The two main types of student finance are:
All eligible full-time higher education undergraduate students entering higher education can get a Student Loan for Tuition Fees. The loan will cover any amount up to the full amount you’re charged for tuition fees. However, the total amount you can get through grants and the Student Loan for Maintenance will depend on your household income/ benefits (for example, your income, together with your parents' or partner's income).
For more information on how income is assessed, visit:
How to apply for student finance
You need to register with Student Finance NI. You will need your National Insurance number for this.
You will be given a unique 11 digit Customer Reference Number better known as your ‘ART ID’. You will be asked to set your own password and choose a secret question and answer. Your password and secret answer will help identify you whenever you access information about your student finance account, either online or by phone.
Parents or partners can also register online separately by creating an online account. Once registered, you can click on a link to ‘support a student’s application’. You will need the student's ART ID to link to their account.
If you apply on paper, you register by sending your application form plus any suitable evidence to your Education Authority regional office.
An online account will be set up on your behalf and you will be sent a password and secret answer. When you sign in to your online student finance account for the first time you will be prompted to change your password and secret answer to something more memorable.
Once you're registered, you can sign in and apply for student support on the Student Finance NI website. Click on 'Apply for student support', and this will start the student finance application. You can save your progress at any time, so you can exit the application and come back to it again at a later stage.
Depending on the type of finance you're applying for, your parents or partner may also need to answer some questions on the application.
If you would rather apply on paper, you can download the relevant PN1 form at:
Student contribution loan request form
If you're studying at a university or college in the Republic of Ireland you will have to pay a student contribution charge. Your university or college can charge up to a maximum of €3000. To cover this charge you can apply for a Student Contribution Loan which is paid in Euros to your university or college as part of the above process, instead of a Tuition Fee Loan.
If you're applying on paper, use the PN1 form at the link above.
Submitting your application
Once you’ve answered all the questions, you’ll see an estimate of how much you may be entitled to, based on the answers you've given in your application.
When you've reviewed and are happy with your application and accepted the terms and conditions, you can send your application, at which point you can't make any more changes to it.
If you apply on paper, send your application form and any suitable evidence, to your Education Authority regional office.
To prove your identity, provide your valid UK passport details, birth or adoption certificate and a countersigned birth/adoption certificate form.
If you hold a valid UK Passport and are applying online, you can enter your passport details on the online application. If you are applying on a paper application form, you can enter the details on the form. You do not need to send your UK passport as proof of date of birth. Student Finance NI will share the passport details you provide with HM Passport Office so that your identity can be verified. If you are a non-UK passport holder you will need to send your passport.
The Birth/Adoption Certificate Declaration form is available at:
- 2020 to 2021 forms for full-time undergraduate NI students
- 2021-2022 forms for full-time undergraduate NI students
The parent or partner signature form is available at:
- 2020 to 2021 academic year, parents and partners forms
- 2021 to 2022 academic year, parents and partners forms
Your application can't be approved until all evidence (including parental or a partner’s evidence, if applicable) has been received and processed. Remember to put your customer reference number on everything you send in.
|Type of details||Evidence|
|Personal details||Valid UK passport details, birth certificate or adoption certificate.|
|Relationship status||Original marriage certificate or civil partnership document. Decree absolute, decree nisi, dissolution order or a letter from your solicitor confirming your status. Widows or surviving civil partners need to send the original death certificate.|
|Nationality and residency||Proof of nationality and or residence status, for example, passport, parent's passports and bank statements or utility bill.|
|Course details||Course duration (length of Part-time course or ITT course).|
|Dependent and independent status||Your child's/ children's original birth certificate(s), evidence that you are receiving child benefit or child tax credit. Evidence of supporting yourself financially for at least 3 years. Evidence of any taxable income received by your adult dependant, for example, P60.|
|Disabled students' allowances||Evidence of disability, diagnostic assessment report, evidence of mobility.|
The table above is only a guide. The exact evidence needed will be highlighted on the relevant forms and guidance notes.
Applications are now open for academic year 2020-2021.
You can make an application for student finance even if you didn’t apply for student finance earlier in your course; for example, if you didn’t apply for student finance in year 1 or year 2, you can still do so in year 3 or 4 of your course.
Applying for student finance after your first year
For each year that you need student finance, you must send in an application form.
When you first apply for student finance, you will need to use the 'PN1 - Application for student finance form' (see above).
If you are re-applying, you need to use the 'PR1 - Application for Continuing Student Finance 2020/21' form at the following link:
Students who already receive student finance for the current academic year will be contacted automatically with details about how to apply for the coming year.
You don't need to send evidence in the upcoming years, unless there has been a change to your circumstances, such as changes to your household income or your marital status.
Who assesses and approves your application
Your application and supporting evidence will be reviewed by an assessor at your student finance regional office.
After your regional office reach a decision about your entitlement to student finance, Student Finance NI will send you a Student Finance Entitlement letter to confirm what will be paid to you and when.
You should receive this letter between six and eight weeks after you sent your application. This may be longer if you're regional office needs additional information or evidence.
At any time, you can check the progress of your application through your online account.
Registering and confirming your attendance at college or university
When you register on your course at the start of your first term, you must take your Student Finance Entitlement letter and your Payment Schedule Letter with you. Your college or university will then confirm your attendance with Student Finance NI.
When Student Finance NI receives confirmation of your attendance, and your National Insurance number is verified by the Department for Work and Pensions, payment will be released automatically. Your will receive your first payment on:
- the date quoted on your Student Finance Entitlement letter
- if the first payment date has already passed, within five working days of you registering on your course
If your circumstances change
If there are any changes to your circumstances which you think might affect your entitlement to your support, contact your Education Authority regional office. For more guidance visit:
Loan request forms
If you've already applied for support and want to amend either the amount of Maintenance Loan or Tuition Fee Loan you asked for you can log in online and amend your application of fill in the Tuition Fee Loan Request Form - 2020/21 at 2020 to 2021 forms for full-time undergraduate NI students (under Changing your finance tab). Forms in respect of academic year 2021/22 can be found at 2021 to 2022 forms for full-time undergraduate NI students
Students with disabilities
Disabled Students' Allowances
If you are a full time student and are applying for, or have applied for student finance and would like to apply for a Disabled Students' Allowance (DSA) as well.
In addition to DSAs there are other sources of financial help available for disabled students. To find out more, visit Financial help for students with disabilities.
Students with children or adult dependants
If you are a full time student and have children or adult dependants, you can apply for extra help with your costs at the same time as applying for a Student Loan/ and or grant.
Parents, husbands, wives and partners of students
If you are supporting a student during their studies, you'll need to fill in the relevant forms at:
If your total household income has dropped by five per cent or more since tax year 2017-2018, the student can be reassessed based on the current tax year. Complete the 'Confirmation of Income from Employment form 2019/20'.
If you didn't sign the paper form (PN1 or PR1) when you supported a student's application for finance, you'll need to fill in a parent or partner signature form.