Student finance options

Most students cover the costs of university through a combination of loans, part-time work, scholarships, bursaries and grants, and family support.

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The funding available to you will vary depending on:

  • Nationality and your country of residence
  • Household income
  • Household postcode (and if you live in an area of the UK where few people study at university)
  • If you’re studying full-time or part-time
  • If you have any dependents (children or adults)
  • If you are managing a disability or a long-term health condition
  • If you are care experienced or estranged from your family

It will take time to find out about the funding available to you, so start looking into student finance as soon as possible. You also need to be aware of when you are borrowing money, such as a loan, and it has to be paid back with interest, and when you are receiving money that does not need to be paid back, such as a scholarship, bursary or grant.  

It can be useful to break down the costs of going to university into two categories because often a funding source will contribute to the costs of one of these:  

  • Tuition fees
  • Living costs (rent, food, travel, mobile phone, study materials, social life, clothes etc)

The government support for UK students is managed through different agencies and you apply to the agency based on where you live now (not on where you will be studying):

  • England: tuition fee loan and maintenance loan from Student Finance England
  • Wales: tuition fee loan, Welsh Government Learning Grant, Special Support Grant, Maintenance Loan from Student Finance Wales
  • Scotland: tuition fee loan, bursary and loan from Student Awards Agency Scotland
  • Northern Ireland: tuition fee loan, maintenance loan, maintenance grant, special support grant from Student Finance Northern Ireland

Further information is available for UK and EU students and for international students.

Get more information on student finance