Studying can be quite costly and not just from course fees but also from day to day living costs. See below what financial student support there is for those studying Further or Higher Education courses.

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Financial support
Funding for essential skills
Funding if you’re on benefits
Financial Support for Higher Education
University Bursaries
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Financial Support for Further Education

Further Education (FE) includes any study after secondary education that’s not part of higher education (that is, not taken as part of an undergraduate or graduate degree). Courses range from basic English and Maths to Higher National Diplomas (HNDs).

FE also includes 3 types of technical and applied qualifications for 16 to 19-year-olds:

  • level 3 technical levels to specialise in a specific technical job
  • level 2 technical certificates to help get employment or progress to another technical level
  • applied general qualifications to continue general education at an advanced level through applied learning

Many courses in reading, writing and basic maths are free, and you may not have to pay for tuition if you’re under 24 and studying for your first qualification equivalent to GCSE or A level.

Find out about financial support, e.g. with your course, day-to-day living costs or childcare.

Depending on your circumstances and the subject you’re studying, you may qualify for:

Funding for essential skills

In most cases you won’t have to pay for level 1 and 2 English and maths courses. You might be able to take other courses for free.

Funding if you’re on benefits

You can get free training if you’re unemployed and:

Your Jobcentre work coach will tell you what training you can do.

If you’re claiming other benefits or can’t get free training through your Jobcentre, you may be able to get funding from colleges and training providers.

Financial Support for Higher Education

The Student Loans Company is a non-profit making, government-owned, organisation set up in 1989 to provide financial support via loans and grants to students in universities and colleges in the UK.

Who do they help?

They provide loans to most students in the UK to help cover living costs, as well as loans for tuition fees. Maintenance loans are paid directly into student bank accounts at the start of each term (monthly for students in Scotland), while the tuition fees are paid direct to their college or university.

The Student Loans Company can:

  • Pay loans and grants to students
  • Pay tuition fees to colleges and universities
  • Work with HM Revenue and Customs to collect loan repayments
  • Make maintenance payments to school pupils aged over 16 in Northern Ireland and Wales
  • Pay bursaries and scholarships on behalf of universities and colleges
  • Deliver the administration and processing associated with these activities

Through Student Finance you may be able to borrow money to help pay for university or college tuition fees and to help with living costs. You might get extra money on top of this, for example if you’re on a low income, are disabled or have children.

The Student Finance Calculator is for students starting a new course in academic years:

  • 2017 to 2018

The calculator can be used to estimate:

  • student loans
  • extra student funding, e.g. if you’re disabled or have children

If you are a student applying for the 2017 to 2018 academic year, you can apply online for:

  • Tuition Fee Loans
  • Maintenance Loans
  • Maintenance Grants – if you’re a continuing student
  • Advanced Learner Loans

You can apply up to 9 months after the start of the academic year for your course. You can apply here.

As well as a student loan, there is other financial support available from a range of sources including bursaries, scholarships, and charitable and educational grants, find out more here. Alternatively, search on your chosen university’s website.

Financial support is also available for students in financial hardship, with disabilities, who are care leavers and independent students who have no contact with their family. More information can be found here.


Find out more about courses and the financial help you can get from the National Careers Service. Further information on funding can also be found on the Prospects website.

Wiltshire Community Foundation

University Bursaries support young people who want to gain an undergraduate university degree. We offer scholarships to talented individuals to help them overcome difficult financial circumstances and achieve their potential.

We provide bursaries of up to £1,500 per annum, plus the possibility of an extra £500 for certain situations and courses.

Applicants must be residents of Swindon or Wiltshire, (‘family home’ if already at university), be aged between 17 & 24 at the time of application and either they or their parents/carers must be in receipt of means tested benefits. Bursaries are awarded for the duration of the course, so there is no need to re-apply each year

Please note – University Bursary Applications for 2018 university entry have now closed. Please follow the link for more information

Find out more about the criteria for University Bursaries