This information is for students starting a course in September 2020 whose home is in England, the EU/EEA or Switzerland and who will be studying at the University of Westminster. It will not normally be relevant for International students and students with a Tier 4 (General) visa.

EU/EEA nationals and family members should also visit our EU, EEA and Swiss students page.

The following information outlines the funding available from Student Finance England (SFE) for full-time undergraduate courses, the eligibility rules and how to apply.

If your home is in another part of the UK, visit one of the following instead:

Student Finance England (SFE) provide a Maintenance Loan for living costs, a Tuition Fee Loan and additional grants for dependent children/adults and/or those with a disability.  To qualify for any of this funding you must meet the eligibility rules so it’s important to check you qualify before you start your course, especially if your circumstances are complex.

Quick Eligibility check

If any of the following apply to you, we recommend you contact Student Advice before you start your course to discuss your eligibility to receive SFE funding:

  • I already hold a degree level qualification
  • I have been living outside the UK/EEA/Switzerland during some or all of the last three years
  • I am not a UK or EU national and I am waiting for the outcome of an application to the Home Office to grant my immigration status
  • I am not a UK or EU national but have been granted limited or discretionary leave to remain by the Home Office
  • I am not a UK or EU national, but a member of my family is a UK or EU national
  • I have previously attended a higher education course (See the information below)
  • I will be aged 60 plus when I start my course. Also read the section about eligibility below.

Previous study at degree level in the UK or abroad and how this affects funding

In most cases if you already have a qualification that is equivalent to or higher than a UK Honours degree, you will not qualify for any SFE funding for a new course except for the additional grants for dependents or disability. You will have to pay the tuition fees for the entire course yourself.

If you obtained a qualification below a UK Honours degree e.g. an ordinary degree, HND or HNC, your Tuition Fee Loan entitlement for a new course is reduced. It does not matter whether you attended that course on a full-time or part-time basis.

If you have previously attended a full-time higher education course but did not complete it and did not obtain a qualification, your entitlement to receive the Tuition Fee Loan is also reduced and you may have to pay your own tuition fees for some or your entire course.

It does not matter whether you attended or obtained your qualification in the UK or in a different country.

For further information about how previous study and qualifications affect your funding, visit our previous studies page.

Help to pay tuition fees

An SFE Tuition Fee Loan of up to £9,250 is available to pay the course tuition fee providing you meet the SFE eligibility rules.  Check the section below for information about eligibility.  The loan is paid directly to the University in three instalments during the year.  This loan is repayable.

This Loan is not assessed against household income, so your income or your family's income will not affect the amount available to you.  If you decide not to apply for any Tuition Fee Loan or only apply for a loan to cover part of your fees, remember that you will need to pay the outstanding balance to the University yourself.  If you change your mind, it is possible to increase the amount of loan you have requested.

Help with living and study costs

This is an outline of the maximum Maintenance Loans and additional grants available for students starting in September 2020. Remember you must meet the SFE eligibility rules – see below.

The Maintenance Loan is paid for your living and study costs. This is paid directly to you, normally in three instalments at the start of each term. If you live away from your parents' home while you study, the maximum available is £12,010 and if you live with your parents it’s £7,747.  Final year students receive a lower rate of loan. This loan is repayable.

A higher rate of Maintenance Loan is available if you meet one of the following requirements:

  • You are a single parent with a child under 20, or
  • You qualify for a means tested benefit while you study such as Income Support, Housing Benefit or income-related Employment and Support Allowance, or
  • You have been officially incapable of work for a continuous period of at least 28 weeks, or
  • You have a disability, and qualify for the Disability Premium or Personal Independence Payment/Disability Living Allowance or,
  • You are deaf and qualify for Disabled Students’ Allowances, or
  •  You have taken time out of your course due to an illness or caring responsibility that has now ended

If you qualify for the higher rate of Maintenance Loan, the maximum available is £13,098 if you live away from your parents' home while you study, and if you live with your parents its £9,140. Final year students receive a lower rate of loan. If you fall into one of these groups you may also be eligible to claim benefits as a student.  Visit our State Benefits page for information about who can claim benefits as a student and how your student funding affects these.

Part of the Maintenance Loan is assessed using your household income. See the later section about this to find out whose income counts. If your household income is too high for the full loan to be paid or you do not provide details of your household income, you can still get a minimum amount of loan: £5,981 if you live away from your parents’ home or £3,410 if you live with them.

For further information about these loans, visit:

You may also be eligible for:

A Disabled Students’ Allowance to help pay for additional study needs. Amounts paid vary. This is a grant and does not need to be repaid. Visit the Disability Funding page for more information or visit Student Finance England.

Additional grants for dependents, eg for a child or partner. These are grants and do not need to be repaid. They are assessed using household income and financial dependence on you. These are paid directly to you in three instalments at the beginning of each term. The financial assessment used to calculate your entitlement to these grants differs from the one used for the Maintenance Loan so receipt of this loan does not guarantee you will also receive these grants.  The following grants are available:

  • A Parents' Learning Allowance of up to £1,766 to help with additional costs for your child.
  • A Childcare Grant towards the cost of Ofsted-registered or Ofsted-approved childcare. This grant can cover up to 85% of your childcare costs, up to a maximum of £174.22 for one child and £298.69 for two or more children. It will never cover 100% of your childcare costs. Tip: always keep receipts/evidence for each childcare payment in case SFE request further evidence during your course.
  • An Adult Dependent Grant of up to £3,094 paid for an adult who is dependent on you financially, for example, a partner with little or no income.

For more information about the additional grants available visit Student Finance England.

Eligibility information

Previous study and how this affects funding for a new course

In most cases if you already have a qualification that is equivalent to, or higher than, a UK Honours degree, you will not qualify for a Maintenance Loan or Tuition Fee loan for a new course. It does not matter whether you attended or obtained your qualification in the UK or in a different country.

If you previously attended a full-time higher education course but did not complete it or you obtained a qualification below a UK Honours degree, eg an ordinary degree, HND or HNC, the number of years you can receive the Tuition Fee Loan for is reduced. You remain eligible for the Maintenance Loan and/or additional grants for a new course.

If you previously studied a part-time higher education course but did not obtain a qualification, this will not affect your full-time funding for a new course.

Additional grants for dependents and disability are not affected by previous study.

There is an exception for MArch (RIBA part II) students. Have a look at the FAQs below for further information. There is also an exception if your new course is an architecture degree.  See our Previous Studies page or contact Student Advice to discuss this.

If you cannot get a Tuition Fee Loan for some or all of your course, you will have to pay your own tuition fees.

For further information about how previous study and qualifications affect your funding, visit the Previous Studies page or contact Student Advice.

General eligibility

You must also meet the main eligibility rules related to nationality, UK/EEA/Swiss residence and immigration status in the UK.  In most cases, to be eligible for the Maintenance Loan, Tuition Fee Loan and additional grants you will need either three or five years' ordinary residence in the UK/EEA or Switzerland that was not wholly or mainly for the purpose of education. SFE will normally require evidence of your residence.

Here are some examples:

  • UK nationals require at least three consecutive years of ordinary residence in the UK by the 1 September of their first year and they must be resident in England on this date.
  • To receive the same funding, EU nationals require at least 5 years continuous UK residence by this date and must also be resident in England on this date.
  • If an EU/EEA national or a relevant family member works in England (EU/EEA migrant worker), the 5 years of UK residence is not required.
  • Residence in the UK is not required at all for EU nationals applying for the EU Tuition Fee loan but no other SFE funding.
  • Non UK/EU/EEA nationals who are over 18 may need to prove they have been resident in the UK over half their life or at least 20 years by the 1 September at the start of the course.

EU and EEA nationals and family members should read our dedicated EU/EEA funding page for further details.

As you can see the eligibility rules are complex.  There are many ways to qualify.  Specific requirements apply to EU nationals, Swiss nationals, Turkish workers, refugees, people with long UK residence, and those with discretionary leave or indefinite leave to remain in the UK.  Relevant family members may also qualify, eg a spouse or dependent child.

For a detailed explanation about who qualifies, visit UKCISA. If you are unsure about your eligibility, it is important to get advice before you start your course – contact our Student Advisers.

You can also find information on the Student Room and on the SFE website.

Please note: If you meet the eligibility rules, always make sure you can provide suitable evidence to prove this as SFE could request this. SFE will always require original immigration documents and proof of immigration status. If you cannot provide the relevant evidence SFE can refuse funding, withdraw funding or ask for money to be repaid.

Household income and how it affects funding

Household income can be the income of a parent/s, a parents’ co-habiting partner, a husband or wife, or a co-habiting partner. It includes earned/taxable income, eg earnings from work and unearned income such as interest from saving or income from letting out a property.

This income is used to calculate your entitlement to the Maintenance Loan and any grants for children or adult dependents.

Assessments are based on the previous tax year. If you are beginning your studies in September 2020, the assessment is based on the income from the 2018/19 tax year. If you know that the current household income has dropped by at least 15% since then, you can ask for the current tax year's income to be used instead.

If you are 25 or older at the start of any academic year (1 September each year), you can be assessed on your own income and, if relevant, the income of your spouse or co-habiting partner.  Your parents' income is no longer required.

If you are under 25 at the start of an academic year (1 September each year), your parents’ income will be required to make a financial assessment, unless:

  • You can prove you’ve financially supported yourself for a full three years before the first day of the first academic year of your course (1 September for courses that start in September)
  • You married before the first day of an academic year of your course (you’ll need to provide details of your spouse’s income)
  • You have no living parents
  • Your parents live outside of the European community and contacting them may put them in jeopardy, for example if you’ve been awarded asylum or a similar status
  • Your parents cannot be traced or it’s not possible or practical to contact them
  • You are responsible for a person under the age of 18 on the first day of the academic year
  • You’ve been under the care of a local authority throughout any three-month period on or after you turned 16 and before the first academic year of your course
  • You're irreconcilably estranged from your parents. See below.

Estranged students

Parental income is not normally required if you are in care or have just left care.  It is also not required if SFE accept you are estranged from your parents. This is usually when a person has no contact or very limited contact and support from their parent/s. To be estranged under the SFE rules you must have had no contact or very limited contact with parents for at least one year although it is also possible to be considered estranged if the relationship with your parents has broken down within the last year. You cannot be considered estranged simply because you do not get on with your parents, have recently argued with them, or do not live with them. Similarly, you will not be considered estranged if your parents are unwilling to complete the income assessment forms or support you financially.

As each case is assessed individually, Student Finance England will normally require reliable, independent evidence of your estrangement, eg a police or social services report, or evidence from a teacher/tutor or from Jobcentre Plus proving you claimed Income Support as a young person because of estrangement.

Stand Alone is an organisation that supports adults who are estranged from their family. Have a look at their guides to proving estrangementInformation is also available on UCAS.

If you are unsure about your circumstances, do not have evidence or are unsure what to provide as evidence of estrangement contact, contact Student Advice to talk this through.

Applying for SFE funding

It’s important to apply for your funding as early as possible before you start your course as it can take time for an application to be decided. Do not wait for a course offer as you can update these details later.  If you are late applying, the closing date for applications is 31 May after you start your course.

Applications can normally be made from February/March onwards each year.  Keep checking with SFE as they will confirm when applications open for 2020/21.

If you are applying for the Tuition Fee Loan and the Maintenance Loan and additional grants apply online.  Paper application forms can be submitted instead and new students should use the PN1 form. You will need a valid passport and National Insurance number. If you do not have a National Insurance number, you can apply for one on the website or SFE can apply for one on your behalf as part of the funding application process, although this can take some time to arrange. If you do not hold a UK passport or a valid passport/Identity card for another country, you will need your original Home Office documents to confirm your identity and immigration status in the UK.

If you are applying for the EU Tuition Fee loan only, you must apply using a paper application form called a EU20N – applications cannot be made online. You will need a valid passport or National Identity Card.

For more information, visit the SFE website.

Who to contact for help with SFE funding

The Student Advice team at the University can provide tailored advice about your eligibility for SFE funding, can help if things go wrong with the application process and/or liaise with SFE on your behalf.

The Disability Learning Support Team can help with issues related to the Disabled Student’s Allowance.

You can also contact Student Finance England.

Frequently asked questions

This is not my first course. Will this affect my funding?

Yes. If you have previously studied on a higher education course anywhere in the world, not just the UK, this will affect your entitlement to receive Student Finance England funding. This applies whether you completed the course or just attended a course for a few days.

For full details, visit our previous study page.

I have an Architecture degree, can I get funding for MArch (RIBA Pt II)?

If you studied full-time and received SFE funding for your undergraduate course and undertook one year of work experience before continuing onto MArch, you should be eligible for SFE funding for MArch. If you studied your undergraduate degree part-time or took more than a year out between completing your undergraduate degree and starting MArch Riba Pt II, contact Student Advice to check your funding entitlement.

I am repeating/re-taking a year. Will my SFE funding be affected?

It could. It depends on whether you have previously repeated a year or suspended mid-way through a year or if you have any attendance on an earlier degree level course.

For details, visit our repeat-year funding page.

Will a placement year affect my SFE funding?

Yes, in most cases it will. Read our placement information page for further details.

Check your tuition fee liability with your Faculty Registry Office and the Finance Office. If you are eligible to receive student funding and have a fee liability, you can apply for a Tuition Fee Loan to cover this.

How do I repay a loan?

The Student Loans Company (SLC) manage loan repayments.

If you began your course in September 2012 or later, you only start repaying when you are earning more than £26,575 each year before tax. Repayments start in April, following course completion or following withdrawal from a course.

Your repayments are linked to your earnings, not the level of your student loan debt. If you earn above £26,575, you will pay the equivalent of 9% of your earnings.

Interest is added from the day the loans are paid to you. The amount of interest charged is lower while you study, but increases when you stop studying and will be based on your earnings.

Visit the Student Loans Company for further details.

What other funding is available?

If you’ve been classed as a UK Home student, you can apply to the Living Expenses Support Scheme when you have enrolled on your course. 

Charities and Trusts offer financial support to people in need. Each one has its own eligibility criteria and application process. For example, you may need to live in a certain area and be under a certain age or have an unexpected financial difficulty during your study. This is a useful option to investigate, but should not be viewed as a way to meet all your study needs, as the sums involved can be quite small.

The Turn2Us website has a free online trust fund search. 

If you are an architecture student, have a look at the RIBA Student Support Fund Fund.

If you are in the process of making an application to study at Westminster or have accepted an offer, have a look at our Scholarships page.