As well as claiming Student Finance to pay tuition fees, students can also get a Maintenance Loan. This can help to pay for accommodation, school supplies, food, travel, and other living expenses while studying. This loan requires repayment, but not until your course ends and you start earning more than the repayment threshold. Some students may also be able to apply for government benefits which can help to pay the rent. Read this guide to discover how students can get financial support for paying rent.
Maintenance Support for Student Rent
Whether you are staying in student accommodation or renting privately, you will need to be able to afford the rent. Applying for a Maintenance Loan from Student Finance can help you to pay for this. You may receive between £7,000 and £12,000 per year in 3 instalments. The amount you are entitled to depends on where you live and study, your household income, and when you started the course. You can apply online in advance for each academic year. You will start receiving payments after registering at your university in the first week of your course. Part-time students may also be eligible for maintenance loans, but it depends on circumstances and course intensity.
You may be eligible for an extra amount of Maintenance Loan if you have disabilities or dependants. For example, you could get more money if you:
- are a single parent or foster parent of a child under 20 years old (in full-time education or approved training)
- have a disability qualifying you to receive Disability Living Allowance (or the associated premiums)
- you qualify for income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Disabled Students Allowance, Personal Independence Payment, or Armed Forces Independence Payment
- are waiting to rejoin a course following time away due to illness or caring responsibilities as agreed with your learning provider
Housing Benefit for Students
Most students will receive their Maintenance Loan and may work part-time around their studies to help pay for their rent and living expenses. Usually, students can only claim government benefits to help pay their rent if they are studying part-time or are over pension age. International students who are studying in the UK are unable to claim benefits for housing from the UK government. If you claim Housing Benefit as part of Universal Credit, then you will have to ensure that you have time for job-searching activities and working around your part-time studies. Any Housing Benefit you receive will depend on how much you already receive in your Maintenance Loan.
The eligibility criteria to receive Housing Benefit from the government are:
- you are a student studying on a part-time course
- if you have savings, they are less than £16,000
- you are not seeking asylum
Sometimes, you may be able to claim Housing Benefit even if you are a full-time student. You could claim Housing Benefit as a full-time student if you:
- are under 19 years old, living away from home to study a full-time course (which is not a higher education course)
- are a lone parent or responsible for a child with a partner
- have a disability (including blindness or deafness) which also prevents you from working for a minimum of 28 weeks
- receive a disability-related benefit (including Disability Living Allowance, Personal Independence Payment, and Disabled Student’s Allowance)
- receive income-related benefits (including Income Support, JSA, and ESA)
- qualify for Pension Credit (especially if you qualify for the guaranteed credit component of Pension Credit)
The roll-out of Universal Credit is gradually replacing Housing Benefit, so your eligibility may change and you may then have to apply for the housing element of Universal Credit instead. Unlike the Maintenance Loan, you will not have to repay the money that you receive as part of the Housing Benefit.