Student Finance provides financial support to undergraduate students.
If you normally live in England, the main elements of Student Finance for full-time undergraduate students are:
- Tuition Fee Loan
- Maintenance Loan
- Supplementary Grants
Students who started their course before August 2016 may be entitled to a Maintenance Grant or Special Support Grant.
Student Finance England
Useful guides and resources
Student finance funding calculator
If you normally live in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, your package of government Student Finance will be different. You need to contact the funding authority in your home country:
If you have any questions or require further information about your Student Funding, contact Kent Union Advice Centre.
Most full time undergraduate students pay £9000 per annum in tuition fees. The majority will be able to get a Tuition Fee Loan from Student Finance England.
If you began your course before 2012 it is likely you will pay £3465 per annum in fees.
The Maintenance Loan is the main source of financial support for living costs for full-time students. From August 2016 maintenance grants will be replaced with loans for all new full-time students starting their courses from August 2016. For 2016 entrants the student finance package will include a Tuition Fee Loan and a Maintenance Loan only.
The amount of loan you will receive depends on your household income. The maximum amount of Maintenance Loan for 2016/17 is £8200 for students studying outside of London. Student Finance England have made a short video explaining the funding available for 2016/17 starters.
For students who started their course after the 01/09/2012 can received up to £5740 per annum (£5878 2016/17) if studying outside of London *.
You can see how much you might be entitled to here or use the funding calculator.
*If you started your course between 01/09/2009 -31/08/2012, or before 2009, different rates may apply.
Maintenance Grants will no longer be available from August 2016 for all new cohort students. Maintenance grants will be replaced with loans for all new full-time students starting their courses from August 2016. The 2016/17 student finance package will include a Tuition Fee Loan and a Maintenance Loan only.
If you started your course before August 2016 you may receive a Maintenance Grant which can help with your living costs whilst you study. The amount of grant you will receive depends on your household income. If you come from a lower-income family can receive a Maintenance Grant of up to £3387 per annum (2015/16). For students who started their course before 2012, it is £3110.
Increased Maintenance Loan/Special Support Grant
If you are due to start a full-time degree in September 2016, or after, and you meet certain requirements you may be able to apply for an increased Maintenance Loan.
If you started studying in September 2015, or before, and meet certain requirements you may be eligible for a Special Support Grant instead of the Maintenance Grant (this is paid at the same rate as the Maintenance Grant but doesn’t have any deductions from the Maintenance Loan applied).
This is most likely to apply to students who are lone parents or students with disabilities.
For more information please contact the Advice Centre.
If you are a full-time UK undergraduate and have an adult and/ or children that depend on you financially, you may be eligible to receive additional non-repayable grants.
If you have an adult that is dependent on you, you may be entitled to an Adult Dependants Grant.
If you have children you may get additional funding to help you with your learning and childcare costs.
The Parents’ Learning Allowance can help you pay for your learning costs.
If you have children under 15 at the beginning of the academic year (or under 17 if they have special educational needs), and you use registered or approved childcare, you could be eligible to receive a Childcare Grant.
How much you get will depend on your household income.
Find out more about the extra funding you may be able to receive from Student Finance England if you have children or adult dependants by watching the video below (for 16/17 starters).
Disabled Students Allowance
Disabled Students Allowance (DSA) can help to pay for extra course costs which you have as a result of your disability or learning difficulty. Undergraduate and postgraduate students on full time and part time courses can apply for DSA.
You can apply for help with the following:
- Specialist equipment (e.g. a laptop or specialist software)
- A non-medical helper (e.g. note-taker or mentor)
- Extra travel costs to and from University
- Other expenditure (e.g. photocopying or printing)
DSA is not means-tested. The amount that you get depends upon your actual need and there are maximum amounts available for each type of help. You need to apply to Student Finance England for DSA. A needs assessment is carried out to work out your entitlement to DSA.
You can read more about DSA and how to apply here.
The university Student Support website has information on DSA and the application process. They can help you to apply and will work with you to set up the support which you need.
Applying for student funding
It can take up to six weeks to process student finance applications. Make sure you apply early, even if you have a conditional offer, since you can amend or cancel your application if your plans change.
You need to apply to Student Finance England via the website here.
Once you’ve applied you should be able to access your online account, you will need your customer service number and password to do this. You can login in here.
If you are a continuing student, you need to re-apply each year of your course online by accessing your online account.
Student Finance England Application Dates
Early application is advisable to ensure that student support entitlement is paid as early as possible at the start of the academic year. You can find out when the applications open here
Watch the video below for further information on applying for student finance.
Every eligible student is entitled to funding for the length of their course plus 1 year to use for any repeat study. Any previous study, even if it was self-funded, is removed from this entitlement. Any part-year attendance is counted as a full year within the calculation.
If there are any years where you are not eligible for full funding due to previous study, you will have to pay your own tuition fees and will only be able to apply for a Maintenance Loan and, if you qualify, supplementary grants. Your eligibility for full funding will depend on the number of academic years you attended your previous course.
If you had to leave a course due to 'Compelling Personal Reasons' (CPR), such as health issues, it may be possible to apply to SFE to be funded for more than your standard entitlement by requesting additional year/s funding due to CPR. You can read more here.
If you already hold an honours degree or higher you will not qualify for student finance. This is the case regardless of whether you previously received student funding or if you completed your degree abroad. Supplementary grants may be available to some students with children, adult dependants and/or if you have a disability.
The rules and calculations for previous study are complicated so we advise contacting the Student Advice Centre for information based on your specific study history.
Payment of Loans and Grants
If you have taken out a Tuition Fee Loan to pay your tuition fees, this money will be automatically paid to the university. You do not need to do anything to ensure this takes place.
Any Maintenance Loans or grants you are eligible for will be paid by electronic transfer directly into your bank or building society account. It is therefore essential that Student Finance have the correct details in order to make the payment.
The university needs to confirm to Student Finance England that you are a registered student before your loan and/or grant will be released to you.
You will receive three instalments of student support which will be paid at the beginning of each term.
If you are experiencing any problems with receiving your loan or grant then please contact the Financial Aid Office, who can provide an Emergency Short Term Loan in cases where funding has been delayed.
Repaying your student loan
You will only start to repay your student loans once you have completed your studies and your income is above the earnings threshold (determined by the year you started your course). Your Tuition Fee Loan and Maintenance Loan will be added together and paid back in the same way, with the same rate of interest applied. Repayments will be deducted from your salary if you are an employee. If you are self-employed you will need to contact the Student Loans Company to arrange payments.
Repayment and rates of interest vary depending on the year that your course started. You can pay back all or some of your loans at any point without having to pay an early repayment charge. You can find out when you start repaying your loan and what you pay here.
Any amount outstanding after 30 years will be written off*.
*loans taken out before September 2012 may have different rules applied. You can find out more here.
Funding for tuition fees
Part-time students who have not studied at university level before will be able to apply for a Tuition Fee Loan. The maximum loan that is available in 2015/16 is £6,750. You can find out more here. Unfortunately there is no Government funding for living costs. The short video below provides more information.
Continuing part-time students (started course before 1st September 2012)
You can still apply for a Fee and Course Grant. You can read more here. If your Fee Grant does not meet the total cost of your tuition fees you may be eligible for some help thought the Part-time University of Kent Support fund. You can read more about this here and download the application form here. Watch the video below for more guidance.
Part-time students are not entitled to maintenance loans and grants.
Your entitlement to benefits is not affected when you're studying on a part-time course (this does not apply if you're repeating part of a full-time course on a part-time basis). You can find out if you are eligible for benefits here.
EU students can apply for a Tuition Fee Loan through Student Finance England. Unfortunately, for most EU students there is no government funding for living costs.
You can read more here.
Some EU nationals or EU/Swiss worker students may be able to take out full student funding, including maintenance funding. To be eligible as an EU/ Swiss worker you would need to be classed as an EU migrant worker.
Find out more about funding for all EU students here.
The rules are complex and subject to many criteria so we advise contacting the Student Advice Centre for information based on your specific circumstances.
If you are assessed by SFE as being eligible for full home support and have received your student funding, you may be able to apply to the Access to Learning Fund (a non-repayable grant from the University).
The Access to Learning Fund (ALF) is a hardship fund to help UK ‘home’ students to access and remain in higher education.
Overseas and EU (other than UK) students are not eligible to apply. There are separate hardship funds for overseas and EU students, you can find out more here.
Each year the Government and the University of Kent provide an allocated amount of money towards the ALF, to support students who are struggling financially. If your application to the ALF is successful any money you receive does not have to be repaid. The amount you are awarded will depend on your circumstances and how many applications the fund receives.
The ALF is intended to act as a safety net for those in financial difficulty, rather than a main source of income.
The fund can be used to:
- Meet specific course and living costs not already met from other sources
- Assist if you are in financial hardship
- Provide emergency payments to deal with unexpected financial crises
- Help if you are thinking about leaving your course because of financial problems
You can either apply for:
- A standard award - assessed by looking at the difference between your reasonable expenditure and your expected income.
- A non-standard award - if you have unforeseen circumstances that may require emergency financial help, or to help with priority debts.
- Or both
Who is eligible to apply?
You must be a UK ‘home’ student registered on a course in one of the following categories:
- Undergraduate students - either full or part-time, including part-time distance learners following a higher education course, including sandwich courses and any periods of placement or study abroad
- Postgraduate students - either full or part-time
A 'home student' is defined as a person who meets certain residency conditions. Usually this means you must have an unrestricted right to enter and remain in the UK and you must have been ordinarily resident in the UK for three years prior to the start of the course. Please refer to the Information Sheet for further details on eligibility.
The University of Kent gives priority to particularly vulnerable groups of students when deciding how to allocate the funding, however students who are not in a priority group can still apply.
- Students with children (especially lone parents)
- Students from low income families
- Disabled students
- Care leavers
- Students from Foyers or who are homeless
- Final year students
- Mature students
Overseas and EU (other than UK) students are not eligible to apply. There are separate hardship funds for overseas and EU students, you can find out more here.
What is the application procedure?
You will need to complete an application form (you can also pick one up from the Advice Centre in the Mandela Building or the Financial Aid Office). You will then need to make an appointment with a Student Adviser from Kent Union Advice Centre (Canterbury Campus) and take your completed application form, along with all the required evidence, to your appointment. You can make an appointment with a Student Adviser using the contact details here.
The appointment with the Student Adviser will be a confidential meeting which will take approximately 30 -45 minutes. The interview will be informal and will give you the opportunity to discuss your individual needs and circumstances in detail.
After the appointment, the Student Adviser will submit your completed application form, with all supporting documents, to the Financial Aid Office who will make the final decision on your application. You can read more on the application procedure, including the termly ALF deadline dates, by clicking here.
For further information, please refer to the Information Sheet.
PLEASE NOTE: If you are more than 10 minutes late for your appointment the adviser may not be able to see you.
There is a HIGH DEMAND for Access to Learning Fund appointments in this busy term therefore we can only offer each student ONE appointment. If you do not attend we may NOT be able to offer you another appointment this term.
IF YOU NEED TO CANCEL YOUR APPOINTMENT:
- email firstname.lastname@example.org
- call the advice line on 01227 827724
- come to the Advice Centre reception in the Mandela building.
If you give us at least 24 hours' notice that you are unable to attend your first appointment you will be able to rebook.
If you give us less than 24 hours' notice that you are unable to attend ANY appointment OR if you simply fail to attend you will not be allowed to rebook until you have seen the Duty Adviser who will check whether you have all the documents needed. The adviser WILL NOT deal with your application but will book you an appointment, if one is available.
If you do not have all the documents you will need to return with them to see the Duty Adviser before an appointment can be made for you.
What should undergraduates be aware of before submitting an application?
You must have taken out your full maintenance loan allowance and have been financially assessed by Student Finance England (SFE). If your SFE application has not been financially assessed will not be able to apply.
What should postgraduates be aware of before submitting an application?
The ALF can help to alleviate unexpected financial hardship. However, it cannot provide funding if you did not make adequate financial provision at the start of your course. Nor can any ALF award be used towards tuition fees. In assessing applications, guidance must be followed which assumes that a postgraduate student receives a set amount of income regardless of whether or not this is the case.
What additional documentation is required?
Along with the application form, you must provide documentation to support your application. Applications cannot be processed until all supporting documentation has been submitted. Please see the ALF document checklist for further guidance.
How are applications assessed?
Applications are assessed against expected income and essential expenditure, such as rent and course costs, for the academic year. Any additional need is identified once these have been calculated. Essential expenditure is based upon government recommendations and the capping of certain costs. This helps to ensure that students are treated equally regardless of lifestyle. It will also be assumed that you are working and will include a set amount of income from work in the calculation unless you are unable to work for health reasons or as a result of caring responsibilities.
Can students make repeat application?
You can only submit one ALF application in each academic year of your course. You can only reapply in the same academic year if your circumstances change and you haven’t already received your maximum award for the academic year.
How are students notified of the outcome?
You will be informed of the outcome of your assessment by the Financial Aid office. An email will be sent to your university email account within four weeks of a complete application being made.
Summer Vacation Funding
Some students experiencing financial difficulties during the summer vacation may be able to apply to the Fund for additional help. You can find out more here.
Most full-time students are not eligible for benefits however some students, such as lone parents, pensioners and some students with disabilities, may be entitled to certain benefits.
You can find more information here.
Studying a part-time course should not affect your benefit entitlement. Click here for more details.
If you are eligible to claim benefits whilst studying full-time you need to be aware that some of the income you receive from Student Finance England will be taken into account when assessing how much benefit you will receive.
Click here for more information.
The rules on students and benefits are complex so we advise you speak to the Student Advice Centre from more information and guidance.
Getting funding for postgraduate study isn’t always as straightforward as the process for undergraduate study, but there’s still a range of options you can look into.
The Government has announced that, from 2016/17, UK postgraduate students under 60 years of age can apply for loans of up to £10,000.
You can read more here or find out more by watching the video below.
The University has an £8.5million Scholarship Fund to provide a variety of financial support opportunities for postgraduate students. Click for more details.
Prospects funding search
Professional and Career Development Loans
A Professional and Career Development Loan could help you to pay for learning that enhances your job skills or career prospects. It is a bank loan, so you’ll have to pay it back once you’ve left your course. However, you don’t pay interest for the period when you’re in learning.
Visit gov.uk for more details.
Disabled Students' Allowances
Postgraduate students with an impairment, health condition or learning difficulty may be able to get financial help from Disabled Students’ Allowances. You can apply for DSA's for both taught and research places.
Visit gov.uk for more details.
Charities and Trusts
Many charities and trusts provide grants to postgraduate students. In particular, they often reserve funds for students from poorer backgrounds or those who've achieved academic excellence.
Click for more information
Access to Learning Fund
The Access to Learning Fund provides discretionary financial assistance for students to access and remain in higher education. The Access to Learning Fund can help to alleviate unexpected financial hardship however it cannot provide funding if you did not make adequate financial provision at the start of your course. Nor can any ALF award be used towards tuition fees. In assessing applications, guidance must be followed which assumes that a postgraduate student receives a set amount of income regardless of whether or not this is the case.
See above for more information.
You need to plan ahead and budget to make ends meet, starting with the essentials. Make sure you prioritise:
- Gas, electricity and water bills
- Course costs such as books
Here's some handy budgeting links:
For students with dependants:
Making sure that you open a student bank account may help, as these normally offer an interest-free overdraft facility. They also offer perks such as railcards. As with any bank account it's worth shopping around to find out which bank is offering the best deal for you.
Find out more about the various bank accounts on offer:
Don't be tempted to open more than one bank account as it is easy to run up large overdrafts which you cannot later repay. Unless you are confident that you can repay a credit card in full each month, don't get one. The interest soon mounts up if you do not pay off the full balance on your account. The same applies to store cards, especially as their interest rates are very high.