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Student loans: how do I get one?

As a nursing student you can apply for a student loan like any other student, here’s how …

Am I eligible?

The eligibility criteria for student loans, including the residency requirements, are very similar to those for the NHS bursaries. If you are eligible for an NHS bursary you should also be eligible for a student loan.

However, to get a student loan the institution where you plan to study has to provide a course that leads to a degree qualification. What this means is that you do not have to be studying for a degree but the college or university you are attending has to offer at least one course (in any subject) that leads to a degree level qualification. The college or university will be able to tell you if they qualify.

Can I get a loan if I’m studying for a nursing diploma, not a degree?

Yes.

How much could I get?

There are two different types of student loans available:

  • a loan to cover tuition costs in full;
  • and, a maintenance loan to help with living costs.

If your tuition fees are being paid by an NHS bursary you will not be able to claim the tuition fee loan.

For students starting their course in England in the 2011/12 academic year the maximum maintenance loan available is:

  • £3,838 if you’re living in your family home;
  • £4,950 if you’re living away from home and studying outside London;
  • £6,928 if you’re living away from home and studying in London.

Currently, you can apply for 72% of the maintenance loan without your income being assessed. However, the remaining 28% is income assessed and the amount you’ll receive depends on your income or that of your parents/ partner.

If you receive an NHS bursary it counts as part of your income and may affect the total amount of student loan you receive.

Do I have to pay the money back?

Yes. You start paying back your student loan in the first April following the end of your course (for example if complete your course in July 2012 you will start repaying your loan in April 2013) and you only have to make repayments on your loan if you are earning over £15’000 a year. Usually repayments will be collected monthly from your pay through the tax system.

How do I apply?

You can apply for a student loan online via the student finance website for your area – England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland. Links to these websites can be found on the Student Loans Company Website - http://www.slc.co.uk/

Are there any differences between England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland?

Like NHS bursaries, student loans are administered by different organisations in each UK country. The arrangements in each country are very similar, but there may be some minor differences, for example in the amount you are entitled to.

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