Previous study and funding

If the student has studied before and has an Honours degree from a UK university or college then:

  • they may not be eligible for any support;
  • their entitlement may be limited to certain years.

The general rule is that students will be eligible for the length of their higher education course plus 1 year where a qualification was not achieved. However the support will be reduced by the number of previous years study.

How it works

To help you work out if the student has any support available, use the formula below:

Duration of new course + 1 year - previous course = x years


Jane started a course in academic year 2011/12 but only completed 2 years of study. She now wishes to return to full-time study. Her new course is 3 years long.

Duration of Jane’s new course (3 years) +1 (gift year) - Jane’s previous study (2) = 2 years

Jane will be able to receive 2 years of funding for her new higher education course, therefore she will need to fund 1 year herself.

Funding is awarded in the final year of the new course and each preceding year that is funded so in this example, Jane would need to self-fund in year 1 of her course. This means she would not be able to apply for a Tuition Fee Loan or a Maintenance Grant/Special Support Grant; she would, however, still be able to apply for a Maintenance Loan and supplementary grants such as Disabled Students' Allowances in her self-funded year.

Further information

Compelling personal reasons

If the student has compelling personal reasons as to why they didn’t complete their previous course then they could be entitled to further funding on these grounds. They must be able to provide evidence of this.

Depending on their circumstances this may be:

  • medical evidence from their GP;
  • evidence from Social Services; or
  • the student advisory service at their university or college can substantiate their personal or family crisis and provide evidence of this.

It’s important that students are advised to contact the student advisory service at the university or college if they feel they are not coping with the course before withdrawing from their course. Evidence should be recorded at the time of the withdrawal as it may need to be submitted to Student Finance England if the student starts a new course at another institution.