If you’re going back to university after studying previously or you’re repeating a year, this can affect your student finance.

If you’ve studied before

You’ll normally only get student finance for your first degree or higher education qualification, even if you studied a long time ago or if the course was abroad.

The number of years that you can get a Tuition Fee Loan is normally calculated as:

Length of current course + 1 year – number of years of previous study

Even if you only attended a course for a short time, it will still count as a year of previous study.

Extra year of tuition fee support

If you were unable to continue to the next year of your course or had to leave your course due to personal reasons, you could get an extra year of tuition fee support.

Common reasons for applying for an extra year include:

  • mental health
  • illness
  • bereavement
  • pregnancy
  • a caring responsibility

This list does not include all acceptable reasons. We will review each application on an individual basis. However, applications cannot be based on:

  • financial hardship
  • not liking your course
  • reasons within your control

How to apply

As soon as you’ve applied for student finance you should send evidence of your personal reasons for repeating a year of leaving your course.

It’s vital you send a cover letter that includes your customer reference number (CRN) and explains the situation and how it affected your studies

Examples of evidence you can send to prove these personal reasons include:

  • a letter on headed paper from a professional person, such as a doctor or a social worker, who can confirm the situation
  • a letter on headed paper from someone at your university or college who can confirm your situation and when you left the course
  • photocopies of birth or death certificates

You should send your evidence to:

Student Finance England
PO Box 210

Unable to send standard evidence

If you do not have any of the evidence listed, you should send a cover letter explaining your situation in as much detail as possible along with any evidence you feel supports your application.

After you apply

It can take 6 to 8 weeks to review your evidence. Once we’ve made a decision we’ll contact you to let you know the outcome of your application.

Published 6 September 2019