Full-time undergraduate students

This information is for students 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 national funding page.

Student Finance England (SFE) provide funding for undergraduate courses.  You must meet their eligibility rules to qualify. It’s important you check the rules and apply for your funding early to ensure you are assessed before you start your course.

Eligible full-time students starting a course in September 2017 or later can apply for an SFE Tuition Fee loan, a Maintenance Loan for living costs and additional grants for dependent children or dependent adults.

The following information outlines the funding available, the eligibility rules and how to apply.

If your home is in another part of the UK, visit one of these websites:

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 study page.

Quick check

If any of the following apply to you, you may not qualify for the SFE Tuition Fee Loan, Maintenance Loan or Grants so it’s vital that you contact Student Advice before you start your course to check your eligibility to receive these:

  • 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

Help to pay tuition fees

You can get an SFE Tuition Fee Loan of up to £9,250 to pay the full course tuition fee as long as you meet the eligibility rules as a UK/Home student or the eligibility rules as an EU/EEA student. Look at the section below on eligibility. The loan is paid directly to the University in three installments. It is repayable.

The Tuition Fee Loan is not assessed using household income, which means that your or your family's income does not affect the amount you can receive. You will need to check the tuition fee charged for your course and apply for that amount of loan. If you apply for a loan to cover just part of your fees, remember that you will need to cover the remaining tuition fee yourself.

Help with living costs

You must meet the Student Finance England eligibility rules as a UK/Home student to qualify. EU/EEA nationals and their family member may be eligible too. If Student Finance England assess you are eligible, the amount of Maintenance Loan or grants for dependent children or adults paid will depend on your household income. Please look at the later section for details about this.

Here is an outline of the maximum loans and grants available for new students starting a full-time course in September 2017:

A repayable Maintenance Loan 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 home, the maximum available is £11,002 and if you live with your parents, it is £7,097.

A higher rate of Maintenance Loan is available if you are eligible to claim Social Security benefits while you are a student. Not all students can claim these while they study.  For information about who can claim visit our Social Security Benefit page. The maximum Maintenance Loan available is £11,998 and if you live with your parents it is £8,372.  

Part of this loan is assessed using your family’s household income. If your household income is too high for the full loan to be paid or you decide not provide details of your household income, you can still get a minimum loan of £5,479 if you live away from your parents’ home or £3,124 if you live with them.

For further information about these loans:

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 and read their guide for students with disabilities (PDF).

Additional grants for dependents are available e.g. for a child or partner. These are not repayable and are assessed using household income and dependence on you. These are paid directly to you in three instalments, one at the beginning of each term The financial assessment used to calculate your entitlement to these grants is different from the one used to assess the loans and receipt of the maximum loans does not mean you will automatically qualify for these grants:

  • A Parents' Learning Allowance of up to £1,617 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 £159.59 for one child and £273.60 for two or more children. It will never cover 100%. There is an application process where you declare your expected costs and your Childcare provider subsequently confirms the actual costs accrued.  However always obtain and keep receipts for each childcare payment you make in case SFE request further evidence during your course.
  • An Adult Dependent Grant of up to £2,834 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 and also read their guide to dependent grants (PDF).

The Student Parents website provides useful information for student parents.

The eligibility rules

The first step is to meet the main eligibility rules that cover nationality, UK/EEA/Swiss residence and immigration status in the UK. 

In most cases, to be eligible you will need either three of five year's 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.

There are a number of ways to qualify for SFE funding.  A common way to qualify is to be a UK national with over three consecutive years of residence in the UK immediately before 1 September of the first year of your course.  However there are many other ways to qualify and there are eligibility rules in place for EU nationals and their family members, Swiss nationals, Turkish workers, Refugees, people with long UK residence, or those with discretionary leave or indefinite leave to remain in the UK.

The eligibility rules are very complex. 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 the Student Advisers

You can also find information on the Student Room website and in the SFE guide for new full-time students (PDF)

Please note: If you meet the eligibility rules always make sure you have evidence to prove this as SFE usually request this. For example depending on how you qualify this could be:

  • original immigration documents and proof of immigration status
  • proof of residence in the UK for three, five, or more years whichever is relevant to the qualifying category
  • proof of residence in the UK on 1 September at the start of your course and/or proof of employment.

If you cannot provide the relevant evidence SFE can refuse funding, withdraw funding or ask for money to be repaid.

Remember, even if you meet the main eligibility rules, if you have any previous study on a degree level course or already hold a degree level qualification your funding entitlement will be affected.  Read our previous study page for information about how this can affect your funding.

Household income and how it affects funding

Student Finance England use household income to calculate how much Maintenance Loan and, if applicable, additional Grant/s you are entitled to receive.  The Disabled Students Allowance and Tuition Fee Loan are not income assessed.

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

Household income assessments use the previous tax year's income. For example, if you are beginning your studies in September 2017, the assessment is based on the income from the 2015/16 tax year. If you know that the current household income has dropped by 15% of more since 2015/16, you can ask for the current tax year's income to be used instead.

If you are 25 or older at the start of an academic year (1 September each year), your parents’ income is not required to make a financial assessment.  Only your own income or that of a spouse or co-habiting partner is used.

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 are irreconcilably estranged from your parents.  See below.

Estranged Students

You may fall into this category if you had no contact or very limited contact with either of your parents for at least one year. However as each case is considered individually you can still 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 because 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, e.g. 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. If you do not have evidence or are unsure what to provide contact Student Advice to talk this through.

Our Estrangement guide(PDF) also has more information about estrangement SFE purposes.

Stand Alone is an organisation that supports adults who are estranged from their family. Have a look at their guides to proving estrangement as well.  

If you are unsure of your options and would like to discuss this contact Student Advice.

Applying for SFE funding

If you qualify for the Tuition Fee Loan and the funding for living costs, you apply online although paper application forms are also available. Note that to apply for this funding, 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 Gov.uk 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.  In addition, you will need to hold a valid UK passport.  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.  You may also be asked to provide proof of UK residence.

If you are applying for the EU Tuition Fee loan only, you must apply using a paper application form called an EUPR1 form  -  you cannot apply online. You will need a valid passport or National Identity Card.

Apply for your funding as early as possible, to ensure it’s available at the start of each year of your course. Do not wait for confirmation of the university you will be studying at – you can update these details later.

Check Student Finance England for information about when to apply for courses starting in September 2017.

The annual closing date for funding applications each year is 31 May following the start of the academic year.

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?

If you studied full-time and received SFE funding for your undergraduate course, undertook your year of work experience and are continuing onto MArch, you should be eligible for SFE funding for MArch.  There is an exception in the rules that allows this.  If you studied your undergraduate degree part-time or you have taken a long gap between your year of work experience and started MArch, you may not be eligible.  Contact Student Advice to discuss this.

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.

During your placement year, you are eligible for a Tuition Fee Loan and a reduced rate of Maintenance Loan. You will not be eligible to receive any of the additional grants for children or disability.

You may, however, be eligible for the full amount of student funding, including the additional grants, if you will be on an unpaid placement that meets one of the following criteria:

  • Unpaid service in a hospital or in a public health service laboratory
  • Unpaid work in a primary care trust in the UK
  • Unpaid service with a local authority in the UK relating to the care of children and young persons, health or welfare, or with a voluntary organisation providing similar facilities or activities in the UK
  • Unpaid service in the prison or probation and aftercare service in the UK
  • Unpaid research in a UK institution or in the case of a student attending an overseas institution as a part of his course in an overseas institution
  • Unpaid service with a Health Authority, a Strategic Health Authority, a Special Health Authority or a Local Health Board; a Health Board or a Special Health Board in Scotland; or a Health and Social Services Board in Northern Ireland

Please 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 £21,000 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 £21,000, 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. The fund cannot be put towards your tuition fee costs and there is no fixed rate of grant.

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.  If you are an architecture student, have a look at the RIBA Hardship Funds.

The Turn2Us website has a free online trust fund search. Alternatively, you could look in the Educational Grants Directory, published annually by the Directory of Social Change. Student Advice have a reference copy or check with your local library. 

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.

 

 

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