In today’s economy, balancing finances as a student can definitely be a challenge. Between food, rent and study supplies, student expenses add up. To help with this management, I’ve put together a guide to the benefits that students can claim.

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    Tuition loan

    What benefits can students claim?
    Source: Teesside University Facebook

    New full-time undergraduate students qualify for a tuition loan from the government. Full-time students are eligible for up to £9,250 and those studying an accelerated degree course (three-year undergraduate courses that are condensed into two years) you can get up to £11,100. This loan is paid directly to your university or college.

    Maintenance loan

    What benefits can students claim?
    Source: University of Birmingham

    New full-time students also qualify for a maintenance loan, which is paid directly into your bank account at the start of each term. It is based on your household income and your course’s start date. The maximum amount you can get also depends on where you’ll be living (e.g. with or without parents, in or outside of London). Factors such as whether you’ll spend a year abroad or if you’re over 60 on the first day of the first academic year of your course also impact the maximum amount of maintenance loan you can get.

    Extra loan money can also be given to those studying a course that lasts longer than 30 weeks and 3 days in an academic year. This is known as a Long Course Loan. Not sure how much you qualify for? Use the government’s student finance calculator to check. This will also tell you if you’re eligible for grants or allowances. Government loans are paid back with interest when you’ve left your course and your income is over a certain threshold.

    Study abroad grant

    pros and cons of gap year travel insurance
    Source: Canva

    If you’re a student in England who will be studying abroad or on placements as part of your degree, you may be eligible for a travel grant. The criteria are as follows:

    • you’re studying abroad as part of your course
    • you’re on a study or work placement through the Erasmus, Turing or Taith schemes
    • you’re a medical or dental student studying abroad or attending a clinical placement in the UK

    Learn more about how much you could be eligible for here.

    16 to 19 bursary fund

    bursary fund benefits for students
    Source: De Montfort University

    A bursary is used by students or their education/training provider to pay for things like books, course equipment and transport. Students aged 16-19 who are

    • studying at a publicly funded school or college in England – not a university
    • on a training course, including unpaid work experience
    • meet the residency requirements – your school or college can check this

    can qualify for a bursary to help cover educational-related costs

    As well as this, you could be eligible for a bursary if you either:

    • are continuing on a course you started aged 16 to 18 (known as being a ’19+ continuer’)
    • have an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP)

    The government provides bursaries for students in vulnerable groups. You may be able to get a bursary if one or more of the following applies:

    • you’re in or you recently left local authority care
    • you get Income Support or Universal Credit because you’re financially supporting yourself
    • you get Disability Living Allowance (DLA) in your name and either Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) or Universal Credit
    • you get Personal Independence Payment (PIP) in your name and either ESA or Universal Credit

    The amount you may get depends on the costs you have and what is needed for your course. As well as this, you can also receive a discretionary bursary. Schools and colleges often have their own criteria for discretionary bursaries, and take into account things such as your household income. If you’re over 19 you will only be eligible for a discretionary bursary.

    Universal Credit

    What benefits can students claim?
    Photo by Green Chameleon on Unsplash

    Full-time students can’t usually get Universal Credit. However, there are some exceptions:

    • you’re aged 21 or under, in full-time non-advanced education and do not have parental support
    • you’re responsible for a child
    • you live with your partner and they’re eligible for Universal Credit
    • you’ve reached the qualifying age for Pension Credit and live with a partner who is under that age
    • you’ve received a Migration Notice telling you to move to Universal Credit
    • you’re disabled, were assessed as having limited capability for work before starting your course, and are getting:
      • Personal Independence Payment
      • Disability Living Allowance
      • Child Disability Payment in Scotland
      • Attendance Allowance
      • Armed Forces Independence Payment

    You may also be able to get Universal Credit if you’re studying in full-time non-advanced education, you do not get a student loan or maintenance grant and you’re available for work. If the course is more than 12 hours a week, this only applies from 1 September following your 19th birthday. This is because your parents can claim benefits for you before that date.

    You may be asked to provide evidence of the course you’re doing.

    Students with children or dependent adults

    What benefits can students claim?
    Source: University of Bristol

    Full-time students who meet certain criteria can apply for a Childcare Grant  to help cover childcare costs. A Parents’ Learning Allowance to help with learning costs is also available to full-time students. It does not affect benefits or tax credits. Full-time students in higher education who have an adult depending on them financially can apply for an Adult Dependants’ Grant of up to £3,438 for the 2024/2025 academic year. Students getting a Postgraduate Loan are not eligible for this grant.

    Disabled students

    What benefits can students claim?
    Source: University of Manchester

    The Disabled Students’ Allowance helps cover the study-related costs a student may have because of a mental health problem, long-term illness or any other disability. It can be on its own or in addition to any student finance you get, and does not need to be paid back. The type of support and how much you get depends on your individual needs as opposed to your household income. For the 2024/2025 academic year, undergraduate and postgraduate students in England can get up to £26,948 a year for support. DSA support might include funding for equipment, covering travel costs, or funding non-medical personal help.

    Social Work students

    What benefits can students claim?
    Source: Canva

    If you’re studying social work at undergraduate or postgraduate level you may get a bursary to help with living costs and tuition fees.

    Medical, Nursery, Midwifery and Allied Health Profession students

    What benefits can students claim?
    Source: Cardiff University

    Students enrolled on certain undergraduate or postgraduate healthcare courses may be eligible for the NHS Learning Support Fund (LSF). The LSF is made up of 4 main elements, including a Training Grant, Parental Support for students with a dependent child under 15, Travel and Dual Accommodation Expenses which can be claimed back and an Exceptional Support Fund. What you get depends on your circumstances. NHS bursaries are also available if you’re studying certain medical or dentistry courses.

    Teacher training students

    Both full-time and part-time undergraduates can get student finance for initial teacher training (ITT) – including early years and school-centred initial teacher training (SCITT).

    Full-time and part-time Postgraduates may be able to get student finance for ITT – not including early years, Postgraduate Certificate of Education (PGCE) and SCITT. If you already have qualified teacher status, you cannot get an undergraduate tuition fee loan. You may also be able to get a postgraduate training bursary or an undergraduate training bursary from the Department for Education (DfE).

    University and college hardship funds

    What benefits can students claim?
    Source: Canva

    Students experiencing financial hardship could get extra money from their university or college. You may be, for example:

    • a student with children, especially single parents
    • a mature student with existing financial commitments
    • from a low-income family
    • disabled
    • a student who was previously in care (a ‘care leaver’)
    • homeless or living in a foyer

    The amount you can get is decided by your university or college. It’s paid in a lump sum or instalments. You will not usually have to pay the money back, but in some cases you’ll get a loan that you have to repay.

    Funding from charitable trusts

    To check whether you qualify for funding from a charitable trust, visit the Turn2us Grants Search.

    If you want to learn more about Postgraduate funding, check out our article discussing all you need to know about postgraduate loans and why there’s no maintenance loan for a master’s.


    • My name is Sofia and I'm in my first year studying English at the University of Bristol. I'm interested in films, writing and finding new places to visit!

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