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Loans (which must be repaid) are the main way that students get financial help. There are two sorts of loan available: maintenance loans and tuition fee loans

Maintenance Loans

These loans are to help with your living costs. They are paid in three instalments, directly into your bank account, at the start of each term.

The amount you can borrow depends on your household income and where you live whilst you study.

The maximum loan available is as follows:

  • £3,580 if you are living at home
  • £4,625 if you are living away from home, outside London
  • £6,475 if you are living away from home, in London

However, 25% of this (a quarter) depends on how much income is coming into your household. If you rely on parents for financial support, it will normally be their income which is used to calculate your loan.

Tuition fee loans

You can also apply for a Student Loan for Fees, to cover the cost of your tuition fees. This is paid directly to the place where you are studying. Therefore you do not have to pay for the cost of your course while you are a student, unless you choose to.

Applying for loans

(This also applies to grants.)

Start thinking about applying for financial help as soon as you have applied for a place on a course. Don't wait until you have a confirmed place before applying for your financial support. When applying for support you will only be asked to name the course you are most likely to attend.

You will be required to provide certain pieces of evidence. And if you nominate a sponsor (such as a parent who will be providing financial support for you), they will also be required to provide certain evidence.

You can apply either online or by using a paper application form.

To make a paper application, get in touch with your Local Authority.

Applying online

To apply on-line, go to the Student Finance Direct website ( You will be taken through the following steps:

Step 1: Register

Register your details with Student Finance Direct. You will be asked to create security details, such as a password, so you can access your student finance account online or when you phone. You will be given an ART ID, which is your unique eleven-digit identification number.

Step 2: Log in

When you have registered, you can use your Art ID and passwords to access your on-line account. From here you can apply for student support and maintain your account details.

Step 3: Create and submit an application

Once you have logged into your account, you can fill in your application. Once you have submitted your application, it will be sent automatically to your Local Authority to be processed.

You can log in at any time to see the progress of your application.

You will be sent a letter telling you what financial support you are entitled to.

Step 4: Send in your evidence

As a new student, you will be required to send certain evidence to your local authority. You will be shown the address to send this evidence to, and you can use the on-line account to track it.

Step 5: Keep track of your account

From your Student Finance Direct account, you can:

  • update your contact and bank details,
  • view information and correspondence about your application for financial support,
  • ask questions, or search for answers, about student finance.

Repaying your loans

You will repay the loans you have had, when you have graduated and are working.

The loans will be collected by the Inland Revenue, once you are earning more than £15,000 a year.

If you don’t graduate, you will still have to repay any loans you have had.

Budgeting exercise

  • What's Dipak's annual income?
  • What is his annual expenditure?
  • How much is he going to need in grants or loans?
Dipak's income
Family contribution per term 300
Summer job: 5 weeks @ 200 per week 1,000
Christmas job: 2 weeks @ 200 per week 400
Part-time bar work per term 400

This page was updated on 15 July, 2008

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