A student loan is a government loan that is available to help you financially while you are studying at higher education level. Student loans are cheaper than those offered by commercial banks, building societies and other lenders. They are available for maintenance (living costs such as accommodation and study materials) and for tuition fees.
The amount of maintenance loan that you can receive depends on your household income, where you live, when you start your course, the year of study and your age. Tuition fee loans are enough to cover the tuition for your course. To get an overall idea of the amount of financial support you could receive, use the entitlement calculator available on the relevant student finance website (see below). You may also be entitled to receive additional bursaries and scholarships.
Loans are available for both full-time and part-time students applying for undergraduate courses (part-time students must be studying for at least 25% of a full course load). Anyone under 60 can apply for a maintenance loan if they meet the residence requirements. (In Scotland students must be under the age of 50, or aged 50 – 54 if they intend to return to work after completing their studies.) There is no upper age limit for the tuition fee loan. If you hold an equivalent or higher level qualification to the one that you are going to study, you will not be eligible for a student loan.
You will need to indicate that you are interested in applying for a loan when you apply for student financial support. Online applications can be made through the relevant student finance website (details below).
More information about student loans for students in England can be obtained from the government information website. Students in Scotland can visit the Student Awards Agency for Scotland website; students in Wales can visit the Student Finance Wales website; students in Northern Ireland can visit the Student Finance Northern Ireland website.
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