In the UK, a mature student is officially defined as a person who is over the age of 21 by the start of their first academic university year. Once you become a mature student, some of the rules, particularly regarding funding, start to change. If you are a mature student or will be by the time you start your university studies, then understanding how the rules change is vitally important. It’s especially useful to understand your eligibility as a mature student when it comes to student finance and loans.
In the simplest terms possible, yes, as a mature student you can receive funding for your university studies. However, there are lots of factors which come into play when applying for and receiving your student loans. The most important thing to know is that if you already have an undergraduate degree, you will not be eligible to receive funding for another degree of the same level. There are other factors which can contribute to your total loan including your household income and where you’re living and studying.
For more information about mature student loans, what the limitations are and whether you’ll be eligible, keep reading.
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Can you get a student loan as a mature student?
University is not designed for a specific age group. Anyone wanting to increase their level of education will be able to find a degree for them. At any age, you can study an undergraduate degree all the way through to a doctorate. Generally, most students starting university for the first time are aged between 18 and 21, as mentioned in this article.
However, this doesn’t mean to say that you can’t undertake a degree at an older age. For more information about the age at which you can go to university, click here.
Near enough everyone is eligible for a student loan of some form. No matter what your age, you will always be eligible for funding as long as you have never taken an undergraduate degree before. The only difference between mature and younger students is the amount each age group may be able to receive.
Can you get a tuition loan as a mature student?
There are two types of student finance; tuition loans and maintenance loans. Tuition loans cover the cost of the degree itself and are paid to the university. Maintenance loans are used for everything else, usually accommodation costs. However, lots of students will also use maintenance loans for general living expenses, such as food.
As a mature student, you are eligible for both maintenance and tuition loans. The amount you must pay per year in tuition fees is the same, regardless of how old you are. The difference is that mature students will generally receive less tuition funding each year.
The tuition loan you receive will largely depend on how much you and anyone else in your household earns. If you are over the age of 25, then your parents’ income no longer contributes towards the total household income which student finance will consider.
To apply for student finance, visit the government website here.
Can you get a maintenance loan as a mature student?
Maintenance loans are also possible to receive as a mature student. These loans are granted based on several factors which can affect the amount you receive per year.
The first of these factors is location. For students applying to study in London, a larger sum of money is granted for each year. This is due to the higher cost of living in the area, particularly accommodation prices.
As lots of mature students have moved out from their parents, they usually choose to continue living at home whilst studying. If you do live at home, you won’t receive as much in maintenance loans as you don’t have to pay for university accommodation.
Another of the factors affecting the amount you’ll receive is whether you study in full-time or part-time education. Part-time students have the opportunity to go out and earn money whilst they’re not studying. This means you won’t receive as large a sum if you don’t study full-time.
The final factor contributing to the amount you receive in maintenance loans is your household income. If you’re still living with your parents, their income will contribute to your household income. On the other hand, if you live alone, your household income comes solely from what you earn.
You can read more about how much you’ll be eligible for depending on where you live in this government article.
Can anyone get a student loan?
Not everyone will be able to receive the same amount, but everyone in the UK is eligible for some form of student loan for an undergraduate degree, no matter their age. The only people who cannot receive any funding are those who already hold an undergraduate degree.
The application process for mature and younger students is the same when it comes to student finance. You are allowed to apply for student finance from around March of the academic year before your course start date. For more information about when you can start applying, click here.
The deadline for student finance is exactly nine months after the start date of your course. You can read more about the student finance application deadline in this article. You can apply for student loans at any point between these two dates. However, it is strongly recommended that you apply before the start of your course.
Unfortunately, if you are looking to take any form of postgraduate or doctorate degree, it is more difficult to receive funding. If you’ve never taken any postgraduate education before, or are continuing from an undergraduate degree, you should receive the same funding as an undergraduate student.
However, some postgraduate students have to rely on the bursaries and scholarships offered by universities themselves. It all depends on where you’re studying and what you’re studying for. Make sure you do your research before applying to postgraduate degrees and see what you might be eligible for.