Part-Time Funding - Courses Which Start From 1 September 2012 Onwards
Part-time funding for undergraduate study - which includes part-time distance learning courses – is changing. This section applies to students who will begin a new course of Higher Education from 1 September 2012 onwards.
If you have been studying a part-time programme which began before 1 September 2012, and have progressed or plan to progress onto a higher level course ('top up' your qualification) after 1st September 2012, you may be entitled to funding under the pre-2012 rules - this will depend on whether or not you are classed as an 'end-on' student.
From 1 September 2012 all universities will be able to charge students starting a new part-time undergraduate course up to £6,750 per annum; for the first time students may now be eligible to apply for a Tuition Fee Loan to cover these costs in full.
The following offers information about the various funding routes to assist with the cost of part-time undergraduate study for students starting a new course from 1 September 2012 onwards, including:
Only undergraduate courses qualify for the funding described in these pages
What financial assistance is available for part-time (including distance learning) undergraduate students?
Students commencing study after 1 September 2012 have access to two main sources of financial support:
• Tuition Fee Loan, available from Student Finance England;
• University Funding (Access to Learning Fund, Administered Trusts).
Residency: All Home (UK) students can apply to Student Finance England for Statutory Support if they meet the following residence requirements:
|Is a UK national or has 'settled status' in the UK (under the terms of the Immigration Act 1971); and|
|Is ‘ordinarily resident’ in England; and|
|Has been 'ordinarily resident’ in the UK, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man for the three years immediately before starting the course - and not wholly or mainly for the purpose of receiving full-time education|
|Does not already hold a degree or other qualification which is equivalent to, or higher than, the new programme of study|
EU students may also apply for a fee loan from Student Finance England for part-time study but must be living in England whilst studying to qualify – EU students studying distance learning courses from outside the UK will not be funded.
Age: Students must be 18 to apply for student funding but there is no upper age limit.
Students are only eligible for funding towards the costs of undergraduate programmes. These include:
• HE Certificate
• HE Diploma
• Foundation Degree
Postgraduate courses, which include MSc/MA/PhD/PG Certificates, are NOT eligible for statutory or University part-time funding. For information on how to fund Postgraduate study please contact the relevant Department or see postgraduate funding.
Students commencing study after 1st September 2012 must be studying at an intensity of at least 25% of an equivalent full-time course each year:
• Full-time courses contain 120 credits per academic year;
• One module normally equals 20 credits;
• 25% of a full-time equivalent course equals a minimum of 30 credits.
It is the designation of the course which determines funding eligibility; courses designated as part-time (whether campus-based or distance learning) are covered by the part-time funding rules even if you study at 100% full-time equivalent (i.e. 120 credits in one year).
*There is one exception to this rule: if you have been accepted onto a full-time campus-based course but are unable to attend due to disability and the University adapts the course to enable you to study by distance learning, you may apply for full-time funding.
Student Finance England funding: request a part-time loan application form and a “Guide to Financial Support for Part-Time Students in Higher Education” from the Student Finance information line: 0800 731 9133, or contact Student Finance England on 0845 300 5090. The form is also available from the Direct Gov website
You are must apply within 6 months of the first day of your course’s academic year – these dates are fixed and will be one of the following, whichever your course start most closely follows:
• 1st September
• 1st January
• 1st April
• 1st July
If your course starts in October then you must apply within 6 months of 1st September.
University Funding: There are various types of University support, all of which can be applied for by completing a Part-Time Funding Application Form. Once the application is returned to the University you will be assessed for eligibility for the most appropriate source of funding. You will normally be informed of the outcome within 14 days of receipt of your form.
For all funding you must re-apply for each new academic year of your course.
Student Finance England: students will be only considered for a tuition fee loan. The maximum loan is £6750 per annum, or the actual cost of the course, whichever is lower. Student Finance England does not offer any further financial assistance toward any other costs except Disabled Students Allowance.
Most part-time students study 60 credits per year, which equates to 50% of a full time course, although some students study up to 120 credits within a year. See ‘Is my course classed as part-time for funding?’ for further detail about course intensity.
University funds: students applying for help from the University will be income assessed; support is primarily aimed at students who are entering higher education for the first time, although if you attained a degree level qualification more than five years ago your application will be considered in exceptional circumstances. Exceptional circumstances are most likely, though not exclusively, health-related; you will need to demonstrate that these circumstances prevented the continuation of an original career path.
Students who do not qualify for statutory support because they hold an equivalent qualification, but which is not an honours degree, may also qualify for University funds in exceptional circumstances. It is recommended that you speak with a Student Finance Adviser at the University to discuss your individual circumstances in more detail.
University funds are limited and therefore awards will be capped – possibly at rates lower than your requirements - to maintain the availability of funds for as many students as possible. Before an award is made students must demonstrate that they can afford any additional costs they are required to pay otherwise funding is unlikely to be available.
Students are ineligible for University fee support if they are entitled to a tuition fee loan from Student Finance England.
Types of University funding
Type Of Help
Childcare support. Childcare costs will only be paid where the children are being looked after whilst you are attending your course
|Other course-related costs such as books, travel and compulsory field trips/residentials|
University-administered Trust Funds (Faire and Allaway/Gwendoline Marie Edwards)
|Help towards , travel, childcare or other course-related costs if you do not meet the eligibility criteria for other support; strict criteria apply and these funds are very limited|
How is my situation assessed?
Student Finance England: The Tuition fee loan is not income assessed: your household income does not affect how much fee loan you are entitled to receive.
University funds: this funding is income assessed and there is no guarantee of an award. If an award is approved towards fees, you will normally be expected to make a contribution. It is strongly recommended that you submit funding applications to the University before starting your course to ensure that sufficient funding is available.
For all funding you must re-apply for each new academic year of your course.
Tuition Fee Loan: the loan becomes due once you begin earning £21,000 or more per annum. Repayments commence in the April which falls three years after the anniversary of the start date of your course, even if you are still studying.
If your course starts in October 2012 you will begin repayments in the April 2016.
If the course is shorter than three years you will begin repayments from the April after you complete the course.
Interest on your loan is applied at the rate of inflation plus 3% until the April which falls three years after the anniversary of the start date of your course and then at:
The rate of inflation if you earn less than £21,000;
The rate of inflation and up to 3% if you earn between £21,001 and £41,000;
The rate of inflation and over 3% if you earn over £41,001.
You will repay 9% of your income above £21,000.
Salary = £30,000: £30,000 - £21,000 = £9,000. Repayments will be based on 9% of £9,000. See the table below for example repayments.
Tuition Fee Loans: example repayments table
|Annual Salary||Amount from which 9% repayment will be deducted||Monthly repayment|
The payment will be automatically deducted from your salary every month (a separate arrangement is in place for self-employed people and those living overseas) and stops if your income drops below £21,000. See more detailed information on loan repayments
University funds: all University support is in the form of grants and does not have to be repaid.
If you are unhappy with the decision regarding your Statutory Support please refer to the appeals process of Student Finance England.
If you are unhappy with the decision regarding University funding you can contact a Student Finance Adviser at the University; if you are local to the University, you may wish to make an appointment. You will be able to discuss concerns about your application and consider whether there are other possible funding routes to meet your needs. Following this if you remain unhappy there is an appeals procedure which is detailed in your notification letter.
You must apply for the course based upon the guidelines set by each individual Department. You will be expected to either pay a deposit or provide confirmation that you have been approved for a fee loan in order to register and commence your studies.
If you have applied for a tuition fee loan, but you have not received confirmation of this by the time your online registration opens, please contact us. A Student Finance Adviser will advise you on how to resolve your difficulties so that you can proceed with the registration process.
DSAs are available to provide assistance with costs incurred as a direct result of a disability, long-term illness, mental health condition or specific learning difficulty (such as dyslexia). DSAs are not income assessed. For further information and advice, please contact the University of Leicester's AccessAbility Centre who can help with DSA applications as well as advise on specific support available from the University. See also Student Finance England's guidance for disabled students.
There are a number of grant-making organisations that may consider assisting students, particularly in certain priority groups (e.g. lone parents, students with disabilities). Directories are held at most large reference libraries. There are also some web searches that can help:
Money Saving Expert for guidance on money saving tips
Guide to Financial Support for Part-Time Students in Higher Education; Tel: 0800 731 9133
Disabled Students' Allowances - Bridging the Gap; Tel: 0800 731 9133
Student Finance Advisers
The Student Finance Advisers are based in the University of Leicester’s Student Welfare Service; they can advise on a range of financial matters, including how to maximise your income, the availability of external funding (such as state benefits) and can offer help with budgeting.
Contact us for further advice.