The majority of students apply for some kind of funding to help them cover all, or some, of the costs associated with attending university.
This is particularly true for part-time students as they may be studying part-time because they need to continue working whilst studying.
If you’re considering studying part-time, either because you need to continue working or due to other circumstances, you shouldn’t be put off by thinking that you’re not entitled to financial help.
Although you won’t be entitled to as much funding as a full-time student would be, you’re still entitled to funds to cover part of your costs.
Here’s more about funding options for part-time students:
For part-time students, the amount of funding you get is judged on “course intensity”.
“Course intensity” measures how much of the course you complete each year in comparison to the equivalent full-time course. You’ll need to check the course intensity with the university or college you’re interested in study at.
To be eligible for a tuition fee loan you’ll need to be studying at a course intensity of 25% or more. This will also need to be your first undergraduate or equivalent course – you won’t be eligible if you already have a UK degree or higher.
If eligible, you’ll be able to receive up to £6750 per year or up to £4500 if you’re studying at a private university or college (which may not cover the full cost of your course).
This money is paid directly to your college or university and you’ll pay it back in the same way that a full-time student would.
As a part-time student you will only be entitled to funding that covers your tuition fees and wouldn’t be able to apply for a maintenance loan to cover your costs like a full-time student could.
This is the reason that the majority of part-time students combine studying with work so that they can earn whilst they learn.
If you’re going to be studying in the UK (including Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland) then you’ll be entitled to funding from the Student Loans Company (SLC).
However, if you’re going to be studying outside of the UK, then you will not be entitled to funding.
As well as government funding in the form of a tuition fee loan you may also be eligible to receive funding from other sources including your university or college, your employer, or a charity.
Universities and colleges have to put money aside to provide funds for students from low-income households. If you’re in this situation you might be able to apply for a fee waiver (were some of the cost is reduced) or for a scholarship – although this is generally dependant on academic ability.
Be aware though that there are no bursaries available for part-time students.
Part-time students can use “employee sponsorship” and have their fees paid for by their employer. Some larger companies offer this as a benefit to their employees and other might be open to the idea if the qualification would help you advance in your role.
If you’re considering this option, try to put a persuasive case together or ask for help in terms of flexible working hours or study leave.
If a student starts part-time study in September 2016 then most part-time of them will need to start paying their loan back in April 2021, providing they’re earning over £21,000.
This means that if your course is more than four years long, which wouldn’t be uncommon for a part-time degree, you’ll be eligible to start paying it back before you finish studying.
However, you won’t pay anything back until you’re earning over the £21,000 threshold, so you don’t need to worry if you find yourself in this position.
Although the tuition fees are the major cost there are other costs to factor in when you’re thinking about attending university.
For example, course materials such as books, travel costs, child care costs – all things that need to be paid from your own pocket.
Think carefully about your finances and personal circumstances – if you don’t have another source of income then part-time study might not be right for you.
As a full-time student you’ll be entitled to maintenance loans and grants that will help you cover your other university expenses, as well as your general household costs.