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Eligibility criteria

See the factors that affect whether you qualify for student finance

Qualifying for student finance (such as student loans, bursaries and scholarships) depends on factors such as your age, where you live, your household income and your personal circumstances. Here's some of the eligibility criteria.


Home (UK) students

You need to be a 'Home (UK)' student to apply for many types of funding. You also need to be 'ordinarily resident' in England. This means you normally live in England, but it doesn’t matter if you occasionally leave England temporarily.

To be classed as a Home (UK) student you must be one of the following:

  • a UK national or have ‘settled status’ (also known as 'indefinite leave to remain') in the UK (under the terms of the Immigration Act 1971) – this means that there are no immigration restrictions on how long you can stay in the UK
  • an EU national ‘ordinarily resident’ in the UK, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man for the 5 years before you start your course – but not wholly or mainly for the purpose of receiving full-time education

You may also be classed as a Home (UK) student if you:

  • are settled in the UK and have used a right of residence in the European Economic Area (EEA) before returning to the UK to study
  • have limited leave to remain in the UK, are under 18 and have lived here for over 7 years
  • have limited leave to remain in the UK, are over 18 and have lived here for at least half your life or 20 years
  • have Refugee or Humanitarian Protection (HP) status as the result of a failed application for asylum
  • are a migrant worker
  • are a child of a Swiss worker
  • are a child of a Turkish Worker

EU and international students

Explore your options in our funding for international students section.

Residency requirements deadline

You need to meet residency requirements for student finance before 1 September in the year you start your course. You can't become eligible during your course, even if you meet residency requirements in that time.

Previous undergraduate study

Most people can get student finance for the length of their undergraduate course, plus an extra year to cover retakes and transfers. This means you might not be eligible for student finance for some or all your course if you've studied on an undergraduate course before but didn't finish it.

How many years you can get support for is calculated as follows:

  • the length of your new course in years, plus 1 year
  • minus any previous years of undergraduate study (even if you didn't complete the year)

For instance, if your course is for 3 years and you decided to leave a previous undergraduate course during your first year, you'd be entitled to 3 years of student finance for your new course.

These restrictions don't apply to Government maintenance loans.

Already have an honours degree?

You usually can't get finance from Student Finance England if you already have an honours degree. But you may still qualify if you're doing a healthcare course that leads to registration as an NHS professional or if you're topping up a Foundation degree, HNC or HND to an honours degree.

You may still be eligible for the University of Portsmouth Bursary if you're doing a second undergraduate degree.


To qualify for a Government maintenance loan, you must be under 60 on 1 September in the year you start your course. If you're over 60, reduced means-tested loans are available. There's no upper age limit for Government tuition fee loans.

There are age restrictions on some of our University bursaries and scholarships.

Household income

Some elements of student finance are assessed on your household income.

If you're under 25, you'll normally be assessed on your parents’ income. If your parents are separated, you'll be assessed on the income of the parent you live with (and their partner if they also live with you).

If any of the following apply to you, you'll be considered independent of your parents and only assessed on your household income if you live with a partner:

  • you're 25 or over on the first day of the academic year
  • you care for a person under the age of 18 on the first day of the academic year
  • you’re married or in a civil partnership before the start of the academic year
  • you have no living parents
  • you’ve supported yourself financially for at least 3 years before the start of your course
  • your parents can’t be traced or it’s not practical or possible to contact them
  • your parents live outside the EU and an income assessment would put them in jeopardy (this may apply if you're a refugee)
  • you haven't communicated with your parents for 1 year before the beginning of the academic year
  • you were looked after by a local authority throughout any three-month period ending on or after the date you turned 16, and before the first day of the first academic year of your course
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