Previous Study

The rules regarding previous study are quite complex and very much dependant on individual circumstances and whether your course is full/part-time or NHS-funded.

If you have studied previously in Higher Education,

  • you may not be eligible for any further support; or

  • your entitlement may be limited to certain years.

General Rules for Funding

To understand how this impacts you, the general rule is that you’re eligible for student support for the length of your higher education course plus one year where a qualification is not achieved. However, the support will usually be reduced by the number of years you have previously studied.

This is shown in the formula below:

Duration of new course + 1 year- previous course = x years

For example:

Jane started a full-time course in academic year 2011/12 but only completed 2 years of study. She now wishes to return to full-time study. Her new course is 3 years long.

Duration of Jane’s new course (3) +1 year- Jane’s previous study (2) = 2 years

This means that Jane can receive 2 years of funding for her new higher education course. She will need to fund one year herself.

As funding is awarded in the final year of a new course and each preceding year that is funded, Jane will need to self-fund the first year of her course. This means she wouldn’t be able to apply for Tuition Fee Support or a Maintenance Grant/Special Support Grant. She would, however, still be able to apply for a Maintenance Loan and supplementary grants such as Disabled Students' Allowances in her self-funded year.

Previous study and self-support

If you didn’t apply for student finance for your previous higher education course, or your household income was too high for you to get student finance this will still count as previous study. This is because your course would have still received public funding even if you never received any student finance yourself.

Compelling personal reasons

If you didn’t complete your previous course and you have compelling personal reasons for this, then you could be entitled to further funding on these grounds. You must be able to provide evidence of this to your funding provider so that they can consider your circumstances and make a decision.

Depending on your circumstances this may be:

  • medical evidence from your GP;

  • evidence from Social Services; or

  • letter from the student advisory service at your university or college who can substantiate your personal or family crisis and provide evidence of this.

Your compelling reasons will be considered carefully before a decision is made about your entitlement.

Equivalent Level Qualification (ELQ) Exceptions

Generally, students who already hold a UK Honours degree, or equivalent, are not eligible for further undergraduate student support. There are some particular courses which have been made exceptions to this rule. These exceptions currently include courses such as a Postgraduate Certificate of Education, (PGCE)/other Initial Teacher Training courses of 2 years or less in duration, Social Work and some more specific undergraduate courses for which an Honours degree is a requirement of entry, for example: graduate entry medical and dental courses. Limited support is available for these particular courses.

Students studying the following subjects on a part-time basis, may also be able to apply for part-time funding support from Student Finance England or Wales (depending on where they are ordinarily resident):

 Engineering, technology and computer science

 Subjects allied to medicine

 Biological sciences

 Veterinary sciences, Agriculture and related subjects

 Physical sciences

 Mathematical sciences and

 Welsh

You may also be eligible to apply for NHS funding, even if you have received support for a previous (non NHS-funded) Higher Education course. If you have previously had NHS funding and wish to do another NHS-funded course, it may have an impact on your entitlement.

Each of the funding bodies have slightly different Regulations, so it would be wise to speak to us before applying for your funding.


If you have any further queries regarding the information here then please  Contact Us or your funding provider.