When and how to apply for Student Finance
You can find details about personal eligibility, residence requirements and the effect of any previous study on your funding, in the Eligibility section at the end of this Advice Guide.
If you normally live in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, your package of government Student Finance will be different. You need to contact the funding authority in your home country:
What is Student Finance?
Student Finance is the system of financial support for undergraduate students, provided by the UK government, through an organisation called Student Finance England (SFE). If you normally live in England, the three main elements of Student Finance for full-time undergraduate students are:
- Tuition Fee Loan
- Maintenance Loan
- Supplementary Grants
Each element is explained in more detail later in this Advice Guide.
When do I apply?
To try and ensure that you are paid the first instalment of your Student Finance at the start of the academic year, new students should apply (and provide any additional documentation or information required by SFE) by the SFE deadline (expected to be 21 May 2021).
You do not need to have a confirmed place on a course before you apply. If you later change your choice of course or university, you can notify SFE through your online account before starting the course.
Continuing students must re-apply for Student Finance for each year of the course. If you are a continuing student you should apply by the SFE deadline for continuing students (expected to be 25 June 2021) to try and ensure that you are paid the first instalment of your Student Finance at the start of the academic year.
If you have not applied before the start of the academic year, you can still apply for Student Finance up to 9 months after the first day of the academic year. The first day of the academic year is 1 September so you can apply for Student Finance up until the end of May.
How do I apply?
You can apply online here.
To apply, you will need:
- Your passport details
- Details of the university and course
- Your bank details
- Your National Insurance number
- If applicable, your parents’ or partner’s details, including their National Insurance number and income (alternatively you can provide this later)
Please note, for academic year 2020/21 only, UK nationals who do not have a UK passport only need to provide their original UK birth or adoption certificate. You do not need to provide an Applicant's Declaration of Identity Form (ADIF) and can confirm your identity by your original birth or adoption certificate alone.
If you do not have a National Insurance Number there is a bespoke process, for 2020/21 only, which has been set up by DWP for students to follow. You cannot call DWP to request a National Insurance number and must follow this process. The process is as follows:
- You complete the Student Finance application form and, if you have no National Insurance number, this is left blank.
- When your Student Finance application is processed a file is sent to DWP who then match the National Insurance number for the student.
- If there is no National Insurance Number the Exceptions Team within DWP will then activate the postal process of sending a letter with a form for you to complete with instructions on what to do . You must complete this form and return it to the DWP.
When you apply for your Student Finance online you will have to request a password. You need to be patient after initially requesting the new password as this process is not instant and you normally need to wait for an email with the new password to be issued.
If you would prefer to apply on paper, you can download and complete a paper PN1 application form.
To help you complete your PN1 application form, you will see an ‘n’ next to particular questions on the form. This refers to notes you can find in the PN1 guidance to help you answer some of the more difficult questions on the PN1 form.
You can download the PN1 application form and guidance notes here.
You should be invited to reapply for your Student Finance, please keep an eye on your online account. You are encouraged to apply online but, if you prefer to apply on paper you can download and complete a paper PR1 form. You can download the PR1 application form and guidance notes here.
New and continuing students, applying for Student Finance online, can submit an 'Online Terms and Conditions' via their online account with an electronic signature rather than returning a signed paper 'online declaration form' in the post.
What evidence do I need to provide with my application?
If you apply online, once you have completed your application you will see a list of evidence you need to send. Remember to send this straight away to avoid delays to your application and payments.
SFE have launched a Digital Evidence Submission system that makes it easier for you to provide supporting evidence for your application. Full-time undergraduate students, as well as their parents and partners, can use this to submit all their evidence via their online accounts.
Students applying for Disabled Students’ Allowances, Grants for Dependants and full income-assessed support can now directly upload evidence rather than having to post it.
The only exception is a small number of students who need to post the following:
- ID evidence – if a student is unable to provide their passport details online and verify them with HMPO, then they will still need to post original evidence.
- Residency evidence – students who need to provide 3-year or 5-year residency evidence must also post original evidence.
If you apply on paper, you will see an ‘e’ next to particular questions on the form. Refer to the guidance notes that accompany the application form to find out more about what evidence you need to provide in relation to questions which have an ‘e’ next to them.
At the time of applying (either online or on paper), you don’t need to send SFE evidence that you meet the relevant residence requirements. However, it is sensible to ensure that you could provide it, in case you are subsequently asked to. If you have a UK passport number, SFE can check your identity using that number; you don’t need to send them your passport. If you provide your parent’s or partner’s National Insurance (NI) number, SFE can check the household income amounts directly with the Revenue and Customs office. If you don’t have your parent’s or partner’s NI number available when you are applying, this can be provided online afterwards, or on a paper form (PFF2) – more information is available here.
If your parents are divorced or separated, it is useful to send evidence of this at the time applying, so that SFE know to only include the income of the parent you would normally live with (plus any new partner, if they are living with one). The following types of evidence can be used: Decree Nisi; Decree Absolute; Civil partnership dissolution order; letter from a solicitor confirming marital status; or a Council Tax bill showing the single occupancy discount.
If you cannot provide any of this evidence and have valid reasons why you cannot, SFE may be able to accept other evidence such as a statutory declaration plus utility bills in one person’s name. A statutory declaration is a statement which you write to confirm your circumstances and which you would then say under oath in the presence of someone who is authorised to hear it (e.g. a solicitor, or a notary who works in a solicitors’ office). That person has to sign the statutory declaration to certify that they have heard it. You can search for a notary on The Notaries Society website. The cost will vary but can be as little as £5.
We have written a template statutory declaration in Appendix 2 to help you formulate your own.
In certain situations you may need to provide further evidence after you have applied, but SFE will usually contact you to ask for this. However, if it is several weeks since you applied for your Student Finance and you have not heard from SFE, you could contact them on 0300 100 0607 to check the progress of your application and whether they need you to send further documents. SFE will normally only need photocopies, not originals. Any identity evidence SFE ask for must be original, not photocopied. Remember to include your Customer Reference Number with everything you send to SFE. If you are asked to send any original documents, it is a good idea to keep copies. Try to send your documents straight away to avoid delays to your application and payments, preferably using Royal Mail Special Delivery post which enables you to track delivery.
If you are planning to be away from the address that SFE has for you, you will need to make arrangements to ensure that you receive any correspondence.
The regulations on Student Finance eligibility for new EU/EEA students starting a university course in the 2021/22 academic year have recently been published by the UK government. This guidance will be updated shortly.
Continuing students should automatically be sent form EUPR1A so it is important to notify Student Finance England if you change address using the EU notification of change of circumstances form (EUC01).
You can contact the Non UK Team by phone on (+44) (0)141 243 3570 or write to them.
If you are not an EU national but there is an EU national in your family, you might still qualify for a Tuition Fee Loan. The rules are complicated so please contact a Welfare Adviser in the Advice and Counselling Service.
Some EU nationals and their family members may also be eligible for the living costs elements of Student Finance. See the ‘Eligibility rules for Student Finance and NHS Bursaries' section at the end of this guide for more details.
If you become an EU national after your course has started, contact a Welfare Adviser in the Advice and Counselling Service to check whether you can become eligible for Student Finance.
If you are not eligible for the living costs elements of Student Finance, you will need an alternative source of funding to pay for all your living costs in each year of your course. You will need to put together a package of support, which might come from your parents or other family members, your own savings, your earnings, an independent organisation or your own government.
You might find it useful to refer to our budgeting webpage to help you work out what your predicted income and expenditure would be.
If you have extra study related costs as a result of a disability or learning difficulty, some limited funding from the university may be available in certain circumstances. Please contact the Queen Mary University of London Disability and Dyslexia Service to discuss your situation.
Law, regulations and policies can change quickly. The information on our website is given in good faith and has been carefully checked but QMUL cannot accept responsibility for any errors or omissions. QMUL is not responsible for the content or reliability of the linked websites which are provided for further information.