How to Apply for a UK Student Loan

Attending university is exciting, scary – and expensive. The best things in life are free, according to the song, but further education isn’t, and the stress of supporting yourself through university can impact seriously on your studies.

This is where the student loan comes in, and to be sure your student loan comes through in plenty of time for the start of the academic year, you should apply early. In 2010, that means no later than 23rd April or 25th June, depending on your financial circumstances. At the time of writing, those deadlines have passed, so submit your application as soon as possible, or there may be a delay in receiving payment.

Who is eligible for a UK student loan?

You can apply for a UK student loan if you are a UK national, or have resided in the UK for at least 3 years prior to the start of the course, which should be a full time course to be certain of receiving funding. Some part time courses may qualify for support, but the procedure is different to the standard loan application.

To find out if you’re eligible, fill in the Eligibility and Residence Calculator for an estimation of your funding entitlement. This is not an offer of support – just an indication of what you may be entitled to receive.

How much support is available?

Depending on your circumstances, you could receive a maintenance loan, which is paid directly to you, and a tuition fee loan, which will be paid directly to your university or college. At the time of writing, the maintenance loan is around 3564GBP, and the tuition fee loan is 3290GBP. These figures may vary, as they were based on the writer’s personal information, including date of birth and marital status, although no financial information was submitted.

For disabled students, there are separate allowances for course equipment, non medical helpers such as a scribe to take notes, and a general allowance to cover increased costs associated with your disability. Unlike student loans, Disabled Student Allowances are not repayable and are also available for distance learning, part time, and post graduate study.

What happens next?

You need to provide proof of your identity and residence in the UK, plus proof of personal income if you are applying for a means tested loan. If you are not classed as an ‘independent student’ – over 25, with care of a child, no living parents, married or having supported yourself for the last 3 years – you will also need to supply proof of household income.

Evidence varies depending on individual circumstances, and you can apply for a non-means tested loan. Find out what you need to supply and why here.

How do I apply?

The easiest and quickest way is to apply online. To do this you need to register with Student Finance England, or call 0845 300 50 90 for advice on applying by post.

Still unsure whether you qualify for a UK student loan? Find out all you need to know here. Remember a UK student loan is just that – a loan that will have to be repaid at some stage. Look on the loan as support for higher education, rather than an extra income stream, and use it wisely.