If you’re an eligible student doing a full-time higher education course, you can take out a Tuition Fee Loan to cover your tuition fees and a Maintenance Loan to help with your accommodation and other living costs.
Student Loans from the government
Student Loans can help you with the costs of higher education. They are issued by Student Finance NI, a service managed by the Student Loans Company in partnership with Student Finance Northern Ireland and the government.
The interest on Student Loans is linked to the rate of inflation, so in real terms what you repay will be broadly the same as what you borrowed. There are two types of loan available - you can take out either or both:
- a student loan to cover your tuition fees - called the ‘Student Loan for Tuition Fees’
- a student loan to help with your accommodation and other living costs - called the ‘Student Loan for Maintenance’
Student Loan for Tuition Fees
All eligible full-time higher education students entering higher education can get a Student Loan for Tuition Fees.
The loan will cover
any amount up to the full amount you’re charged for tuition fees. For new students studying in Northern Ireland, and most students who started in 2006/2007 or later, this means up to £3,805 for 2015/2016. For new students studying in England, Scotland or Wales, this means up to £9,000 for 2015/2016.
The Student Loan for Tuition Fees is paid directly to your university or college by Student Finance Northern Ireland.
Study at a private institution
If you study at a private institution, you should be aware that that you may not receive the full tuition fee loan support to cover your tuition fees.
You will be responsible for funding the difference in the additional cost of your tuition fees. The onus is on you to find out what tuition fees are charged by the Private Institution and what tuition fee loan support is available from your local Student Finance NI office before you start the course.
Student Loan for Maintenance
The Student Loan for Maintenance is there to help towards your accommodation and other living costs while you’re studying. The maximum loan rates for 2015/2016 are as follows: