll need them to sign in to your account to check the progress of your application, and reapply for student finance next year.
  2. Fill in and submit your application
    The first time you apply, you’ll be asked for proof of identity. You can easily do this by providing your valid UK passport details. If you don’t have a UK passport, you may have to send evidence.
    If you want to apply for student finance that depends on your household income, Student Finance England will ask your parents or partner for their National Insurance number, and their personal income details.
  3. Send any evidence you're asked for
    Student Finance England may contact you, or your parents/partner, to ask for evidence to support your application. If you’ve had no contact with your parents for over a year, you might be able to apply as an ‘independent student’.

Continuing students

To reapply for student finance, sign in to your student finance account, and apply online as soon as the application service opens.

If you’re applying for the first time, you can do this online at www.gov.uk/studentfinance.


How it's paid

You need to register at your uni or college before Student Finance England can make your first payment.

You’ll usually do this in the first week of your course, and you may have to take along your student finance entitlement letter.

Student Finance England pays any Maintenance Loan and/or Maintenance Grant you can get directly into your bank account, in three instalments, usually at the start of each term.

You can find your expected payment dates in your online account, but some banks take longer to clear funds. If your money isn’t in your account in three working days, you should contact your bank – they should be able to let you know when your money will arrive.

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