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Tuition fee loans and financial support – if you come from Northern Ireland

This is an outline of what is available for students from Northern Ireland for 2018–19 entry. Check to find the exact dates, cost of fees and financial support available on university and student funding websites.

Note: to be classed as a student from Northern Ireland, you will normally need to have lived in Northern Ireland for the three years before starting your course. Please see our information on eligibility for details.

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University tuition fees and loans  Funding your living costs
Extra funding  Repaying your loan

Castle In Northern Ireland

University tuition fees and loans

If you are going to university in Northern Ireland:
Universities can charge you up to £4,160 a year for tuition. You will not have to pay this up front. You can apply online to Student Finance NI for a loan of up to £4,160 to help cover this fee.

If you are going to university in England, Scotland or Wales:
Universities in England and Scotland can charge up to £9,250 a year. Universities in Wales can charge up to £9,000. You will not have to pay this up front. You can apply online to Student Finance NI for a loan of up to £9,250 to help cover this fee.

If you are going to university in the Republic of Ireland:
Students eligible for support from Student Finance NI can apply for funding to study a course in the Republic of Ireland (ROI). Here, students pay a tuition contribution rather than a tuition fee: this is €3,000 in 2018–19. A loan is available to cover your tuition contribution, please refer to Student Finance NI for details. In January 2019, the Irish Government confirmed this arrangement will continue for Northern Irish students starting a course in 2019, for the duration of their course.

All students:
If you are 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 is 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 will need to apply for a loan each year of your course. As this is a loan, you will also need to pay it back.

Funding your living costs

You can apply online to Student Finance NI for a means-tested maintenance loan. You can also apply for your loan by a paper form (PN1), available from your school or local Student Finance NI office.

The loan will vary, depending on your household income and where you will live during term-time. The amount of loan you can apply for reduces by £1 for every £9.50 of income above £41,510, down to 75% of the full loan. It is expected that households will fund the difference. Lower-income households may also get a lower amount of loan, if this is supplemented by a maintenance grant (see below).

If you do not want to give details of your household income, you can apply for a non-means-tested loan. If you do, you will receive 75% of the full loan, depending on where you live while you study.

If you:You may receive:
Live at home £3,750 or less
Live away from home and study in London £6,780 or less
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
Live and study abroad for at least one term as part of your course (up to one year) £5,770 or less

The application deadline is as above. This loan is paid into your bank account at the start of each term once you’ve registered on your course. You will need to apply for a loan each year.

What if my course is longer than 30 weeks?

You can get an additional loan. The maximum extra loan available per week is:

  • £55 if you are living with your parents
  • £108 if you are living in London
  • £84 if you are living outside of London
  • £117 if you are studying overseas.

Extra funding

You may be eligible for one of two grants, both up to £3,475 (depending on your household income). You do not need to pay these back. They are the:

  • Maintenance Grant – You can receive this if your household income is £41,065 or less. It will decrease the amount of maintenance loan you can apply for.
  • Special Support Grant – This is based on other criteria, such as being a single parent. It will not affect the amount of maintenance loan you are eligible to apply for. If you are entitled to this grant, you cannot also receive a maintenance grant.

If you get either of the above grants, you may also qualify for a bursary. Contact your university to find out more. Bursaries and scholarships do not have to be paid back.

Further support may be available if you meet a particular set of criteria. For instance, if you are leaving care to enter higher education, or if you have a disability or mental health problem. Read more about other financial support.

Repaying your loans

You will start repaying the loan from the April after you leave university, and once your salary has reached a certain amount. You will pay a percentage of your income. See our content on repaying your loan.