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Financial support for part-time students

Financial support for part-time studentsIf you're starting a part-time course, you can get a loan to cover the full cost of your fees, so you won't have to pay until you're earning.

Tuition fee loan

New part-time students whose courses take no more than four times as long as the equivalent full-time course get the tuition fee loan. This will be up to a maximum of £6,750 per year and is paid directly to your university. Part-time students do not qualify for maintenance loans or grants, so need to think about either working or saving up in advance to cover their living costs.

You will start paying your tuition fees loan back in either the April after you have graduated or four years after the start of your course - whichever is sooner -  and if you are earning more than £21,000 a year.

The loan goes straight to your university.

Maintenance loan

Until now, maintenance loans have only been available if you're studying full-time, which has put lots of people off part-time study. From 2018, part-time students will be able to get them too.

How much you will be able to get hasn't been announced yet, but it's likely to be based on how much of your time is spent studying.

Is there any other help available?

  • Bursaries and scholarships: Part-time students with a household income below £25,000 may currently be entitled to financial help under the National Scholarship Programme, although this will be soon be changing and universities will have to provide their own support packages. What you will get depends on your university and the length of the course. You do not have to pay bursaries or scholarships back. See our article bursaries and scholarships explained for more information.
  • Grants: The Educational Grants Service (EGS) can also help you find out what grants might be available to you. EGS provides students - especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds - with expert guidance on getting funding for education and training.
  • Hardship funds: Part-time students in financial difficulty can apply for money from hardship funds if their course lasts more than one year, but not more than two years longer than an equivalent full-time course. See our article on hardship funds for more information.
  • Benefits: Part-time students with a low household income may be able to claim income-related benefits. 
  • Disabled Students Allowance: Part-time students with disabilities can apply for a Disabled Students Allowance (DSA) to help with the costs of studying. See our article on financial help for people with disabilities for more information.
  • Professional and career development loans: Some students who do not qualify for additional financial support may be able to get a Professional and Career Development Loan. For more information visit the Professional and Career Development Loans section on Gov.uk

For Open University students

Financial support for part-time studentsSome students studying a distance learning course with The Open University are eligible for the tuition fees loan. They can also access the Open University's own loans system OUSBA (Open University Student Budget Account). See the Open University website for more information.

For part-time Initial Teacher Training courses

The financial support available is different for students on part-time Initial Teacher Training courses.

For more information visit the Initial Teacher Training section on the DirectGov Website.

If you started before 2012

Part-time students who started a course before 2012 might be entitled to a fee grant and course grant. The fee grant helps part-time students on a low income with their tuition fees whereas the course grant goes towards study costs such as books, materials and travel. These do not have to be paid back.

Whether you qualify for the grants, and how much you could get, depends on your household income and how long your course lasts compared to a full-time course. See Gov.uk for more information.

Part-time students with low incomes might also be able to get extra support from the Additional Fee Support scheme. Ask your university for more details.

Studying in Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland?

The information in this guide relates to living and studying in England. If you live in England and go to Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland to study, the amount of help you receive may vary. Contact your university, college or local authority for more information.

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