How To Get Student Loans For Mature Students: 6 Things To Know

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In the UK, there are hundreds of thousands of mature students, many of whom have obligations outside of school, looking for student loans.

These difficulties frequently don’t only face older students. But if you’re attending university a bit later in life, factors like taking care of kids, paying off a house, and working a full-time job are all more likely to function as a barrier.

We’ve put up a thorough guide on all the financing options accessible to you in order to help you make the most of your time as a mature student. Continue reading to learn the 6 key things you need to know as a mature student and how to get loans.

Let’s get started!

Who Is A Mature Student?

A mature student is anyone who starts an undergraduate degree aged 21 or above. But this definition is mostly just used for statistics. Although some bursaries and scholarships for mature students only accept applicants who are at least 21, others specify that you need to be older.

And, for most people, the big differences only kick in when you’re 25 or above. This is the age at which your Student Finance entitlement changes.

That said, if you’re younger than 25 but already financially independent (or have dependents), you could be treated the same as other mature students for funding purposes.

See also: How to Get a Bursary for a Private School in 2024

What Qualifies Me To Be A Mature Student?

You are automatically considered a mature student if you start your undergraduate degree at 21. To do so is not uncommon, and many people choose to enter further education after taking a break from their A-levels or later on in life once they have worked out what they want to do careerwise. 

To be considered a mature postgraduate student, you must be over 21. In the UK, most mature postgraduate students are informally counted as those aged 26 and over. Although, because postgraduate students are only slightly older than the huge undergraduate population, very few institutions formally recognize mature postgraduate students.

READ ALSO: Do Universities Round Up Grades?

Do Mature Students Get Access To Student Finance?

The UK divides student loans into two categories: tuition fee loans and maintenance loans. The former covers your tuition, whilst the latter (which, however, typically falls far short) is meant to assist with your living expenses.

You apply for the two together and repay them as one loan, but they are paid separately.

The Tuition Fee Loan goes straight to your university, so you never see the cash. Except if you are from Scotland, in which case you will get your loan in monthly installments, the Maintenance Loan is paid to you in three installments a year, one at the beginning of each semester.

Your eligibility for each component of the Student Loan as a mature student varies based on several variables.

See also: How Much Does University Cost Parents?

How To Apply To University As A Mature Student

Anyone wishing to apply to a university in the UK – including international students – should do so via the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). Universities are aware that older candidates frequently have a diverse range of educational and professional experiences, and Ucas collects all the pertinent information from the applicant.

Students who wish to attend universities in the US, Canada, or Australia must submit their applications directly to those institutions.

To make sure that older students have the confidence and study abilities to enjoy and advance on their chosen degree, most colleges need recently approved studies before beginning a degree. Prior coursework may be done online or on a part-time basis, but due to visa requirements, the majority of degree programs in the UK would need full-time enrollment for overseas students.

You must satisfy the general admission criteria, the English language requirements, and, if applicable, any additional requirements for your selected degree program or major in order to be admitted. Universities accept a broad range of credentials for admission, and they will often request the foreign equivalent of any required subject credentials.

See also: What Happens to Your Student Loans When You Die?

How To Get Student Loans for Mature Students: 6 Things You Should Know

There can be a lot to take in when thinking about university as an adult and how you’re going to pay for it can understandably be a worry, particularly if you’ve got a family to care for and bills to pay. 

Here are 6 things you need to have at the back of your mind when opting for student loans as a mature student:

1. Don’t be afraid of debt

Most students studying at universities in England receive a tuition fee loan from Student Finance England for each year of study, which is paid directly to their university, so you don’t even need to worry about transferring the money yourself — nice and simple. However, there is no expectation that you will need to pay upfront for your studies, and no deposit or down payment is necessary.

Check your eligibility for student finance

2. You can get a living costs loan

A maintenance loan may also be available to the majority of full-time and certain part-time students. You will get this in three installments for each year of study in order to assist with part of your living expenses.

Depending on your family income, you might get between £3,698 and £9,978 for each academic year of full-time education and up to £4,989 for each academic year of part-time study (if you were to start studying in September 2024). It is completely up to you how you spend your maintenance loan. Your annual maintenance loan will be dependent on your household’s annual income.

See what counts as your household income

3. It’s all about how much you repay, not the amount you take out

This is a big one for a lot of people, and it’s understandable: the main concern they have is, “How will I ever manage to pay such a large sum of money back?” When it comes to repayments, what matters is how much money you make after finishing your degree; once you’re earning more than £25,000 per year in taxable income (if you started studying in September), you’ll only start paying back your student loans.

So, for example, if you earn £26,000 per year, you’ll pay back £90 per year.

SEE ALSO: Do Universities Accept Pregnant Students?

4. Repayments work like a tax

The term “loan” is a bit misleading because student loan repayments operate more like taxes than regular bank loans. It functions something like a graduate tax or contribution that only becomes effective if your income exceeds a certain level.

If you are employed, student loan repayments are automatically withheld from your salary, exactly like income tax, and end when your income falls below £25,000. You don’t have to repay anything if you never earn more than the threshold.

5. The loan is wiped after 40 years

The fact that your student loan is forgiven after 40 years, regardless of how much or little you’ve paid back, is another significant distinction from a conventional bank loan. You will never be able to repay your school loans if you never earn more than the minimum. Additionally, in the event of your passing, they will not transfer the debt to your family.

6. Extra financial support is available for parents and carers

For full-time students, Student Finance England also offers support for students with children or caring responsibilities that you won’t have to pay back, and which come in addition to your tuition loan and maintenance loan. Depending on your household income, eligible students with children could get between £50 and £1,915 a year from the Parent’s Learning Allowance.

Childcare Grant is also provided to eligible students which could cover up to 85% of your costs if you need childcare whilst you’re studying.

See also: Can You Get a Student Loan For an Apprenticeship?

How Can Mature Students Access Student Finance?

Here are a few ways you can access student finance as a mature student:

1. Grant programs

Grants are available for single parents, mortgage payments, and child care. Although they won’t come from your institution directly, you should get in touch with the financial assistance staff at your school so they can lead you.

You may need to inquire about grants that aren’t posted. If your relationship with your lenders is excellent, you may explain what you’re doing and why to them and inquire with them about whether they provide scholarship financing for people in your situation.

Some universities offer an older student’s allowance, at the beginning of a course. Contact your school’s financial aid office if you’re unsure where to look for these.

Related Post: Can You Get a Masters Maintenance Student Loan For a Master’s Degree?

2. Check with your employer

Find out if your employer is willing to sponsor a part of your education. Some employers offer to pay a portion of your education, pending your completion and your promise to return to work with your new degree.

3. Government funding

If you are a mature student in the US, check out the federal guide to grants and scholarships through the US Department of Education. You’ll have to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, and submit it. Pay attention to due dates.

You may qualify for a federal grant which you don’t have to repay, or a federal loan, which has the benefit of a low interest rate.

For those in the UK, use the NUS site to help you navigate the types of funding for which you’re eligible. While there’s no specific funding for mature students, there are government grants and loans for which you can apply.

4. Get a job

Ensure your funding by earning it—yourself. While this method requires a lot from you, there are benefits.

Talk to your employer about working part-time and arranging your course schedule around your work schedule. This keeps you in the game as far as work goes and gives you the time, space—and money—to pursue your degree.

READ ALSO: What is a Student Loan Award Letter and How Do I Get Mine?

5. Student loans

Student loans differ from grants and scholarships in that you have to pay them back. Federal loans generally have low-interest rates and can be more challenging to secure than private loans.

Tuition Fee Loans For Mature Students

Paying your tuition fees as a mature student is very straightforward. The process is the same as it is for all other undergraduate students.

There’s no age limit for receiving a Tuition Fee Loan – just the caveat that you can’t have studied at degree level before.

Assuming you meet all the other usual eligibility criteria, including residency and citizenship requirements, you should be able to apply for a Tuition Fee Loan that usually covers the cost in full.

SEE ALSO: Who Is Eligible For A Student Loan In The UK?

Maintenance Loans For Mature Students

In the United Kingdom, maintenance loans are available to eligible students to help cover living costs while they are studying at university or college. You can also get maintenance loan for foundation year. These loans are provided by the government through the Student Loans Company (SLC).

Mature students, who are typically 25 years or older at the start of their course, can also apply for maintenance loans. This is only if they meet certain eligibility criteria. Here’s some information on maintenance loans for mature students in the UK:

To be eligible for a maintenance loan as a mature student, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Be a UK resident or have settled status in the UK (usually living in the UK for at least three years before the start of your course).
  • Be studying a full-time or part-time undergraduate course at a recognized institution.
  • Be aged 25 or older at the start of the academic year.

Maintenance loans, like tuition fee loans, are repaid once you start earning above a certain income threshold. The specific repayment terms may vary depending on when you started your course and where you live in the UK. Repayments are typically collected through the tax system.

The amount of maintenance loan you receive depends on several factors, including your household income, where you live, and whether you are studying full-time or part-time. The loan is means-tested, meaning that your eligibility and the amount you receive will have to do with your financial circumstances and those of your household.

To apply for a maintenance loan as a mature student, you will need to complete an online application through the government’s Student Finance website. The application process typically involves providing information about your course, your financial situation, and your household income.

FAQs On Loans for Mature Students

Is there an age limit for becoming a mature student?

No, there is typically no age limit for becoming a mature student. You can pursue higher education at any age, and many colleges and universities welcome students of all ages.

Can I balance education with work and family responsibilities as a mature student?

Yes, many mature students successfully balance their education with work and family responsibilities. It may require good time management, support from family and employers, and flexibility in your course schedule, such as evening or online classes.

How do I apply to college or university as a mature student?

The application process for mature students varies by institution, but it typically involves submitting an application, transcripts or evidence of prior education, and possibly standardized test scores. Some colleges and universities may also require a personal statement or interview.

How much is a student loan UK?

Your university or college sets your tuition fee, and the loan is paid directly to them. You have to pay it back. If you’re a full-time student, you can get up to £9,250. If you’re studying an accelerated degree course, you could get up to £11,100.

Who qualifies for a UK student loan?

When you’re eligible for full support. You can apply for full support if all the following apply: you’re a UK national or Irish citizen or have ‘settled status’ (no restrictions on how long you can stay) you normally live in England.


Higher education is a major investment in your future. Once you’ve decided what and where to study as a mature student, don’t worry so much about how to fund your studies.

There are different options available for you depending on where you live, where you plan to study, and at which level. So check the details carefully before you make your application.  



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