University tuition fees and financial support in Northern Ireland
An overview of the university tuition fees and funding available for students from Northern Ireland.
This page outlines what's available for students from Northern Ireland for 2020–21 entry. Check to find the exact dates, cost of fees and financial support that’s available on university and student funding websites.
To be classed as a student from Northern Ireland, you'll normally need to have lived in Northern Ireland for the three years before starting your course. See our information on eligibility for details.
If you’re going to university in Northern Ireland
Universities can charge you up to £4,395 a year for tuition. You won't have to pay this upfront. You can apply online to Student Finance NI for a loan of up to £4,395 to help cover this fee.
If you’re going to university in England, Scotland or Wales
Universities in England and Scotland can charge you up to £9,250 a year, and universities in Wales can charge up to £9,000. If you’re taking an accelerated degree (which is completed in less time than a normal degree) universities in England can charge up to £11,100. You won't have to pay tuition fees upfront. You can apply online to Student Finance NI for a loan of up to £9,250 (or up to £11,100 for an accelerated degree) to help cover this fee.
If you’re going to university in the Republic of Ireland
If you’re eligible for support from Student Finance NI, you can apply for funding to study a course in the Republic of Ireland (ROI). Here, you pay a tuition contribution rather than a tuition fee – this is €3,000 in 2020–21.
A loan is available to cover your tuition contribution. Please refer to Student Finance NI for details.
If you’re going to be a full-time undergraduate, you can apply from March of the year your course starts. The deadline for applying is nine months after the start of the academic year. It’s best to apply early so that the Student Loans Company (SLC) is able to pay your tuition fees to your university at the beginning of your course. You’ll need to apply for a loan each year of your course. As this is a loan, you'll eventually need to pay it back.
You can apply online to Student Finance NI for a means-tested maintenance loan to help with living costs. You can also apply by paper form, which is available from your school or local Student Finance NI office. There are different amounts of maintenance loan available – this depends on household income and where you’ll live during term-time.
If your household income is above £41,065, the amount of maintenance loan you can get will gradually reduce down to the minimum shown in brackets in the table below – with the expectation that you’ll find the difference elsewhere. This might be from contributions from parents, a part-time job or savings. It's worth looking for other financial support such as grants, bursaries or scholarships, if you’re eligible.
If your household income is £41,065 or less, you may be eligible for a maintenance grant. Extra funding support is also available if you have particular circumstances such as being a lone parent. Unlike the maintenance loan, these grants don't need to be repaid. See details about extra funding below.
If you don’t give details of your household income, you can apply for a non-means-tested loan. Amounts are the figures in brackets below.
|If you...||You may get...|
|Live at home||£3,750 or less (£2,812 minimum)|
|Live away from home and study in London||£6,780 or less (£5,085)|
|Live away from home and study outside of London (or if you live away from home and study in the Republic of Ireland)||£4,840 or less (£3,630)|
|Live and study abroad for at least one term as part of your course (up to one year)||
£5,770 or less (£4,330)
The application deadline is the same as for tuition fee loans (see above). The maintenance loan is paid into your bank account at the start of each term once you’ve registered on your course. You’ll need to reapply for a loan each year.
What if your course is longer than 30 weeks?
You can get an additional loan. The maximum extra loan available per week is:
- £55 – if you’re living with your parents
- £108 – if you’re living in London
- £84 – if you’re living outside of London
- £117 – if you’re studying overseas
You may be eligible for one of the two grants below, both up to £3,475, depending on your household income. You don’t need to pay them back.
You can get the maintenance grant if your household income is £41,065 or less. However, it'll decrease the amount of maintenance loan you can apply for.
Special support grant
This is based on other criteria, such as being a lone parent. Unlike the maintenance grant, the special support grant won't reduce the amount of maintenance loan you're eligible to apply for. If you’re entitled to this grant, you can't also receive a maintenance grant.
If you get either of these grants, you may also qualify for a bursary. Contact your university to find out more. Further support may be available if you meet a particular set of criteria. For instance, if you’re leaving care to enter higher education, or you have a disability or mental health issue.
You start repaying your student loan from the April after you leave university, and once your salary has reached a certain amount. You pay a percentage of your income.
- READ MORE
- Repaying your student loan