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The UK’s four Student Finance companies (Student Finance England, Student Finance Wales, Student Finance Northern Ireland, Student Awards Agency Scotland) can provide maintenance loans for undergraduates and postgraduate students. The maintenance loan will probably be your main source of living expenses while you’re at university. As you’ll most likely be taking one out, it makes sense to understand the application process and how much you are eligible to receive.

Frequently asked questions

What is a Maintenance Loan?

A maintenance loan is a type of student loan that is designed to cover your personal living expenses while studying at university. This may include costs such as rent and utility bills, travel, food, and studying materials.

A maintenance loan is offered by the four student finance companies across England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland for both undergraduate and postgraduate students. The maximum amount offered depends on where you live and other factors.

In addition, you may also apply for private student loans which usually supplement government loans if the amount is not enough to cover your budget or your are not eligible to access, for various reasons, a government the student finance loans.

Is there a maintenance loan for undergraduates?

While the details may vary across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, undergraduates can apply for a student loan to cover their tuition, as well as a separate maintenance loan to cover their living costs.

Each of the four nations has its version of Student Finance. With Student Finance England for example, the maintenance loan amount is capped at £12,667 for undergraduates in the 2022-23 academic year, and up to £13,022 for the 2023-24 academic year.

Is there a maintenance loan for postgraduates?

For postgraduate students, there is generally only one type of student loan which combines both funds for tuition, and for maintenance. This loan is paid directly to the student’s bank account. The maximum total amount varies depending on where you live.

With Student Finance England for example, the loan amount is capped at £11,836 for a Master’s starting in 2022-2023, and this has been increased this year to £12,167 for a Master’s starting on or after 1st August 2023 to adjust for higher costs of both living expenses and course fees.

Lendwise offers a private loan to postgraduates who are in their final year of studies, which you can apply for via our graduate loan.

Can I have a Government maintenance loan alongside a Lendwise loan?

We encourage all students to apply for the Government Student Finance Loans. The maximum total amount that is paid directly to the student’s bank account varies depending on where you live, where you intend to study and other personal and financial circumstances. Borrowing additional money should only be a carefully thought and budgeted decision and not a lighthearted one.

Can you change your student loan amount?

You can submit a request to Student Finance England to increase or decrease the amount of your loan up to 9 months from the first day of your final academic year. Note that you cannot decrease to less than the amount that you have already been paid, nor can you exceed the designated maximum amount according to the year you began your studies.

Postgraduate loans are capped at £12,167 for 2023-24, a £331 increase from the previous year.

For students residing in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales the amounts, terms and eligibility may vary.

Is it too late to apply for a maintenance loan?

For postgraduate loans from Student Finance England, if you have not borrowed the maximum amount offered according to the year you started your course, you can submit a request to increase the amount of your loan up to 9 months from the first day of your final academic year.

You can apply for an undergraduate maintenance loan from Student Finance England at any time during your studies, up to 9 months from the start of your final academic year.

For students residing in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales the amounts, deadlines and eligibility may vary.

If you have missed the application deadline or require extra financing assistance, you may consider applying for a maintenance loan through a Lendwise Graduate Loan which is available to students in the final year of undergraduate or postgraduate study.

How is the Maintenance Loan repaid?

Repayment of your maintenance loan does not begin until April of the following year once you have graduated or left your course. In addition, you’ll need to start earning above the UK repayment threshold before repaying.

With Lendwise, your repayment schedule is laid out in the provisional loan offer and the loan agreement document – both of which can be accessed online on the dashboard of your Lendwise account.

Do I need to give proof of household income for a Lendwise loan?

No, you do not need a guarantor or co-signer, nor do we require that you submit proof of household income in order to be offered a loan with Lendwise. One of the important criteria to be eligible for a Lendwise loan is to have a healthy credit record, free from arrears, defaults or CCJs.

Our student-friendly loans are tailored to your personal circumstances and our evaluation process assesses your repayment ability based on statistical data to derive conclusions on employability and expected salary levels.

Where is the maintenance loan paid?

With a student loan from the Student Finance companies, your loan is split into two – one for tuition and one for maintenance. If you have taken a tuition loan for undergraduate studies, this would be paid directly to the university in 3 instalments. Similarly, the maintenance loan is paid directly to your designated bank account in 3 instalments.  For postgraduate courses this varies. Student Finance England pay all funds directly to the student who then has the responsibility of making payments to the university.

With a Lendwise Graduate Loan, the tuition fees are sent to your university whereas the maintenance will be paid directly into your designated bank account.

How to apply?

If you’re applying for a Student Finance undergraduate or postgraduate loan, the quickest and easiest way to apply is through as soon as the application service is opened.

If you are a first-time applicant, you will be required to create an account in which you’ll be given a Customer Reference Number (CRM). In addition, you’ll need to upload proof of identity as well as other details.

If you are a returning student, you may log in using your CRM.

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With Lendwise, you can apply via our Graduate Loan as long as you are in your final year of studies and have secured a graduate role or full time employment. If successful, we can offer you a no-obligation provisional loan proposal that will help you in your final year of studies as well as the transition from student life.

Alternatively, you can call us at 020 3890 7270 or email

What if you don’t qualify for a student loan?

If you don’t qualify for a tuition fee or maintenance loan from the Government, you may still be able to arrange a private loan elsewhere. There are loans for students from banks or lender providers such as Lendwise to help you throughout your course of study.

Alternatively, you can choose to study part-time and have a job while studying, apply for grants, bursaries or scholarships.

What if you already have a private student loan?

If you currently have an active private student loan or maintenance loan with another provider, either for the current year or in repayments, unfortunately, we would most likely not be able to offer you a loan as we aim to avoid debt-overburdening.

Can I get a small loan before starting my new role?

Student Finance does not offer loans to help students get a head start on their professional life. However, with Lendwise, you can! Get a head start on your professional life with a loan of up to two times your salary (capped at £10,000). Our Graduate Life Start Loan helps students with the transition from student life to working professional.

Can I refinance my private maintenance loan with Lendwise?

Yes, you can create an application to refinance your private student or maintenance loan with Lendwise. Refinancing your student loan could mean one or more of the following:

  • a lower interest rate
  • a fixed interest rate instead of a variable one
  • lower monthly loan repayments
  • shorter repayment schedule
  • savings on the total cost of the loan

Visit our refinance loan page for more information to help you

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