A full-time student for whom their degree is their first course of Higher Education is eligible to apply for tuition fee and maintenance loan funding if studying on a full-time basis, even if the student is additionally awarded a postgraduate degree and as long as the content is undergraduate level and undergraduate fees are charged.
Current student support regulations permit students to change institutions between the Year 1 and Year 2. However, students should research their funding entitlements carefully if they are considering (but not limited to) any of these further options:
changing their mode of study (e.g. from full-time to part-time study)
undertaking a specialist Masters programme
Any of these actions could limit the funding that a student is entitled to apply for, and could also affect the level of tuition fee they are expected to pay.
The relevant legislation is the Education (Student Support) Regulations 2011.
Read the legislation
Students enrolled with their universities as 'year-out' students between their year 1 and 2, for example on a 'sandwich' programme, may be entitled to apply for student loans for that year, even if they are undertaking paid practical experience. Students should seek advice from Student Finance England and from their student services department.
Can apply for a Maintenance Loan to help with their living costs. The exact amount a student can borrow will depend on various criteria, but the maximum amounts available can be found on the student finance pages at Gov.uk
If you are a part-time student you can find further information on the student finance pages at Gov.uk. In the Spending Review Autumn Statement in 2015, the government announced the intention to introduce new part-time maintenance loans from 2018-19 to support the cost of living while studying. Further information will be provided in due course.
The single course provision in the Education (Student Support) Regulations applies only where the course is undertaken on a full-time basis. Students that study begin full-time and then plan to switch to a part-time basis, or indeed study entirely on a part-time basis, cannot be treated as being on a single course and would not be entitled to apply for tuition fee or maintenance loans for the remainder of their studies. Your Part 1 degree will also be taken into account in relation to the level of tuition fees that you pay, as your fee level will be unregulated, meaning your university can set their own fee level. This means that higher fees may well be payable. However, as of 2016/17, students may be eligible for a Postgraduate Loan for a Masters course where they are ineligible for undergraduate support for this course.
Funding for studying abroad
Student studying on a course at a UK university or college who study outside the UK as part of their course can apply for full student finance. In addition, there are some special provisions for them if they're studying for at least the majority of a term abroad.
Options available if you normally live in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland
Please see the websites below for information relevant to your living situation:
Student Finance Wales
Student Awards Agency for Scotland
Student Finance Northern Ireland
Equivalent or lower qualifications (ELQs) – Do you already have a degree?
The provision of student funding is generally focussed on those students studying a higher education qualification for the first time. Therefore, if you already hold a degree, in some circumstances you may be assessed as an ELQ student, meaning you already hold an equivalent or lower level qualification. Under the Education (Student Support) Regulations, you may not be entitled to financial support such as tuition fee and maintenance loans, although some exceptions are made for students.
Furthermore, the level of tuition fee that you pay may be unregulated, meaning you could be charged at a higher level by your university.
You may be classed as an ELQ student and would be unlikely to be eligible for any further student support, and you will need to self-finance your studies.
You should seek further advice from Student Finance England
Changes of circumstances and over-payments by the student loans company
If it becomes clear following an application for funding or following a reassessment of circumstances that an individual student has been incorrectly awarded student funding, then the Student Loans Company is entitled to withdraw funding and has a statutory duty to recover this money. This is the case even if the student had originally been informed they were eligible for support. Regulations 117-119 of the Education (Student Support) Regulations are the relevant references. The recovery of the overpaid amount will be conducted on a case by case basis.
The student finance application process requires students to sign a declaration to agree that they will repay any over-payment.