Table of Contents

If you’re considering doing a second degree in the UK, you may be wondering about the financial support available to you. Second degree student loans are one option to help cover the cost of tuition fees and living expenses while you’re studying. But they’re not necessarily available to all students and all degrees. We break down the important information about whether you can get a student loan for a second degree, as well other funding options.

What is a second degree loan?

second degree student loan

A second degree student loan refers to a loan for students who have already completed a degree and wish to pursue another degree in a different subject. Second degree loans are provided by the Student Loans Company (SLC) and are designed to help cover the cost of tuition fees. They work in a similar way to normal student loans, however are eligibility is much more restricted. For example, most first-time students are eligible to receive a student loan for tuition and maintenance, but this is not true for a second degree.

Student loans for a second degree are different from loans for changing your degree or doing a postgraduate. Generally speaking, you’ll only get one student loan for one undergraduate degree, with a bonus year available for cases such as a foundation year, if you need to repeat a year, or if you need to swap before you degree is finished. Obtaining a student loan for a second degree once you have completed an undergraduate is much more complicated.

To apply for a second degree loan, you must apply through Student Finance England (SFE). If your application is successful, your tuition fees will be paid directly to the institution where you’re studying.

Am I eligible for a second degree loan?

eligibility for second degree student loan

Unfortunately, most students will not be eligible for a second student loan if they have already completed a degree. This includes students who self-funded their first degree. However, there are certain circumstances where you could be considered for limited financial assistance. For instance, if you’re seeking to enhance your higher education qualification by “topping up” a prior achievement, such as completing an HNC, HND, or Foundation Degree and pursuing an Honours degree.

Additionally, if you possess an Honours degree or a more advanced credential and decide to embark on a new program, such as a part-time Honours degree, a joint Honours degree, or an Integrated Master’s degree (two if it’s a joint Honours degree), you might be eligible for limited funding. This is the case for certain subjects from a pre-approved list by the government.

These include:

  • agriculture and related subjects
  • architecture (if it’s a MArch RIBA Part 2 course)
  • biological sciences
  • computer science
  • mathematical sciences
  • medicine and allied subjects
  • physical sciences
  • technologies
  • courses leading to qualification as a veterinary surgeon
  • if you’re starting a healthcare course on or after 1 August 2017.

You must also meet the standard student loan requirements, such as:

  • being a UK resident or having ‘settled status’
  • studying at a UK institution
  • having lived in the UK for 3 years prior to the course start date (excluding temporary holidays)

Furthermore, although there is no age limit, if you’re over 60 you may be able to get limited maintenance funding.

How much can I borrow?

It’s important to note that the amount you can borrow for a second degree loan depends on several factors, such as the course you’re studying, where you’re studying, and your household income. In addition, you will only receive a loan to cover your tuition fees, as there is no SFE maintenance loan available for those pursuing a second degree.

Second Degree Loans vs. Other Funding Options: Which Is Right for You?

second degree student loan funding options

If you’re pursuing a second degree in the UK, you may have several funding options available to you, such as grants, scholarships, and private loans. Each option has its own advantages and disadvantages, so it’s important to carefully consider which one is right for you.

Second degree loans from Student Finance England (SFE) are a helpful option for covering the cost of tuition fees, but they may not be the best option for everyone. For example, if you’re pursuing a degree in a subject that’s not on the pre-approved list, you may need to explore other funding options.

Grants and scholarships are another option for funding your education. These are typically based on academic merit or financial need and do not need to be repaid. However, they may not cover the full cost of your tuition fees and living expenses.

Private loans are also an option for financing your education. Private lenders typically offer higher interest rates than SFE loans, but they may offer more flexible repayment options and additional benefits.

When considering your funding options, it’s important to carefully review the terms and conditions of each option and consider the total cost of borrowing. You should also think about your personal financial situation and how much you can afford to repay after you graduate.

Second Degree Loans in the UK: Repayment Options and Tips

student loan second degree repayment

If you’ve taken out a second degree loan in the UK, you’ll need to start repaying it once you’re earning over a certain threshold. The threshold is currently £25,00 per year (for those on plan 5, starting from August 2023), and your repayments depend on your income.

It’s important to note that the interest rate on your second degree loan will depend on the type of loan you have. Interest rates for SFE loans are typically lower than private loans, but it’s important to carefully review the terms and conditions of your loan to understand the interest rates and fees.

If you’re struggling to make your loan repayments, there are several options available to you, such as income-driven repayment plans and loan forgiveness programs. Be sure to contact Student Finance England (SFE) to discuss your options and find a repayment plan that works for you.

In addition to repayment options, there are several tips for managing your student loan debt. These include creating a budget, paying your loans on time, and exploring options for loan forgiveness or repayment assistance.

Overall, second degree loans in the UK can be a helpful option for financing your education, but it’s important to carefully consider the terms and conditions before you apply. By understanding your funding options and managing your loan debt effectively, you can achieve your educational goals and build a successful career.

Obtaining student loans for a second degree can be more challenging. In the UK, government-funded student loans are usually not available for a second undergraduate degree. However, there are exceptions, such as if you're studying an eligible course in healthcare or education. For postgraduate degrees, you may be eligible for a Master's Loan or a Doctoral Loan. Additionally, there are other sources of funding like scholarships, bursaries, and private loans that you might consider.

The number of times you can receive student finance typically depends on the duration of your chosen course and your previous study history. Generally, you're entitled to student finance for the full length of your first higher education course, plus one extra year if needed. It's important to note that this is usually limited to your first undergraduate degree. If you've previously completed a higher education course, you might not be eligible for funding for a second course.

Yes, you can pursue two undergraduate degrees in the UK. However, you should be aware that you may not be eligible for government student finance for your second degree. This means you'll need to consider alternative funding options, such as private loans, savings, or part-time work. Additionally, balancing two degrees can be demanding, so it's important to think about the time commitment and workload involved.

Generally, student finance is not available for a second undergraduate degree in the UK, with certain exceptions for specific courses like healthcare or education-related subjects. If you're considering a second degree, you might need to explore other funding options such as scholarships, bursaries, employer sponsorship, or private loans.

Funding a second degree in the UK requires exploring alternative options beyond government student finance. These can include:

  • Scholarships and bursaries: Many universities offer these based on merit or financial need.
  • Employer sponsorship: Some employers may fund your studies, especially if the degree is relevant to your job.
  • Private student loans: Various financial institutions offer loans for education purposes.
  • Part-time work: Balancing studies with part-time employment can help finance your degree.
  • Crowdfunding: In some cases, students have successfully used crowdfunding platforms to raise funds for their education.