The level of financial support you can receive whilst at university varies according to your personal circumstances and what course you are on.
Since 2017 the majority of courses are funded either by Student Finance England, Student Finance Wales, Student Awards Agency Scotland, Student Finance NI. The level of funding provided will depend on your individual circumstances and where you choose to study.
EU Student Funding
EU students are entitled to apply for a Tuition Fee Loan and hep with living costs if you have lived int he UK for more than five years before the first day of the first academic year of your course.
The main source of funding for a taught masters degree is a Postgraduate Masters Loan. Other postgraduate courses may be funded by Studentship via UK Research and Innovation. Professional and Career Development Loans are bank loans that can help pay for a course. The loan scheme is closing and as such you must apply by 25 January 2019.
FINDAMASTERS.com has some useful information on how to fund a Masters degree and offer £12000 of scholarships. FINDAPHD.com also has funding information and £12000 of scholarships available.
A Postgraduate Doctoral Loan can help with course fees and living costs while you study a postgraduate doctoral course, such as a PhD. You will be able to apply for funding for the 2018 to 2019 academic year in summer 2018.
Undergraduates and independent status
Student Finance may classify you as independent if:
- If you are irreconcilably estranged from your parents,
- over 25 years old on the first day of the academic year in which your course starts
- you are married or in a civil partnership
- you were married or in a civil partnership and have now separated
- you have children or a dependent
- your parents/adoptive parents are deceased,
- have supported yourself for at least 36 months prior to the start of your course,
- been in local authority care for at least three months after your sixteenth birthday, and are irreconcilably estranged from your parents, you are entitled to be considered as a care leaver
- you do not know where your parents are, or they are in a country whereby it would be considered too dangerous to contact them
- your parent/s have a health problem or mental health issue and it is considered too dangerous or impractical for you to contact them
If you feel you may qualify as a independent student then this pdf guide may be useful. Standalone.org.uk also supports students who are independent.
Suspending and withdrawal
Students are entitled to enough funding to cover the length of their course, plus on year, also known as a 'gift year'. If you have to repeat units from one level twice then you could see yourself run out of tuition fee loan support. You can however continue to receive the Maintenance Loan. As soon as you tell BU you wish to suspend or withdraw, BU will notify Student Finance of your change of circumstances and your funding will be reviewed. Its important that you contact Student Finance to find out exactly how suspending or withdrawing could impact on your finance. It is also important to be aware of the BU Fees Policy to ensure you do not pay more fees than necessary. The Policy can be found on the BU website under the Finance section.
Compelling Personal Reasons
If your studies have been affected by situations or circumstances beyond your control (e.g. bereavement, illness, personal or family crisis) you can apply for Student Finance to take your circumstances into consideration under Compelling Personal Reasons and provide you with an additional year of funding (beyond the standard entitlement of the length of your course, plus the additional ‘gift’ year). This may be applicable if you transferred courses and find you have to repeat units of study over the following academic year (or, if you haven’t changed courses but you are repeating studies for a second time).
Applying to SF to have your circumstances taken into consideration could entitle you to access an additional year of Tuition Fee Loan funding (please note you could receive the Maintenance Loan without applying for Compelling Personal Reasons).
How do I Apply?
We would recommend applying in writing to: Student Finance England, PO BOX 210, Darlington, DL1 9HJ. Please ensure you include your Customer Reference Number in any correspondence. Other Student Finance England contact details can be found here.
It is important to provide an account of the underlying reasons your studies have been affected and to explain upon how your circumstances have affected your studies.
It is also very important that any request is supported with evidence, requests for additional funding are unlikely to be accepted if they are not supported with independent evidence. This could be a letter from the university (especially if the letter states you can repeat your studies uncapped due to Exceptional Circumstances), a GP letter or confirmation of hospital appointments (please note this list is not exhaustive).
What if I suspend or withdraw?
If you suspend (interrupt) or withdraw from your course the university has a duty to notify Student Finance that you have done so. If you withdraw from your course completely, you would no longer be deemed as eligible to receive Student Finance. If you suspend your studies, your payments would stop until you have re-enrolled back onto your programme, but it is possible to receive further funding whilst you have suspended your studies via Discretionary Payments.
In order to continue to receive payments whilst you have suspended your studies, the only method to achieve this would be to submit a request to Student Finance to continue funding under Discretionary Payments. Again, we would recommend submitting any request in writing and would recommend that you explain why you are unable to support yourself financially, for example this could be due to ill health and as a suspended student it would be unlikely that you would be eligible to claim any of the associated benefits.
If you have any questions, please come and speak with a SUBU Advice Worker and we can help you to prepare your case. We can review your circumstances and advise you regarding the evidence that may be available to support your request for additional funding. If required, we can draft letters to support your request and support you to make follow up enquiries to see how your application is progressing.