It’s (almost) never too late to get your hands on free money. The Money Charity takes a gander at grants, and breaks them down into the basics.
Grants constitute the ‘magical’ part of student finance: they don’t need to be paid back* but getting your hands on the full amount can seem harder than pulling a rabbit out of a hat.
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Your first port of call should be a Maintenance Grant (full-time students). The cash pot varies by country and is based on your household income — the more you have, the less grant you’ll receive. Grants are paid in instalments at the start of each term and usually within a few days of officially enrolling on your course (although you can apply for a grant up to nine months after it starts).
In the first year, you may arrive at uni before your grant or loan does, so you might want to get some other cash together before you get there.
What can you apply for?
England and N. Ireland
Maintenance Grants offer a share of up to £3,387 (England) or £3,475 (NI) per year for family incomes of up to around £40k. Any grant you get will reduce the amount of loan you can apply for (unless you’re eligible for the SSG) Special Support Grant (see below).
In England: gov.uk/student-finance
In NI: studentfinanceni.co.uk
A means-tested Welsh Government Learning Grant (WGLG) is for living expenses of up to £5k per year. You’ll need a household income of under £50k to get a stake of it and anything you do get may reduce the amount of Student Loan you’re entitled to. You may be eligible for SSG (Special Support Grant — see box) instead of WGLG.
A Young Students’ Bursary awards up to £1,750 a year on household incomes of less than
£17k (you can get a proportion of the bursary on household incomes of less than £34k).
Supplementary grants are available for students in particular circumstances, including independent students.
*Unless you leave your course early
The amount of Maintenance Loan you can apply for is reduced by the amount of any Maintenance Grant you get. The Special Support Grant (SSG) for students eligible for means-tested benefits isn’t counted as income and doesn’t reduce the amount of Student Loan you can apply for. You can apply for either the Maintenance Loan or the equivalent amount of SSG.