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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 2019–20 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 £4,275 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 £4,275 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, and universities in Wales can charge up to £9,000. If you are taking an accelerated degree (which is completed in less time than a normal degree) universities in England can charge up to £11,100. You will not have to pay tuition fees up front. 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 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 2019–20. 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.

There are different amounts of maintenance loan available. This depends on household income, and where you will live during term-time.

Those with a household income of £42,000 and above will be assessed for a lower amount of maintenance loan, down to the minimum shown in brackets in the table below – with the expectation that the difference will require money to be found elsewhere. This might be through parental contribution, plus a part-time job or savings. It's also worth looking for other financial support such as grants, bursaries or scholarships, if you are eligible.

Households where income is £41,065 or less may be eligible for a maintenance grant; extra funding support is also available to students with particular circumstances such as being a lone parent. Unlike the maintenance loan, these grants do not need to be repaid. Please refer to Extra Funding, below, for details.

If you do not want to give details of your household income, you can apply for a non-means-tested loan; for amounts, please refer to the figures in brackets below.

If you:You may receive:
Live at home £3,750 or less (£2,812 non-income assessed)
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 as for tuition fee loans, above. The maintenance 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. For household incomes from £29,019–41,065 the amount of grant plus loan will work out the same as the maximum loan rates shown in the table above for where you live – except of course you won't need to pay the grant element of the amount back. Those with household incomes below £29,019 will get more support in total.
  • Special Support Grant – this is based on other criteria, such as being a lone parent. Unlike the maintenance grant, the special support grant will not reduce 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.