Undergraduate student finance for part-time students
The information provided on this page is applicable to students resident in England. The student support will vary for students from other parts of the UK. If you are resident in either, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland please refer to the information sources below:
- Students who are residents in Scotland can get information from the Student Awards Agency for Scotland.
- Students who are resident in Wales can find details at Student Finance Wales.
- Students who are resident in Northern Ireland should contact Student Finance Northern Ireland.
Additionally, students from another EU country may be entitled to a tuition fee loan to cover fees, however, generally speaking support for living costs would not be available. If you are a student from the EU for more information regarding what support is available please visit the Direct Gov website.
Tuition Fee Loans
From 2015, when you start your studies you do not have to pay your tuition fees upfront. You will be able to take out a loan through Student Finance England to pay them instead.
In order to qualify for student finance, including tuition fee loans, you have to satisfy certain residence requirements. For most people, this means you must be living in England on the first day of your course, have been living in the UK for the three years immediately beforehand and not have any restrictions on your stay in the UK. There are also other ways you can meet the requirements, for example, if you are a refugee living in the UK, and you can find further details on the direct.gov website.
In general, you’ll only be able to get the finance package for higher education students if you’re doing a first higher education qualification or ‘topping up’ a lower-level higher education qualification. Usually, this means financial help for the length of your course - plus, if necessary, one extra year to cover any false starts or transfers.
The amount of tuition fee loan available is linked to the amount charged by Birmingham City University for your chosen course. For example, if your tuition fees are £6,935 the maximum tuition loan available will be £6,935.
How we spend our money
As a University, most of our income comes directly from our students and their tuition fees. That’s why we like to tell you how our money comes in and more importantly, where we spent it.
The loans are not means tested so if you are an eligible student you will be able to apply for the maximum amount, regardless of your household income.
Interest is charged from when the loan is taken out at the rate of inflation. Repayments of the loan will commence the April after graduation, and once you are earning in excess of £25,000 per annum if you started your course in or after 2023.
If you take out a tuition fee loan, the money will be paid direct to the university on your behalf. If you do not take out a tuition fee loan you will need to make arrangements to pay the university yourself. You may be able to pay your fees in instalments by direct debit but you will need to arrange this when you enrol on your course.
Support for Living Costs - Maintenance Loan for living costs
In addition to the tuition fee loan, you can apply for a Maintenance Loan to support with student living costs. Maintenance Loans are paid directly into your bank account in three instalments each year. The loan can be used for any living costs. Most commonly students spend their Maintenance Loan on rent, travel costs, food, social life, course materials and any other day-to-day living expenses.
In order to get a loan to help with your living costs you need to meet the same residence and previous study requirements as previously mentioned. You also have to be aged under 60 when you start your course.
How much you can get depends on:
- where you live while studying
- your household income
- your course intensity
To be eligible for the Maintenance Loan, your course intensity must be 25 per cent or above. ‘Course intensity’ measures how much of your course you complete each year compared to an equivalent full-time course. You can work this out by comparing your module credits with the amount of module credits a full-time student would study, or contact us if you're unsure.
You can get an estimate of how much you will receive by using the student finance calculator.
Repayment of loans
As stated earlier you only have to start paying your tuition fee loan back after you have graduated or left your course, and you are earning more than £25,000 if you started your course in or after 2023. Repayments will be nine per cent of the amount earned above £25,000.
Repayments will usually begin the April after you graduate or leave your course.
Interest will be added at a rate equal to inflation from the time you take out your loan until the date when repayment is due.
From then on, the interest rate will vary according to your earnings.
If you are earning £25,000 or less, the interest rate will reduce to just the rate of inflation.
If you are earning more than £25,000 there will also be a real rate of interest added above the rate of inflation.
HM Revenue and Customs collect the repayments. Either your employer will take your payments direct from your salary or, if you are self-employed, HM Revenue and Customs will collect the repayments through the tax self-assessment system.
If you earn less than £25,000 per year or stop working at any point, you will not have to make any repayments during that period.
If any of your loan is left unpaid after 40 years, it is written off.
Some students can get additional grants.
If you have an adult who is financially dependent on you, you may be eligible for an Adult Dependant's Grant of up to £3,354. The grant is means-tested on household income.
If you need child care during your studies, you may be eligible for a Child Care Grant. The grant is means-tested and could provide up to 85 per cent of your childcare costs. The maximum grant available is £188.90 per week for one child or £323.85 per week for two or more children.
You may also be eligible to receive a Parents' Learning Allowance to help with additional costs you may incur during your study because you have children. This may be up to £1,915 per year, again the actual amount will depend on household income.
Disabled Students' Allowance
(DSA) can help to pay for extra costs you may have to pay while studying as a direct result of a disability or specific learning difficulty. This can include:
- items of specialist equipment,
- a non-medical helper and
- other disability-related expenditure.
NHS and Ministry of Defence funded courses
Students on Nursing, midwifery and most allied health profession courses can access student loans, and there is an additional government grant for some healthcare students. Find out more.
The Ministry of Defence ELC scheme entitles service personnel and service leavers to receive financial help with the cost of their learning. Find out more information about the scheme.
How to apply
Apply online at Student Finance Direct or contact 0845 300 50 90.
Student Finance England can also give you further information about whether you qualify for any grants and how much loan you can take out to cover your tuition fees and/or living costs. Any grants and loans for living costs will be paid directly into your bank or building society account, usually in three instalments.
You do not need to wait until you receive an offer of a place before you apply for financial support.
What should you do next?
Find out what support is available
We've got all the information you need to understand the financial support that's available from both the government at BCU.Financial support
See if you're eligible for one of our scholarships
We want all our students to achieve their full potential. With our High Achiever and Accelerate Scholarships, you could receive extra funding and support to kick start your BCU journey.Find out more about scholarships
Become a money-savvy student
Not sure how much it costs to live on your own, commute to uni or do your own food shop? We've put together all of the information and top tips you need to become a budgeting expert.Student living costs