David Shaw is a Senior Assessor in our processing department and has worked at SLC for two and half years.
Not every student knows what degree they want to study but students should be careful of picking the wrong course first time - they could end up without funding to do a degree they really want to do.
Students can usually only get student finance for their first higher-education qualification. When a student who has studied before applies for a Tuition Fee Loan we work out the number of years they are still eligible for funding using the following calculation:
Length of new course + one additional year – years of previous study = the number of years the student can get funding
Thomas has already studied for two years but he wants to apply for a Tuition Fee Loan for a new course, which lasts three years. Using the calculation above, he can get two years of funding. This is always applied to the final year of the student’s course. So, for his new course, Thomas can get a Tuition Fee Loan for his second and third year. He’ll have to pay the fees for his first, but he can still get a Maintenance Loan.
Where a student has a lower level qualification and wishes to ‘top up’ to an Honours degree, we use the following calculation to work out the number of years they are eligible for funding:
Length of new course, or three, whichever is longest + one year* – years spent on preliminary courses = the number of years the student can get funding
* Or the ordinary duration of the preliminary course(s) minus one, if the preliminary course(s) was three years or more.
A preliminary course is one of the following (if the student achieved that qualification):
If a student already holds a qualification they can’t get any further funding from SFE for another course at the same or lower level. Students who already have a degree but go on to study a course which leads to a professional qualification will be eligible for a Maintenance Loan, and can also apply for extra help if they have a disability, or children or an adult who depends on them.
A professional qualification includes:
An additional year of support may be available if a student fails to complete their course or needs to repeat a year due to compelling personal reasons, such as illness, and can prove this.
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