If you’re a full-time higher education student, you may be able to get a non-repayable grant to help with accommodation and other living costs. These grants are called the ‘Maintenance Grant’ and ‘Special Support Grant’.
Maintenance Grant and Special Support Grant
If you normally live in Northern Ireland and are doing a full-time higher education course in the UK, you may be able to get help with accommodation and other living costs through the Maintenance Grant or Special Support Grant.
Whether you qualify, and how much you get, depends on your household income. You don’t have to pay them back, and you can apply for them at the same time as you’re applying for Student Loans, through the main student finance application.
New and continuing students may qualify for the Maintenance Grant or the Special Support Grant.
How much you can get
You could get up to £3,475 through the Maintenance Grant or Special Support Grant, if your household income is £19,203 or less.
If your household income falls between £19,203 and £41,065 you may be eligible to receive a partial grant, depending on the level of your household income.
If your household income is more than £41,065 you will not be eligible to receive a Maintenance Grant or Special Support Grant.
Which grant to apply for
The amount of help you can get through the Maintenance Grant and Special Support Grant is the same. If you get the Maintenance Grant, some of it is paid instead of the Maintenance Loan
However, the Special Support Grant won’t affect how much you can borrow through the Maintenance Loan and won’t be counted as income when working out if you’re entitled to income-related benefits or tax credits.
The Special Support Grant replaces the Maintenance Grant for certain groups of students entering higher education on or after academic year 2006/2007.
To find out if you qualify see:
Contact your local Student Finance NI office if you’re not sure which grant to apply for.
How to apply
You apply for both types of grant through student finance. It’s best to apply before your course starts, but you can still apply up to nine months from the start of the academic year.
How the grants are paid
The Maintenance Grant and the Special Support Grant will be paid into your bank account by Student Finance NI at the start of each term at the same time as any Maintenance Loan.
If you're entitled to a Maintenance Grant or Special Support Grant you're also eligible to apply for a Maintenance Loan. If you receive a Maintenance Grant the amount of Maintenance Loan you receive will be reduced. For more information on Maintenance Loans, see:
If your circumstances change
If your circumstances change, such as changes to your household income, you must tell your local Student Finance NI office.