Every year thousands of students are missing out on free money in the form of grants! Many simply are not aware they exist or do not know how to apply. Therefore, it is worth checking out this article to discover more about your eligibility and how to navigate the sometimes-tricky application process for these student grants.
Despite maintenance grants no longer being available in England, there are still a variety of other student grants for which you may be eligible! These grants are available if you meet a set of specific circumstances which are determined by the government. Fortunately, unlike a loan, grants are completely free and do not need to be paid back.
In England maintenance grants are only available to continuing students who enrolled on their course before August of 2016. Eligibility is dependent on your mean household income. If this is applicable to you, please visit Student Finance England to find out how much you are entitled to.
Northern Ireland and Wales
Full-time students from Northern Ireland who are studying in the UK can apply for a Maintenance Grant to help with the costs of daily living. This is again a means-tested grant. However, it may be worth noting, that if you receive this grant, then you will be entitled to less loan.
To receive this grant, you need to apply through the main student finance application form for Northern Ireland. The form will require some necessary evidence to be submitted. This process can be lengthy, therefore it is worth applying 9 months in advance, to ensure you have the money in your bank account by the time you start at university.
In Wales, the equivalent of the Maintenance Grant is called the Welsh Government Learning Grant. The criteria for meeting eligibility for this grant are very similar to that of Northern Ireland and it is again necessary to apply 9 months in advance. To apply for this grant, please visit Student Finance Wales, where you will be asked to register for an account and then to submit any relevant evidence.
Special Support Grant
It’s also worth mentioning, that there is a grant called the Special Support Grant, for which you may be eligible for the following reasons:
- You are a single parent
- You are a parent, and your partner is also at university
- You have a disability
- You are eligible for income support or housing benefit
Whilst in Wales some students are eligible to receive both the Maintenance Grant and the Special Support Grant, in Northern Ireland you can only receive one. Receiving the Special Support Grant, however, will not affect the amount of loan to which you are entitled. You apply for the Special Support Grant in the same way and at the same time as the Maintenance Grant.
In Scotland, their version of a Maintenance Grant is called a bursary. These bursaries are dependent on household income, along with if you are an ‘Independent Student’ or a ‘Young Student.’ To apply for this bursary, you need to be from Scotland and studying full-time in the UK. If you are eligible for this bursary, please visit Student Finance Scotland before 31 March 2021 and have the following information to hand:
- An email address
- A SAAS reference number (if you have applied previously)
- National Insurance Number
- Bank details
- Course and university name
- Evidence of additional financial support you may have applied for
Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA)
The Disabled Student’s Allowance is a grant for those with either a long-term health condition, learning difficulty or mental health issue, and aims to help cover extra costs. This grant is not means-tested; however, you must be a part-time or full-time student in the UK.
To apply for this grant, you will need to prove eligibility by attending an assessment or providing a doctor’s letter (the cost of this can be claimed back.) You apply for this grant, through the Student Finance Website for your country (England, Scotland, Wales, or Northern Ireland.) The length of the application process varies across the UK; however, it may take up to 14 weeks to be approved. It is also worth noting that you can apply for this grant before your place at university is confirmed.
This grant is available to those who are financially responsible to others. However, you must meet a set of very specific requirements to be eligible for the Dependent’s Grant. These are as follows:
- You are entitled to Student Finance
- You are financially responsible for an adult or child
- Your household income must qualify you for help
In Scotland, you apply for this grant directly through your college or university. However, for the rest of the UK, you apply through Student Finance and will be required to submit evidence.
Travel Grants are for students who are required to study abroad, or travel throughout the UK completing clinical placements. You are entitled to this grant if you meet the following requirements:
- You meet the UK residence rules
- You are required to travel within the UK for clinical placements
- You are required to travel abroad as part of your degree
- You are full-time university student
Travel Grants for students who are studying abroad are means-tested and must be applied for through Student Finance for your country. You will be expected to use the cheapest mode of transport possible and will need to keep receipts so you can claim back your expenses.
If you are travelling for clinical placements, then you again need to apply through the Student Finance for your country. In England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, you can claim the travel costs between your home address and your placement. If you are in Scotland, you can claim for travel costs of at least £20.
And that is how to get student grants in 2020! Please try and make the most of these grants, as often the application process is not too tricky, and any extra money can be useful at university to ease the difficulty of living on a budget. If you have any queries about your eligibility for these grants, check out these different types of student grants.