Part-time students, like their full-time counterparts, may be eligible for financial assistance to cover the costs of tuition, fees, and living expenses; however, the application process may be slightly different.

What is the cost of tuition for students who attend school only part-time?

Part-time courses are typically charged on a credit-by-credit basis, meaning that payment is made after each completed module rather than on an annual basis like it is for full-time students. This is because part-time courses are intended to be flexible and give students the ability to study at their own pace.

Note that the information below pertains to students who are enrolled in degree programmes that are offered on a part-time basis and is based on what we know about new students who will start full-time programmes in the 2019-2020 academic year (unless otherwise stated).

In most cases, educational institutions will refer to the cost of tuition for part-time classes in this manner on both their websites and in their prospectuses as well. As a point of reference, a full-time student would study a total of 120 credits every year, whereas a part-time student would study approximately 60 credits per year, but this number could fluctuate.

Below, you’ll find further explanation on the ‘course intensity’ term.

However, we would strongly recommend that you verify with the institution that you are applying to, in order to find out how much your tuition costs could be for the course that you are interested in taking.

What kinds of financial aid are available to students who only enrol part-time?

Part-time students, just like their full-time counterparts, may be eligible for financial assistance to help with the costs of tuition and living expenses (although the specifics of this assistance may differ depending on the institution at which you are enrolled in the UK).

Note that we will be discussing support for tuition fees and living expenses in the section that follows; however, there may be further support available based on your particular circumstances (eg if you have a disability, are responsible for adult or child dependents). Discover additional information by reading one of our guides on student funding in England, Scotland, Wales, or Northern Ireland.

There are several fundamental requirements that you need to meet regardless of where you choose to pursue your education; while some of these requirements overlap with those of full-time students, there are also some distinct variances between the two types of students:

Residency

You are need to be a resident of the United Kingdom (or have settled status there), to have been residing in the country for at least three years immediately prior to the start date of your course, and to typically dwell in the region of the United Kingdom from where you are applying for funding.

Your school or institution and the programme you’re taking

Both parties need to meet the requirements to receive financial aid. Your educational establishment ought to be supported by public funds; alternatively, if it is privately funded, you will have to get approval for your programme before it can be supported by public money.

You are required to be enrolled in a “accredited course” as well:

a first degree, which will be discussed further below; a Foundation Degree
a Diploma or Certificate of Completion of Higher Education
a Certificate of Completion of Higher Education (DipHE)
a Certificate of Higher National Status (HNC)
an HND, or a Higher National Diploma (HND)
a Course in the Initial Training of Teachers
a Certificate of Education for Individuals with Further Education (PGCE)
an integrated master’s degree

Take note that the availability of maintenance support for part-time students may be limited to only some of these.

First undergraduate degree

If this is your first time studying for a degree at the undergraduate level, then congratulations! You are not allowed to already hold a certification that is at the same or a higher level than the one you are pursuing, with a few notable exceptions. However, this is the rule rather than the exception. You are only eligible for a maximum of sixteen years’ worth of part-time financial assistance.

The rigour of the course

To qualify for the Tuition Fee Loan, the “course intensity” of your class must be at least 25 percent higher than the minimum requirement.

This indicates that you have to be completing at least 25 percent of what you would be if you were studying the same course on a full-time basis during each year of your part-time degree. This is the minimum standard that must be met.

The duration of the course may not exceed four times the amount of time that would be required to complete the course if it were studied full-time.

Finance opportunities for students working part-time in England

Cost of instruction

If you are a part-time student in England and you are attending a publicly funded university or college, you are eligible to apply for a Tuition Fee Loan, which can provide you with up to £6,935 each year and will, in all intents and purposes, pay for your whole tuition bill.

If your college or university receives funding from private sources, the maximum loan amount that can be obtained is £4,625. You will be responsible for making up any difference if the amount of your tuition and fees is greater than this.

The costs of living

The Maintenance Loan is available to part-time students in England who are looking for financial assistance with their day-to-day expenses.

Take note that pupils must be older than sixty years old on the first day of their class if they choose to participate.

Financial support for students working part-time in Wales

Cost of instruction

Students in Wales who are attending a university or college in Wales on a part-time basis are eligible to apply for a Tuition Fee Loan that can provide them with up to £2,625 per academic year.

This increases to £6,935 if you are studying in another part of the UK other than Wales, however the maximum loan available is just £4,625 if the university you attend receives funding from a private source.

The costs of living

The Welsh Government Learning Grant (WGLG), which is not repaid, and the Maintenance Loan are the two components that make up the maintenance assistance system for part-time students in Wales (which must be repaid). Those who are taking classes of the same difficulty and have household incomes of the same amount will receive the same total amount; the only difference is the grant-to-loan ratio.

If a student’s household income is $25,000 or less, they are eligible for up to $1,500 in WGLG; however, this amount drops to $250 if their household income is $59,200 or higher. Another example: students who take 25 percent of their courses can receive up to $1,500 in WGLG. Continued below:

Financial support for students working part-time in Scotland

Cost of instruction

Students from Scotland who are enrolled in a higher education programme in Scotland on a part-time basis and are taking at least 30 credits may submit an application for a Part-Time Fee Grant in order to get financial assistance with the cost of their tuition.

The maximum award that can be received is determined by the following factors:

A degree programme that is publicly sponsored costs 1,805 pounds.
Other government financed higher education programmes, such as Higher National Certificate and Higher National Diploma programmes, cost an additional 1,274 dollars.
Private institution courses – £1,195

This grant does not need any sort of repayment and ought to cover all of your school expenses in full.

The costs of living

If you are only attending school part-time, the Student Awards Agency Scotland is unable to provide you with any kind of financial assistance to cover your living expenses.

Make sure you check with your educational establishment to see if they provide any additional support in the form of scholarships or bursaries.

You might be eligible for additional assistance if you have a disability or dependents who rely on you to provide for them. Discover more about this additional assistance by reading our guide to financial aid for full-time students in Scotland.

Finance opportunities for students working part-time in Northern Ireland

Cost of instruction

Students attending school in Northern Ireland on a part-time basis have the option of submitting an application for either a Tuition Fee Loan or a Tuition Fee Grant. The intensity of your studies will determine which of these two options you are eligible for; those who are studying at a minimum of 25 percent intensity are eligible for the loan, and those who are studying at a minimum of 50 percent intensity are also eligible for the grant.

The following is a list of the maximum sums that are available for each:

The amount of the tuition fee loan is £3,206.25.

The Tuition Fee Grant totals 1,230 dollars.

Your family income and the amount of time you spend studying will decide the specific amount of grant money you are entitled to receive; however, those whose household income is greater than $25,420 are ineligible for the grant.

The grant is not something that needs to be paid back, but if you apply for it, the amount of the loan that you are qualified for will decrease.

The costs of living

A Course Grant is the only form of financial assistance for living expenses that is made accessible to part-time students in Northern Ireland. The maximum amount of this grant is only £265.

The amount that you are eligible to receive is determined by your household income, with individuals whose household income is at or below the threshold of £26,029 being eligible for the entire amount. Those whose annual household income is greater than or equal to £28,068 are ineligible for the grant.

This does not require a repayment of any kind.

How can I submit an application for student aid if I am only attending school part-time?

You will be required to submit your application through the student finance body in your nation, regardless of whether that is Student Finance England, Student Finance Wales, the Student Awards Agency Scotland, or Student Finance Northern Ireland.

It is possible to apply online.

How are student loan repayments handled for those who are only attending school part-time?

Repayments for students attending school part-time function the same manner as they do for students attending school full-time from the same nation, namely as follows:

You won’t have to start making payments on your loan until you’ve reached a certain income threshold;
You will never be required to repay more than a certain percentage of your earnings that are in excess of the baseline amount;
You will begin to accrue interest from the moment that your very first loan payment is deposited into your account;
After a predetermined period of time, any trace of your loan will be erased.

In our guides on student finance in England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, you can find more information about the repayment process and how it works.

The only significant difference between how student loan repayments operate for full-time and part-time students is that part-time student loan repayments do not begin until either the April that is four years after the beginning of the student’s course or the April that follows the student’s successful completion of the course, whichever comes first.

However, this will only occur if your annual income is greater than the minimal threshold required for repayment in your country.

Start figuring out that student budget with our free calculator tool – you can see what this looks like based on your chosen university, plus you can tailor the costs to fit your specific situation. Now that you know more about how part-time student finance works, start working on that student budget.