Student Loans for Irish attending University in England

Loans for Irish Students at University in England

If you are an Irish student  (or from any EU country ) starting a degree (undergraduate) course in England  –  you can still apply for a Tuition Fee Loan in England to help you pay for your course. You can apply for student finance in England up to nine months after the start of the academic year.
Irish residents and other EU residents can also apply for tuition fee loans for  Master’s Degree courses in England


In May 2019 the UK government confirmed that EU students starting university in the 2020/21 academic year will have guaranteed home fee status and financial support for the duration of courses in England.

EU, other EEA and Swiss nationals will no longer be eligible for home fee status, undergraduate, postgraduate and advanced learner financial support from Student Finance England for courses starting in the academic year 2021/22.

Student Grants

Maintenance Grants from Ireland are still available to Irish students who go on a University course in the UK .
Applicants attending an undergraduate course outside the Republic of Ireland but within the EU/UK are eligible to receive a maintenance grant only . There are no grants towards tuition costs.

Applications are dealt with by SUSI. (Student Universal Support Ireland).  Last year they processed about 100,000 applications

Grants are available to eligible students attending most colleges in Ireland as well as for Irish students attending most colleges in Northern Ireland, the UK and the other EU States.

How much of a UK student loan can you get ?  (2019/2020 figures)

You can get up to £9,250 a year Tuition Fee Loan if you study at a public university or college.

You can get up to £6,165 a year Tuition Fee Loan if you are at a at a private university or college.

Privately-funded universities may charge you more than £6165, it is up to you to pay anything over this amount.

Who is  Eligible for a Tuition Fee Loan in England ?

1 – To be eligible you must have been ‘ordinarily resident’ in the EEA or Switzerland for the three years before the start of your course. ‘Ordinarily resident’ means where you usually live, apart from temporary or occasional absences.

2- You must be an EU national, or the family member of an EU national.

3 You will not normally be able to get a Tuition Fee Loan if you already hold a qualification equal to or higher than the one you are studying for.  If you have already had a loan for part of a course that you didn’t complete you may only be able to get another loan for the number of years of your  course, plus one additional year, less the number of years you have already  had funding for.

4. The university or college you plan to study at must be in England and can be either publicly or privately funded.

5. The course must lead to  one of the following:
• a first degree, eg BA, BSc or BEd
• a Foundation Degree
• a Certificate of Higher Education
• a Diploma of Higher Education (DipHE)
• a Higher National Certificate (HNC)
•  a Higher National Diploma (HND)
• a Postgraduate Certificate of  Initial Teacher Training (ITT)  or Education (PGCE)

If you are studying at a private university or college you should check with them that your course qualifies for student finance.

You can apply at

Repaying a Student Loan

Repayments of UK student loans are based on your income NOT on the amount you were lent .
Repayments are calculated as  9% of everything you earn above £21,000 a year. So if you earn £22,000  you’ll have to repay just £90 a year , earn £23,000 and you repay £180 a year ,earn £36,000 and it’s £1,350 a year.

You don’t have to start making repayments until at least the April after you finish or leave your course. You don’t have to repay anything until your income is over the threshold of £21,000 a year. (This threshold is due to increase by an estimated RPI plus 1% a year from 2021)

Any loan still outstanding after 30 years is written off.

Interest Rate on a UK Student Loan

Most student loans since 2012 now have an annual interest rate of 3% plus the UK Retail Price Index (as at March). For example in 2019 this rate is 6.3%
Note: The interest rate applied is just equal to the RPI  (3.3% in 2019) if your earnings are below £25,000 a year.

Someone borrowing £9000 a year for 3 years who starts a job at £25000 a year would never fully repay the loan . They would end up paying back an estimated £45000 over 30 years and the remainder would be written off .

(This is based on several assumptions –
Interest is accrued and applied monthly (in reality it will accrue daily)
Av annual UK inflation (RPI) = 3% ; Av annual salary growth =  5% ; Av UK wages growth = 4%
You don’t take any time off during the 30 years after graduation, and your sala

You can find out more about repaying your loan in the UK and overseas at