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Financial assistance for full-time HE students

Financing your full-time studies in Higher Education 2015-16
updated Feb 2015

Students looking to study on a full time higher education (HE) course may be able to get financial assistance towards their course and living costs from the government, and the institution in which they are attending. These are usually in the forms of loans and grants. These need to be re-applied for yearly.

What loans do I get?

Students, who enrol onto a full time course, are able to apply for two types of loan from the student loan company.  These are the following;

These form your total package, and neither has to be paid off until the April after you finish your degree and are earning over £21,000 a year.  Students who have previously studied a degree (or part of) course before, may not be eligible to receive these loans. You are advised to contact the Student Loan Company direct to discuss your eligibility if you think this might apply to you.

How much is the maintenance loan?

How much you receive depends on your household income, and where you are living and studying.  A proportion of the maintenance loan (65%) is not dependent on your household income, meaning that any student who applies will receive something from the maintenance loan.


Full rate (100%)

Does not depend on house income. (65%)

Dependant on household income (35%)

Living with Parents (in or outside of London)

Up to £4,375



Studying in London, and not living with Parents

Up to £7,675



Studying outside of London and not living with parents

Up to £5,500



Living and Studying abroad for at least one academic term.




Are there any grants available?

Yes. There are a number of different types of grants available for students; these are sums of money awarded to you that you do not need to repay once you have finished your degree.  How much you receive from these grants is dependent on your household income.



Maintenance Grant and Special Support Grant
This is a grant of up to £3,250 designed to help further towards your living costs whilst you are studying.

Household Income

How Much?

Under £25,000

Maximum £3,250 grant

£25,001 - £42,600

Partial Grant depending on where your income falls


No grant.

The amount of money that you can receive from the maintenance loan is affected by the amount of maintenance grant you receive. The amount of loan you receive is reduced for every £1 towards the grant.
The maintenance grant is replaced by the special support grant for those students on full time study who are able to claim income-related benefits, such as income support.  Students cannot get a special support grant and a maintenance grant at the same time.
Disabled Support Allowance (DSA)
Students who may have extra costs, because of a disability, illness or learning difficulty may be able to get additional help from the DSA. These are not dependent on household income. How much you receive from the DSA is dependent upon your individual circumstances.  It is important that anyone who requires additional support, such as specialist equipment, or a support worker applies for a DSA as unfortunately you cannot receive any additional help from the college without one. Some things that you can receive under the DSA are as follows;

Childcare Grant
This grant is designed to help those parents on full time degrees with dependants under the age of 15 (or 17 if the child has a special educational need) in registered or approved childcare.  This can be up to £148.75 a week for one child or £225 for two or more children. You will not be able to get this grant if you, your husband or partner currently receive Working Tax Credits.
Students with Dependants
If you have dependants you may be able to get additional support towards course related costs.  There are two different types of allowance;
Parents’ Learning Allowance; This is an allowance to help students with dependent children with their course related costs. You can receive up to £1,508 per year depending on your household income.
Adults Dependants Grant; This grant helps students who have an adult who depends upon them financially. This cannot be an adult child. You can receive up to £2642 a year, dependent on your household income and the income of your adult dependant.

How and when should I apply?

When do I have to repay the loan?

Students who have taken out a loan to cover the cost of their course will have to repay it. Repayments do not start until the April after you finish your course and when you are earning over £21,000 a year. How much you repay depends upon exactly how much you earn, and now how much you owe. Repayments for students starting their course in 2014 are;

Earnings per year before Tax

Monthly Earnings

Approximate monthly repayment

Up to £21,000





















Repayments are usually collected through the UK tax system, either through the PAYE scheme by your employer, or by students themselves under self-assessment (for self-employed individuals).  

What interest rate will I pay?

Student loans accrue interest from the date they are paid, until they are repaid in full. Interest is charged at RPI (retail prices index) plus 3% while studying. From the April after you’ve finished your course, you will start paying RPI plus 3% once you are earning over £21,000. If you don’t earn that much, interest is just the RPI rate.

Will it hang over me forever?

Should your income fall below £21,000 then the repayments will stop. Unlike a commercial loan, how much you repay is determined only by your income. The government has agreed to write off any loans outstanding after 30 years.
Students should also be aware that these loans are not counted in your credit rating, so will not affect you when applying for future loans and mortgages. A bank will be aware that you have a loan by your repayments but will not know how much.

How and when will I get my money?

How much do I get?  

You can see how much you will receive by working through the Student Finance Calculator which can be found here: www.direct.gov.uk/studentfinancecalculator
In addition to the above funding, students are also able to get additional funding from the institution in which they are studying.  Students who are on a franchised course from Bournemouth University or Bath Spa will need to apply direct to their partner institution for additional help.
Students enrolling on courses at Wiltshire College can apply for the following Bursaries;
Progression Award
The Progression Award is awarded to students who have previously studied at Wiltshire College.
If you are currently or have been a Wiltshire College student in the last 5 academic years, have completed a Level 3 course and are progressing on to full time or part-time study on  the BSc in Social Work, Foundation Degrees in  Agricultural Management, Animal Science and Management, Early Years and Childhood Studies, Motorsport Engineering, Applied Computing, Game and Wildlife Management, or the HND in either Agricultural Engineering, Business, Sport, Equine Management, Health and Social Care, Travel and Tourism or Criminal Justice, you may be eligible for a bursary if your household income is less than £16,000.  
The Progression Awards are allocated in the first year of study, in 2 equal payments in December 2015 and April 2016. The total value of the award will be as follows – HND £500, Foundation Degree £750 and Degree £1000 per annum.
Wiltshire College Bursary Scheme
In 2015/16 The National Scholarship Programme (NSP) will cease to exist. Wiltshire College has decided to introduce the Wiltshire College Bursary scheme to provide additional help for people from low income households who are starting both full and part-time Higher Education courses.
In order to establish who is eligible for an award we will check through a range of criteria.  To be considered for the Wiltshire College bursary award you will need to:

You may also need to meet one or more of the following criteria to be considered for the bursary.

Students who are not eligible for the NSP awards include:

How much is a award worth?  The Wiltshire College award is worth £1,000, or pro rata based on the intensity of study if you are a part time student. You will receive the award in two equal instalments into your bank account in February 2016 and May 2016.
Will the award affect any benefits I am receiving?  We advise you to check with the Benefits Agency if receipt of an award will affect any entitlement to benefits you are receiving.
Do I have to repay the awards? The Bursary is non-repayable award, rather than a loan.  If you leave the course earlier however, we will review your eligibility and future payments will cease.
How and when to apply for Wiltshire College Bursaries
You will be able to apply for the both awards once you have accepted your a place to study at Wiltshire College.  A form will be sent to you with your Joining Instructions in July 2014. Completed forms need to be returned to the HE Admissions Office (Wiltshire College Lackham, Lacock, Chippenham Wiltshire, SN15 2NY) by the 31st October 2015.
Panel Decision – Final allocation of bursaries is made by a panel and will depend upon a number of factors.  Priority will be given to: Care Leavers/Looked After Children, students with a disability (evidence of assessment will be required), students whose families are in receipt of a means tested benefit and students from a home (postcode) with low participation in higher education.  Meeting the additional criteria listed above does not constitute entitlement to a award and all assessments are subject to the availability of funds.
To appeal against panel decisions please write to: Director of Student Services, Wiltshire College Lackham, Lacock, Chippenham, Wiltshire, SN15 2NY or email: HEAdmissions@wiltshire.ac.uk.
Access to Learning Fund (ALF)
There is also the access to learning fund available for students who run into financial hardship during their course. It is a small sum of money, so applications are limited.  Students are advised to speak with the HE Admissions Team if they feel that they may need help from the ALF fund.  
All our bursaries are administered through the Student Finance England system by the Customer Services team. The bursaries are assessed and awarded through the Student Finance England bursaries services, meaning that most student will not need to share their information twice. Please ensure that you and your family share your consent with Student Finance England for this information to be shared with us.
If you are not using Student Finance England to fund your course then we may require additional financial information from you before we are able to make a decision.
Partnership University Bursaries.
Students on franchised courses may be able to get additional support from the University that they are registered to. Details can be found on their website on the links below for those who may be interested.
Bournemouth University. Information about Bournemouth University bursaries can be found on their website; http://www.bournemouth.ac.uk/futurestudents/undergraduate/funding/bursaries.html
Bath Spa University. Information about bursaries at Bath Spa University can be found on their website. http://www.bath.ac.uk/study/ug/funding/index.html

Want to know more?

An Independent Taskforce on Student Finance Information was launched in June 2011 headed by Martin Lewis of MoneySavingExpert.com, deputised by Wes Streeting, NUS President 2008-2010, and made up of groups including Universities UK, the NUS and UCAS.
Areas of Additional Support?
There are also other areas of funding available to support students whilst they are on their University Level courses. None of these are from the student loan company, and therefore may be suitable for students who are illegible for funding via them.
NHS Bursaries – Social Work Students
Students on a Social Work degree may be able to get help from the NHS in the form of a bursary during year 2 and 3 of their course. Students must be;

More information on the NHS Bursary can be found here; www.nhsbsa.nhs.uk/Students.aspx

Charitable Grants, Bursaries and Scholarships
Some students may find that they are able to get additional help through charities, such as the Princes Trust, or Shuker Education Fund.  Family Action also provide a useful search engine for students to enable them to search for charities that may be able to help them. This can be found here;. http://www.family-action.org.uk/section.aspx?id=21213
Many organisations also offer scholarships, many of which go unclaimed every year. The following website gives you a chance to search for any scholarships that may be applicable for you; http://www.scholarship-search.org.uk/
Career Development Loan
Another area to look for additional funding is a career development loan from a bank. More information can be found here; https://www.gov.uk/career-development-loans/overview


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