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Part-time students now entitled to student loans

For the first time students who are studying part-time or through the Open University can apply for a student loan to cover the cost of their tuition fees.

This means that, just like those studying full-time, part-time students no longer need to pay upfront for their studies.

If you’re a part-time student at a publicly-funded university or college, you can apply for a loan of up to £6,750. Those based at privately-funded institutions are entitled to slightly less – up to £4,500.

You don’t need to pay the loan back until you are earning at least £21,000. Repayments start in the April four years after the start of your course or the April after you leave your course – whichever comes first.

To qualify for a loan, you must be studying at a course intensity of at least 25% of the full-time equivalent per year. This means you cannot take more than four times the time it would take to complete the course if studied full time – up to a maximum of 16 years.

If you’re thinking of applying, it’s a good idea to send off your forms as soon as possible to ensure your loan arrives before the start of term.

You don’t need a confirmed university place to do so – instead you can give details of your first choice.

Continuing part-time students will be contacted by Student Finance England around the middle of August and their application form will be available to download from 3 September 2012.

How to apply:

• You can complete your application by downloading a form from the Student Finance England website or by asking your university or college for an application pack

• There’s plenty of information on the SFE website including video helpers and quick guides but if you do get stuck, SFE host regular student finance surgeries on Facebook, answering your part-time and general queries

• If you’re starting at the Open University, you can find more information about the ways to pay for part-time study here

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