Support for part-time students

If you are a part-time higher education student, you may be eligible for a grant or a tuition fee loan to help towards the cost of studying.

Grant support for part-time students

If you are a part-time higher education student and studying at least 50 per cent of a comparable full-time course, you may be entitled to a grant towards your fees and course costs.

Your right to a grant will depend on your income and that of your husband, wife or partner. There is no age limit for this support. Student Finance NI will work out how much grant you can get. You will not have to repay this help. Your college will be able to tell you if your course qualifies.

If you already have a degree you can't normally apply for this support.

Fee grant

In 2019-2020 there are three different rates of fee grant depending on how intensive your course is:

Course intensity Maximum fee grant
Less than 60 per cent of the full-time course £820
Equal to 60 per cent to 74 per cent of the full-time course £985
Equal to 75 per cent or more of the full-time course £1,230

Course grant

In 2019-2020, the maximum course grant is £265 and does not depend on how intensive your course is.

Fee loan

If you are studying at least 25 per cent of a comparable full-time course,  you may also be eligible for a tuition fee loan of up to £3,206.25 to help towards the cost of your fees.

The Fee Loan can’t be more than the actual fee charged by your university or college. The maximum amount of Fee Loan entitlement in any academic year will be reduced by the amount of Fee Grant you get in that academic year.

The Fee Loan isn’t based on household income and is repayable.

Part-time students attending higher education elsewhere in the UK

If you normally live in Northern Ireland you can apply for the part-time student financial package of a means tested fee grant of up to £1,230, a course grant of up to £265 and a fee loan of up to £3,206.25 regardless of where you are studying in the UK. If you receive a fee grant, the level of fee loan available will be reduced in line with this.

If you wish to do a Higher Education part-time course including Open University courses elsewhere in the UK, you may be charged up to £6,750 in tuition fees. You will therefore have to financially make up the difference between the support available and the tuition fee charged by the Higher Education Institution.

Students should check the level of part-time tuition fees with the relevant Higher Education Institution.

Who qualifies

To apply for the Fee Grant, Course Grant or Fee Loan, both you and your course must be 'eligible'. For part-time study, this means your course must:

  • last at least one year
  • be a higher education course leading to a qualification such as a Certificate or Diploma of Higher Education, an HNC or HND, or a first degree up to Honours level (for example, a BA or BSc)
  • in the case of the fee grant and course grant, not take more than twice as long to complete as the comparable full-time course
  • in the case of the fee loan, not take more than four times as long to complete as the comparable full-time course. 

However, you will not qualify for the Fee Grant, Course Grant or Fee Loan:

  • if you already have a degree from a UK university or college
  • if you are studying a part-time Initial Teacher Training course (you will be treated as a full-time student for student finance purposes)
  • for more than one part-time course at a time

The standard rules on fee and course grants apply if you live and study in Northern Ireland.

If you live in Northern Ireland and go to Wales, Scotland or England to study, the amount of help you receive may vary. The maximum part-time fee loan available for 2019-2020 is £3,206.25, regardless of where in the UK you study. Contact your university, college or local Student Finance NI office for more information.

More about financial support for part-time students

Find out what financial support is available to part-time students is available at:

More useful links

Share this page

What do you want to do?
What is your question about?
Do you want a reply?
Your email address
To reply to you, we need your email address
Your feedback

We will not reply to your feedback.  Don't include any personal or financial information, for example National Insurance, credit card numbers, or phone numbers.

This feedback form is for issues with the nidirect website only.

You can use it to report a problem or suggest an improvement to a webpage.

If you have a question about a government service or policy, you should contact the relevant government organisation directly as we don’t have access to information about you held by government departments.

You must be aged 13 years or older - if you’re younger, ask someone with parental responsibility to send the feedback for you.

The nidirect privacy notice applies to any information you send on this feedback form.

Don't include any personal or financial information, for example National Insurance, credit card numbers, or phone numbers.

Plain text only, 750 characters maximum.
Plain text only, 750 characters maximum.

What to do next

Comments or queries about angling can be emailed to anglingcorrespondence@daera-ni.gov.uk 

What to do next

If you have a comment or query about benefits, you will need to contact the government department or agency which handles that benefit.  Contacts for common benefits are listed below.

Carer's Allowance

Call 0800 587 0912
Email 
dcs.incomingpostteamdhc2@nissa.gsi.gov.uk

Discretionary support / Short-term benefit advance

Call 0800 587 2750 
Email 
customerservice.unit@communities-ni.gov.uk

Disability Living Allowance

Call 0800 587 0912 
Email dcs.incomingpostteamdhc2@nissa.gsi.gov.uk

Employment and Support Allowance

Call 0800 587 1377

Jobseeker’s Allowance

Contact your local Jobs & Benefits office

Personal Independence Payment

Call 0800 587 0932

If your query is about another benefit, select ‘Other’ from the drop-down menu above.

What to do next

Comments or queries about the Blue Badge scheme can be emailed to bluebadges@infrastructure-ni.gov.uk or you can also call 0300 200 7818.

What to do next

For queries or advice about careers, contact the Careers Service.

What to do next

For queries or advice about Child Maintenance, contact the Child Maintenance Service.

What to do next

For queries or advice about claiming compensation due to a road problem, contact DFI Roads claim unit.

What to do next

For queries or advice about criminal record checks, email ani@accessni.gov.uk

What to do next

Application and payment queries can be emailed to ema_ni@slc.co.uk

What to do next

For queries or advice about employment rights, contact the Labour Relations Agency.

What to do next

For queries or advice about birth, death, marriage and civil partnership certificates and research, contact the General Register Office Northern Ireland (GRONI) by email gro_nisra@finance-ni.gov.uk

What to do next

For queries about:

If your query is about another topic, select ‘Other’ from the drop-down menu above.

What to do next

For queries or advice about passports, contact HM Passport Office.

What to do next

For queries or advice about Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs), including parking tickets and bus lane PCNs, email dcu@infrastructure-ni.gov.uk

What to do next

For queries or advice about pensions, contact the Northern Ireland Pension Centre.

What to do next

If you wish to report a problem with a road or street you can do so online in this section.

If you wish to check on a problem or fault you have already reported, contact DfI Roads.

What to do next

For queries or advice about historical, social or cultural records relating to Northern Ireland, use the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) enquiry service.

What to do next

For queries or advice about rates, email LPSCustomerTeam@lpsni.gov.uk

What to do next

For queries or advice about  60+ and Senior Citizen SmartPasses (which can be used to get concessionary travel on public transport), contact Smartpass - Translink.