Female and male students smiling in hallway

Eligibility and how to apply

Plus information on how to repay your loans after you finish your course

Most university students use student loans to help pay their tuition fees and living costs.

Student loans are provided by the Government. You only start repaying them after you finish uni if your gross income is more than £26,575.

There are 2 types of student loan – a tuition fee loan to cover your tuition fees and a maintenance loan to help with your living costs.

Tuition fee loan

A tuition fee loan covers your course tuition fees, which are currently £9,250 a year for full-time UK and EU students studying at Portsmouth. It’s paid directly to the university.

The amount you can borrow isn’t based on your household income. You don’t have to borrow the full amount if you want to fund some of your tuition fees yourself.

Part-time students

If you’re a part-time student, you can get a tuition fee loan if you’re studying at least 25% of a full-time course (30 credits a year).

Ask us if you’re not sure how many credits you’re studying.

EU and international students

You can apply for a tuition fee loan if you’re from the EU and starting your course in 2020/21. But you can’t apply for one if you’re not from the UK or EU.

Maintenance loan

A maintenance loan helps cover your living costs, up to £9,203 a year. It’s paid directly into your bank account in 3 instalments throughout the year.

The amount you get depends on where you study, where you live and your family income.

2020/21 maintenance loan amount for full time students studying outside London

Assessed household income

Maintenance loan amount (living away from home)

Maintenance loan amount (living with parents)

£25,000 or under












£42,875 £6,845 £5,414










£58,222 £4,820 £3,410




£62,249 or over



Part-time students

If you’re a part-time student, you can get a percentage of the maintenance loan if you’re studying at least 25% of one of the following full-time courses (30 credits a year):

  • a first degree, for example BA, BSc or BEd
  • a Graduate Certificate or Graduate Diploma
  • an Initial Teacher Training course (if it’s degree level or above)
  • an integrated master’s degree
  • a Foundation Degree in dental hygiene and dental therapy
  • a DipHE in dental hygiene and dental therapy or operating department practice

If you're studying a part-time distance learning course, you'll only be eligible for a Maintenance Loan if you're studying long distance because you have a disability.

EU and international students

Maintenance loans aren’t available to non-UK students.

Applying for student loans

If you’re a student from England or the EU, apply at Student Finance England.

If you’re from Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, apply through your home government:

If you’re from Jersey, Guernsey or the Isle of Man, contact your local education authority:

When to apply for student loans

You can apply for student loans and other student finance in the spring before the start of your course. Don’t wait until you get an offer or receive your exam results – apply as soon as you can.

Remember – you’ll need to reapply before the start of each academic year, not just before your first year at uni.

Part-time students

If you’re a part-time student, you’ll be asked how many credits you’re studying when you apply. Ask us if you’re not sure.

Repaying student loans

If you’re a UK or EU student, you’ll start repaying your student loans from the April after you finish your course when your gross income (before tax and other deductions) is at least £26,575.

You’ll repay 9% of your income over £26,575. For example, if your income is £30,000 a year you’ll repay £309 a year (9% of £3,425) or £32 a month.

These figures might be different if you live outside of the UK after your course or you’re from Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Jersey, Guernsey or the Isle of Man and you didn’t apply for your loans through Student Finance England.

Eligibility for student loans

You can usually only get a student loan if you’re doing your first undergraduate course, although there are some exceptions.

If you're over 60 years old at the start of your course, you can only get a smaller maintenance loan, which is based on your income. There's no upper age limit for the tuition fee loan.

See the Gov.uk website for full eligibility details.

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