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Student finance after your first year

You’ll need to make an application for student finance for each year of your course. The type of help you can get depends on whether you study full or part-time, and when your course started. This page tells you what you could get if you started in or after September 2006, and are applying for finance for academic year 2014/2015.

Support for full-time students

You’ll need to make a separate application for each year of your course. The sources of financial help open to you are normally the same as those available for your first year. For eligible full-time students, the main sources of financial help are:

  • Student Loan for Tuition Fees
  • Student Loan for Maintenance
  • Maintenance Grant or Special Support Grant
  • bursaries

Any help you get through a Student Loan doesn’t have to be paid back until you’ve finished your course and are earning at least £16,910 a year. Grants and bursaries don’t have to be repaid at all. This page outlines the package of financial support available to most full-time students from Northern Ireland who started their course after September 2006. But it doesn’t apply to everyone - the help available to some students will be different. Check the section below entitled ‘Does the information on this page apply to you?’.

Student Loan for Tuition Fees

All eligible full-time higher education students can take out a Student Loan for Tuition Fees. This will cover the full cost of your tuition fees, up to a maximum of £3,685 for 2014/2015. The Student Loan for Tuition Fees is paid direct to your university or college.

Student Loan for Maintenance

You may also be able to get the Student Loan for Maintenance - a loan to help towards accommodation and other living costs. The maximum amount for 2014/2015 is £6,780. How much you can get depends on your household income, where you study, whether you’re in your final year, whether you live at home, and how much Maintenance Grant (if any) you receive. See ‘Student Loans’ for more information.

Maintenance Grant and Special Support Grant

As well as Student Loans, you may be able to get a Maintenance Grant or Special Support Grant to help with accommodation and other living costs. If you qualify, you could get up to £3,475 for 2014/2015. You don’t have to pay back grants.

Bursaries

On top of student finance from the government, you may be able to get help from your college or university in the form of bursaries. Bursaries vary, but any university or college in Northern Ireland, charging a tuition fee of £3,685 will have to provide a bursary to students who are in receipt of the full £3,475 Maintenance Grant or Special Support Grant. Check your university or college’s website for more information.

Extra financial help

As well as the standard student finance package, extra financial help is available for particular groups of students. You may already be getting extra help – or, if your circumstances change, you may become entitled to it after your first year. Help is available for:

  • students with disabilities, mental health conditions or specific learning difficulties (such as dyslexia)
  • students with children (especially lone parents)
  • students with adult dependants
  • students in financial difficulty (from your university or college)

You’ll need to apply for this extra help for each year of your course. Follow the link below to find out more.

How to apply

You can make an application even if you didn’t apply for student finance earlier in your course. If you’ve already made an application, unless your circumstances have changed, you won’t need to supply evidence along with your application.

If your circumstances change

If your circumstances change, it’s important to let your local Student Finance NI office (or the Student Loans Company) know as soon as possible. If you don’t, this could affect the amount of help you’re entitled to, or delay payments to you.

Does the information on this page apply to you?

This page outlines the financial help available to most full-time students who started their course in or after September 2006. But for some – for example, many students who took a gap year in 2005/2006 – the funding rules for students starting before September 2006 will apply. The financial help available will also be different if you’re not from Northern Ireland.

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