Qualitative higher education is the key to success in life. However, as the cost of education rises, it is not easily accessible to everyone. Therefore, graduating from the top institutes can only be a distant dream for a few who do not have the financial standing to fund their education.
Even though some individuals start saving for college or university from a young age, they may still not have enough to get an education. Fortunately, financial aid is available to those who are in need.
A student loan can be instrumental in bridging this gap. Before you start applying for a student loan from lenders, you have to conduct a loan eligibility check. The eligibility for student loan depends on a variety of factors ranging from their place of residence to the course that they are pursuing at the university.
Today, we will take a look at the various criteria to be eligible for student loans.
Student Loan Eligibility
The following factors come to play while deciding your student loan eligibility:
- The university or college you are enrolled in
- Your academic course
- If you have prior experience studying a higher education course
- Your age
- Your residence status or nationality
Let us examine them one by one:
The College Or University
Educational bodies in the UK are categorised either as ‘recognised’ or ‘listed’ institutions. The recognised institutions are higher education bodies that can grant degrees. On the other hand, listed institutions cannot award degrees but are affiliated with recognised bodies, which will provide the degree.
Regardless of the college or university that you apply to, it should be a publicly funded UK university and a recognised educational body that offers a qualifying course. Certain private institutions offer public-funded courses, which may also make you eligible for a student loan.
However, do bear in mind that the courses offered by private institutions may be higher than public universities, and as a result, you will have to finance the difference personally.
Also Read: How To Study Abroad With A Low GPA
The Academic Course
In addition to “where you study,” the course that you study also plays a vital role in determining your eligibility for the student loan. You may check with the university or the student finance body to seek clarification on whether the academic course is recognised or otherwise.
Here are a few examples of academic courses that make you eligible for a student loan if you are pursuing these full-time:
- First degree (for example, BA, BEd, or BSc)
- Certificate or Diploma of Higher Education
- Foundation degree
- Higher National Certificate (HNC) or Higher National Diploma (HND)
- Initial Teacher Training (ITT/ITE)
- Postgrad Certificate of Education (PGCE or PGDE in Scotland)
- Integrated Master’s course
On the other hand, the above courses, when pursued part-time courses, require a course intensity of 25% or more to make you eligible for a student loan. 25% course intensity means that the course would take four times as long as its full-time equivalent, where you are required to study 30 credits per year.
It is worth noting that if you have a student loan for a part-time course, you will start paying back your loan in four years after commencing your course. Hence, you will have to begin repaying the loan even though you have not completed the course.
Certain courses may also make you eligible for assistance from public funds, such as the NHS bursary. At the same time, Maintenance Loans are also available for the eligible students.
Previous Studying Experience
It’s possible that you have changed a course, stopped your studies, or had to repeat a year. If you dismissed the course within the first year of studying, then you can get funding for the same or a new course upon rejoining. You can also get funding if you:
- Withdrew or suspended your course even before you finished it, and are now going back to pursue any course
- Are repeating a year of the previous course at the same university or college
If you have stopped your course due to personal reasons, such as illness or pregnancy, you will have to apply for the student loan along with supporting evidence.
On the other hand, you might have already gained a first degree and are now trying for a second. Typically, you are eligible for a student loan while acquiring your first degree of higher education.
Thus, even if you have self-funded your previous course, you may not earn a full student loan. In its place, you may be eligible for limited funding under certain conditions and for specific classes.
You may get limited funding if you:
- Are ‘topping up’ your education for a higher qualification.
- Are holding an Honours degree (or a higher level of qualification) and starting a new course in subjects like agriculture, computer science, technologies, and so on.
Fortunately, there is no age threshold for tuition loans or grants.
Those who are 60 or above can apply for Maintenance Loan that offers limited funding in the following conditions:
- You are 60 or above on the first day of the academic course.
- You are enrolled for a full-time course.
- You started the course on or after August 2016.
Residency Status Or Nationality
You can apply for a student loan under the following conditions:
- You are either a UK National or have the ‘settled status,’ with no restriction on how long you can stay.
- You normally reside in England.
- You have been living in the UK, Channel Islands, or the Isle of Mann for at least three years before starting the course.
Alternatively, you are also eligible if your residency status is either of the following:
- Domestic abuse survivor with a settled status
- EEA migrant worker
- Child of a Swiss national or a Turkish worker
- Those offered humanitarian protection
- Stateless person
- Individual granted ‘leave to remain’
- Belonging to an EU country
- Have been living in the UK for seven years (under 18) or 20 years (over 18)
- Granted ‘Calais leave’
You may use tools like creditperfect, which does the bulk of this job. All you need to do is enter your details, and it will automatically identify the student loans for which you are eligible. So go ahead and check it out.