This aims to provide you with a basic understanding of tuition fees and how they are paid, the difference between maintenance loans and grants and your potential eligibility for these and will also touch upon:
  • Adult Dependants Grant
  • Parents Learning Allowance
  • Childcare Grant

Tuition Fees

For undergraduate courses the University of Southampton charges £9,000. You may be eligible to apply for a tuition fee loan which will cover the cost of your fees. This is paid by Student Finance directly to the University in 3 instalments as follows:

  • Term 1 = 25%
  • Term 2 = 25%
  • Term 3 = 50%

This is a non-income assessed loan which will be repayable after graduation once you are earning more than £21,000.

In order to apply, you must be a UK national or have a settled status or have been living in the UK for at least three years prior to the start of your course. Other exceptions apply and further information can be found here.

Generally speaking, you cannot obtain student funding if you already have a higher education qualification, however you may be eligible if you are studying for a course which leads to a professional qualification such as medicine.

Maintenance Grant and Loan

The maintenance grant is designed to assist you with your living costs whilst at University. You do not need to pay this back after graduation but it is based on household income.

The maintenance loan is available to everyone and is not means tested however, it will be reduced by 50p for every £1 of maintenance grant you receive. This element is repayable after you have graduated.

Further information including up-to-date eligibility figures can be found here.

This Calculator is useful is estimating what you may be entitled to.

Independent Students

If you are classed as in independent student, your own income and that of your spouses or civil partner will be assessed when you make an application for Student Funding. You will be assessed as an independent student for funding purposes if:

  • You are aged 25 or over before the start of the academic year
  • You are married or in a civil partnership before the start of the academic year
  • You have been financially self-reliant for at least three years prior to the start of your course (including any periods of unemployment)
  • You have responsibility for one or more children
  • You are estranged from your parents
  • You are a care leaver
  • Your parents are untraceable /li>
  • It would place your parents in a dangerous position if they were to make financial contributions to your education
  • Your parents are deceased


If you do not meet any of the criteria for being clased as an Independent Student but your relationship with your parents has completely broken down then you may be able to apply for Student Funding under the rules of estrangement so that their income is not considered for your funding. You will need to provide evidence that you have not been in contact with them for 1 year. This may be in the form of social services letters or communication from your local authority. You are advised to seek the support of the Advice Centre if this is the case.

The charity StandAlone aims to help students prove estrangement from family and can also put you in touch with other students in similar situations for support.

Adult Dependants Grant (ADG)

The ADG is designed to help those students who have adults who are “wholly or mainly financially dependent” on them. The amount you are entitled to is dependent on your income and the income of your spouse, civil partner, partner or other dependant adult. This is a non-repayable grant which will be paid directly to you.

You cannot claim ADG for a grown up child who is still dependant on you or for any dependants who are in receipt of statutory funding for their own higher education courses.

To apply for this you just need to ensure you complete all the relevant sections of your Student Finance application form and where necessary, provide evidence of your dependant adults’ income.

Parents learning Allowance (PLA)

If you are a parent with dependent children, you may be eligible to apply for the PLA to help with course related costs. What you receive will be based on your income and the income of your spouse, partner or civil partner and any other dependents.

PLA is not counted when assessing your income for child benefit and tax credits. If both parents are students, both can claim the full PLA subject to their income. Payment is usually made along with any maintenance grants/loans you are entitled to.

In order to apply, you will need to complete all sections of your Student Finance application and supply any evidence required such as your child/children’s birth certificates and tax credit award letter.

Childcare Grant (CCG)

If you are responsible for a child under the age of 15 (or 17 of they have special educational needs) and you use an Ofsted registered childcare provider, you can apply for the CCG. You cannot claim CCG if you are already receiving the childcare element in working tax credit but you may decide that it is more financially viable to accept CCG as opposed to the tax credit element.

CCG is dependent on your household income but you can claim up to 85% of your actual childcare costs during term time and holidays.

In order to apply, you will need to complete your Student Finance application and state that you wish to apply for CCG. Student Finance will then send you the CCG1 form to complete and will ask that you estimate your childcare costs. You will be required to submit termly receipts of your actual childcare costs and any over or underpayment will be reflected in your next payment.

You do not need to repay CCG unless you have received an overpayment or have not submitted actual costs in a timely manner to Student Finance.