Higher Education

Undergraduate programs

 Student loans and grants in the United Kingdom are primarily provided by the government through the Student Loans Company (SLC).

Student Finance England (SFE) it is a service provided by the Student Loans Company that offers financial support on behalf of the UK Government to students from England entering higher education in the UK.  Higher Education includes Undergraduate courses and Postgraduate courses.

Undergraduate education is the post-secondary education previous to the postgraduate education. It includes all the academic programs up to the level of a bachelor’s degree. An undergraduate degree is usually your first university degree, also called First Degree or Bachelor’s degree.

A Bachelor’s degree is an undergraduate academic degree awarded by colleges and universities upon completion of a course of study lasting 3 trough the college and up to 4 years if is studied in university. Undergraduate studies are referring to university courses at Level 4, 5 and 6.

Undergraduate studies in the UK take place in both colleges and universities, so students can choose the desired academic program.

During college the applicant will study only the first 2 university levels in order to obtain an Higher National Diploma (HND) extended over two years of study.

Based on this diploma, the student will be able to apply for the third academic year called “Top Up” that will take place at a university. After graduation the student will obtain a Bachelor Degree diploma.

At university the applicant will enroll directly in a Bachelor Degree program extended over 3 to 4 years. The 4th year can be a Foundation year or a placement year.


Whether you qualify for an Undergraduate loan depends on your:

  • Your Age
  • Nationality and residence status
  • Previous study
  • Your course
  • Your institution

To apply for an undergraduate course, you must have minimum 18 years old. There are no upper age limits for students applying for a Tuition Fee Loan or for any grants. But the student must be under 60 years of age on the first day of the first academic year of their course to be eligible for a Maintenance Loan.

To apply, you must:

  • Be a UK / EU national or a family member of one;
  • An EU applicant must be ordinarily resident in the UK or elsewhere in the EEA and/or Switzerland for the 3 years immediately before the 1st September of the year in which you start your course (you can ignore any short absences, such as holidays).
  • Non-UK nationals must have settled status on the first day of the first academic year of the course – which could be 1 September, 1 January, 1 April or 1 July.
  • International students can also apply if they have been resident in the EU for the last 3 years or have been a resident in the UK for the 5 years prior to the start of their course, with an immigration status that allows them to stay in the UK, with no restrictions.


You may also be eligible if you:

  • Are a refugee;
  • Have humanitarian protection (as a result of a failed application for asylum);
  • Are a migrant worker;
  • Are the child of a Swiss national or Turkish worker who is working in the UK;
  • under humanitarian protection or a relative of someone who has been granted it;
  • not a UK national but you’ve lived in the UK for at least 20 years (or at least half of your life);
  • a serving member of the UK armed forces (or their spouse or civil partner or a dependent parent living with them);

To qualify for funding from Student Finance England (SFE), you must meet the general eligibility rules. However, even if you meet these rules, if you have studied on a higher education course in the past (whether in the UK or abroad), your entitlement to funding for a new full-time undergraduate degree course will be affected. Study on an earlier higher education course will affect your entitlement to receive Student Finance England funding for a new course.

The course you plan to study must be in the UK and one of the following:

  • First degree, eg BA, BSc or BEd;
  • Foundation Degree;
  • Certificate of Higher Education;
  • Higher National Certificate (HNC);
  • Higher National Diploma (HND);
  • Diploma of Higher Education (DipHE);
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE);
  • Initial Teacher Training (ITT).

Your university or college must be in the UK and either:

  • publicly funded (paid for by the government); or
  • privately funded but running individual courses that receive public funding;