The rules regarding previous undergraduate 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,
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
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:
Your compelling reasons will be considered carefully before a decision is made about your entitlement.
Lower Level Qualifications
If you have achieved a lower level qualification, such as a Foundation Degree or HND, then a different funding formula will be used to determine how many years of funding eligibility you have remaining to top-up your qualification to an Honours degree.
Equivalent Level Qualification (ELQ) Exceptions
Generally, students who already hold a UK Honours degree, or equivalent, are not eligible for further undergraduate student support.
However, 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.
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, then it may have an impact on your entitlement.
Students studying the following subjects on a part-time basis, may 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
Veterinary sciences, Agriculture and related subjects
Mathematical sciences and
Each of the funding bodies have slightly different Regulations, so it would be wise to speak to us before applying for your funding.