Advice for UK students:
Fees, funding and Student Support
Sources of funding for your studies
- Where can I get details of scholarships?
- Can I get a student loan?
- I have an EU national grandparent. BIS does not accept I am a direct descendant and entitled to tuition fee support
- Can I claim welfare benefits?
- I applied for asylum and was granted Discretionary Leave. Have there been changes to Student Support regulations affecting people in my situation?
- I have applied for asylum, or have been granted Discretionary Leave following a failed asylum application, or I am the family member of such a person. I am not eligible for Student Support but is there any other organisation I can contact for financial support?
Where can I get details of scholarships?
The British Council's Education UK website has a facility allowing international students, from both inside and outside the EU, to search for, and gain advice on, scholarships.
The following bodies also administer scholarships for specific groups of international students who study in the UK:
- Chevening Scholarships – "the UK government's global scholarship programme, funded by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and partner organisations...awards to outstanding scholars with leadership potential from around the world to study postgraduate courses at universities in the UK"
- Marshall Scholarships – "finance young Americans of high ability to study for a graduate degree in the United Kingdom"
- Commonwealth Scholarships – "The Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan (CSFP) is an international programme under which member governments offer scholarships and fellowships to citizens of other Commonwealth countries"
Scholarships are, generally, limited in number, and have very specific target groups. They are always highly competitive and are aimed largely at postgraduate level students.
For undergraduate studies, scholarships (which include bursaries and partial fee waivers) are much rarer. However, a number are offered by UK universities or colleges for exceptional students. In most cases you will have to gain an offer of a place on a course at a UK institution before you are eligible to apply for any scholarship. In the first instance, you may wish to contact your prospective/chosen institution's financial support office, or international student office, for information on institution-specific scholarships, bursaries etc.
Please note that UKCISA does not sponsor students or give any type of scholarship or funding.
Can I get a student loan?
The education departments of the UK Government, the Scottish Executive, the Welsh Assembly Government and the Northern Ireland Assembly decide which categories of student are eligible for loans and grants. There are many different categories of eligible students, and the regulations can be quite complicated. We have produced a summary of these regulations for you.
I have an EU national grandparent. The Department of Business Innovation & Skills (BIS) does not accept I am a direct descendant and entitled to tuition fee support
The Student Support regulations define the eligible family members of EU nationals. They include 'direct descendants' who are aged under 21 or dependent on the EU national or dependent on the EU national's spouse or civil partner. The provisions in the regulations for EEA and Swiss migrant workers define family members as including 'children' (with no age limit or requirement of dependency). If you are relying on your eligibility as the grandchild of an EU national, remember that your EU national grandparent must be in the UK as either a student or self-sufficient person. If your grandparent is a UK national, this does not apply. In either case you must also meet the residence requirements.
If you meet all the requirements but you are having problems persuading the relevant Goverment department that you are eligible for Student Support on this basis, you should refer the caseworker to the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal judgment in the case of PG and VG (EEA; "direct descendants" includes grandchildren) Portugal. This case confirms that the term 'direct descendant' must not be interpreted as meaning only 'children'. Please let us know, in writing or by calling our advice line, if you have difficulties with this, or seek advice from the welfare adviser at your college or university.
Can I claim welfare benefits?
If you enter the UK as a student, immigration conditions mean that you cannot normally claim welfare benefits or tax credits.
I applied for asylum and was granted Discretionary Leave. Have there been changes to Student Support regulations affecting people in my situation?
If you have applied for asylum and you have been granted Discretionary Leave, you will no longer be eligible for Student Support for a higher education course in England. This is because the Government has restricted eligibility to those with Humanitarian Protection and their family members. This change came into effect on 9 February 2011.
Note that this change will not affect you if:
- you apply for Student Support in Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland
- you applied for Student Support in England before 9 February 2011
- you are taking a further education course in England.
If you have queries about this change and how it might affect you, you should talk to your college or university. If this is not possible, you can call our advice line for students.
I have applied for asylum, or have been granted Discretionary Leave following a failed asylum application, or I am the family member of such a person. I am not eligible for Student Support but is there any other organisation I can contact for financial support?
The Helena Kennedy Foundation provides financial, and other, support to asylum seekers, those with Discretionary Leave, and their family members, who are not eligible for student loans in the usual way. It does this through its 'Article 26 Awards' scheme. You still need to meet certain eligibility criteria and you must be studying, or planning to study, on an undergraduate degree programme at one of a specific number of English universities.