What Financial help is available

Information on finance for full time, part-time and new students.

Tuition fees for academic year 2015/16

Tuition fees for studying in academic year 2015/16 in Northern Ireland have recently been announced. Find out more information on the nidirect website.

Financial help for undergraduates in academic year 2015/16

A loan for eligible, full-time students to cover their tuition fees

Both new and current students will be able to put off paying their tuition fees by taking out a Student Loan for fees. No eligible student will have to pay fees before starting their course, or while they are studying. They will start repaying this after they have left higher education and are earning more than £17,335 a year.

Tuition Fees for full-time students.

Universities and colleges of higher education in England, Scotland or Wales will be able to charge new full-time undergraduates fees of up to £9,000 a year. The actual amount charged will vary between courses as well as between universities. New full-time Students studying in Northern Ireland will be charged £3,805 in tuition fees.

Tuition Fees for part-time students.

From academic year 2015/16 Northern Ireland domiciled students who wish to attend a Higher Education part-time course , including Open University courses, in England and Wales should be aware that part-time tuition fees face a potentially significant increase. Depending on the intensity of study this may be as much as £6,750.

There will be no tuition fee loans availabe for part-time tuition fees from the Student finance NI offices and Northern Ireland students will have to financially make up the difference between the current fee grant and the tuition fee charged by the Higher Education Institution in England and Wales. Students should check the level of part-time tuition fees with the relevant Higher Education Institution.

However students from Northern Ireland will continue to be entitled to apply for the part-time student financial package of a means tested fee grant of up to £1,230 and a course grant of up to £265 regardless of where in the United Kingdom they undertake their course.

Non-repayable Maintenance Grant

A non-repayable Maintenance Grant of up to £3,475 a year for new full-time students from lower income households studying at universities or colleges in the United Kingdom. This grant will be based on the household's income and does not have to be paid back.

Non-repayable Special Support Grant

A non-repayable Special Support Grant (SSG) of up to £3,475 a year for new full-time students who may be eligible to receive benefits such as Income Support or Housing Benefit while they are studying. This grant will be based on the household’s income and does not have to be paid back. Students who are eligible for the Special Support Grant will not be eligible for the Maintenance Grant.

Student Loans for Maintenance

Eligible students can get a student loan for maintenance in order to help with living costs such as accommodation, food, clothes, travel and so on.  How much you get will depend on your income and that of your household. Interest on the loan is linked to inflation only, so what you repay witll be worth what you borrowed.

Bursaries from Higher Education Institutions (HEI's)

Colleges in Northern Ireland that charge the full £3,805 tuition fee will provide bursaries of at least £381.50 for students who are eligible for the full £3,475 Maintenance Grant or Special Support Grant  However, some HEI's may offer bursaries to students who are eligible for less than the maximum maintenance grant. Some HEI's will offer more than £381.50 in bursaries.

Write off of student loans

For students taking out a loan (for fees or maintenance or both) for the first time in 2006 or later, the Government will write off student loans which are left unpaid 25 years after the student leaves their course.

Students who normally live in Northern Ireland and choose to study in the Republic of Ireland

The arrangements for Northern Ireland domiciled students attending a higher education institution in the Republic of Ireland are different to students attending a United Kingdom institution.

Although you will not be charged a tuition fee for your study at a relevant institute of higher education in the Republic of Ireland you will be charged a student contribution charge of €3,000 (sterling value of £2,420.40). If you commence a course in the Republic of Ireland from 2015 onwards you will be able to request a loan for this amount. Continuing students will have their student contribution charge paid by their Student Finance NI office, without the need for a fee loan.