2020 has been uncertain for a lot of us, but one thing that will always be certain is; student debt. One small positive thing is in some cases, students can get grants – which unlike loans, you don’t have to pay back. There are many different student grants available, and every year many students lose out on money because they don’t know they are eligible for certain grants. We’ve condensed all the information, and put together a helpful guide so you can see if you are eligible for any student grants in 2020.

Maintenance Grants

Northern Ireland and Wales

A lot of grants available have criteria you must meet to be eligible, a common one being where you live.

In Northern Ireland, you can apply for the maintenance grant, but any grant you receive will mean you receive less loan – even though that may seem unfair, the more grant you get means less loan, which means less debt!

In Wales, you receive what is called the Welsh Government Learning Grant.

Both grants are means-tested against your household income, and to be eligible for both grants you must be living in the UK and a full-time student.

The eligibility for the grant is broken down like this;

eligibility for the grant

There is also a grant available called the Special Support Grant. This grant is for those students who are;

  • A single parents
  • A parent and their partner is also at university
  • Have a disability
  • Claim income support of housing benefit.

If this is the case, you can simply switch your maintenance grant for the SSG, but unlike the maintenance grant, it would reduce the amount of loan you get!



In Scotland, the money you get is called a bursary. Like the maintenance grant in N. Ireland and Wales, the amount you get depends on your household income but unlike the maintenance grant, it also depends on if you’re a young student or independent student.

A independent student is anyone else. If you’re an independent student, and your household income is under £20,999, you receive £1000.

A young student is anyone under 25, not married or a parent, and not financially independent. If you’re a young student, it’s worked out on a sliding scale;

Bursary scotland

Disabled Students Allowance (DSA)

What is it?

Disabled Students Allowance is a scheme put in place to offer extra help to those who have a medical condition which may make certain aspects of university life harder. DSA supports those with physical and mental health conditions, as well as conditions like dyslexia and dyspraxia. It doesn’t have to be paid back, and isn’t means-tested – a trained professional, as well as evidence from doctors or health-care workers, will decide how much you receive.

The eligibility criteria are;

  • You live in the UK and receive Student Finance
  • You’re on a recognised course, and are studying full or part-time
  • You have a long-term health condition, mental health issue or learning difficulty.
  • The process of you receiving DSA will include an assessment and provision evidence.The amount you receive greatly depends on your individual needs if you need specialist equipment or just a general allowance. For more info check the UCAS guide https://www.ucas.com/student-finance-england/disabled-students-allowancesThere are also a few other places you can check to see what support they offer;
    • Your individual uni’s website
    • Your chosen professions website. For example, if you’re studying psychology https://www.rcpsych.ac.uk
    • Charities relating to your condition

Dependants’ Grants

What about if you’re a parent?

If you have a child or adult dependent on you, you may be eligible for extra help. Any

The amount you receive will also rely heavily on where in the UK you live. To receive the dependents and childcare grants, which help pay for childcare, you must;
grants you receive may affect the number of benefits you receive from elsewhere. It can be quite complex, so make sure you read all the terms and conditions or contact someone who will be able to help you.

  • Be eligible for student finance
  • Financially responsible for an adult or child that lives with you

The amount you receive will be;

dependant grant

In Scotland, the amount is decided by you individual university or college, and you apply directly to them

There are also grants available to you to help you cover the cost of living whilst having a child or adult dependent, these are called the Parents’ Learning Allowance and the Adult Dependant’s Grant. These also rely on where you live in the UK:

Travel Grants

If your university course requires you to travel, whether that be abroad or to a placement, you are entitled to money to help with that. To be eligible you must;

  • Meet the UK residence rules
  • Have to travel in the UK for a clinical placement (you are NOT entitled if you already get an NHS bursary)
  • You study abroad as part of your course

For those who are studying abroad for at least half of each academic term, you can claim money to help with flights, medical insurance and visas.

In England and Wales, you can claim for any amount over £303 and in Northern Ireland, you can claim for anything over £309. This is means-tested.

In Scotland, you’ll be able to claim the cost of your journey abroad and your medical insurance. This is not means-tested.

For those students completing clinical placements;

In England, Wales and Northern Ireland you can apply for help with travel costs to and from your placement.

In Scotland, you can apply for help with travel costs to and from your placement amounting to at least £20, and your placement must take place in Scotland.

And that’s it! There’s a lot to take in here, but it’s important you get every penny you’re entitled to as being a student on a budget can be very hard. Find out how to apply for student grants here.