Government student loans for undergraduates

The main source of funding available for new undergraduate students is the student tuition fee loan from the government. If you are eligible, you can apply for a loan to cover the full cost of your fees. A fee loan doesn't depend on household income and it will be paid directly to Birkbeck to cover the cost of your fees.

Apply now

Student finance applications can usually be made from January of the year of entry. The application deadline for new students is usually May of the year of entry.

Apply online now for your student loan.

You don't need a confirmed place at university to apply; you can apply with your first choice of university (you can change the details later if you need to).

If you need help with your loan application, please contact Student Finance England.

Eligibility criteria

  • To be eligible for a student loan, you need to be:
    • studying an undergraduate course (BA/BSc/LLB degree, Foundation Degree or a Certificate of Higher Education)
    • studying at undergraduate level for the first time (ie you do not already have a degree or a qualification at the same level, or higher, than the one that you wish to study at Birkbeck). There are some exemptions to this - see below.
    • studying at least 25% of a full-time course or modules worth 30 credits a year on a designated course
    • are classified as a Home/EU student
    • are not behind in repayments for any previous student loan taken out
    • have not exceeded your loan eligibility due to prior study.

Exempt Equivalent or Lower Qualification (ELQ) courseS

What you can apply for

  • Eligible full-time undergraduate students can apply now for both a tuition fee loan and a maintenance loan.
  • Eligible part-time undergraduate students can apply now for a tuition fee loan and, from 2018, you can also apply for a maintenance loan.
  • If you have been classified as an EU student by Student Finance England, you can apply for a tuition fee loan (but not for a maintenance loan - EU students are ineligible).
  • Note: when you enrol online for your Birkbeck course (this happens after you have accepted an offer of a place), if you are eligible for a loan, you will be given the option to state that you are applying for a student loan to pay your fees. This will mean that you can enrol on your course without having to make a payment first.

When you start repaying your student loan

  • Birkbeck students can usually complete their studies before starting to repay their loans:
    • If you are classified as a part-time student, you will be due to start repaying your loan in the April after you leave your course or the April that falls four years after the first day of your course (even if you’re still studying), whichever comes first.
    • If you are classified as a full-time student, you will be due to start repaying your loan in the April after you complete or leave your course. If you finish or leave your course before April 2016, you won’t start making repayments until after this date.
    • Please see the Student Loans Company Repayments website or contact the Student Advice Service.
  • Note: Birkbeck’s 3-year evening study BA/BSc/LLB degrees, 2-year evening study Foundation Degrees and some of our Certificates of Higher Education are classified as full-time study; all other undergraduate programmes are classified as part-time study.

Interest charges on your student loan

  • While studying: interest will be added at inflation plus 3%.
  • After studying, and earning below £21,000: interest will be added at inflation.
  • After studying, and earning £21,000-£41,000: the interest rate will be on a sliding scale from inflation up to a maximum of inflation plus 3%.
  • After studying, and earning over £41,000: the interest rate is inflation plus 3%.

Income thresholds

  • You only start to repay when you are earning over £21,000 a year; if you earn less than £21,000 a year, you won’t repay anything.
  • You repay 9% of your income above £21,000, so the amount you repay each month will depend on your earnings – and will be the same each month no matter how much the course cost. See below for examples of monthly repayments.

How you will repay your loan

  • Your repayments will automatically be deducted from your pay (the same way as income tax), or through your tax return if you are self-employed.
  • If your salary falls below £21,000, your repayments automatically stop. Repayments only restart when you earn over £21,000.
  • If you get a maintenance loan as well as a tuition fee loan, both loans will be added together, and you will repay the one loan on the same terms.
  • Any outstanding loan balance will be written off 30 years after entering repayment.

Early repayments and credit ratings

  • You can make additional voluntary repayments to the Student Loans Company at any time, which will reduce your balance earlier.
  • There are no penalties for repaying the loan early. After 30 years your loan is written off, no matter how much or how little you have repaid.
  • Unlike commercial loans or credit card debt, student loans do not go on credit files. The loan is unlikely to affect your ability to get a mortgage, but the amount of mortgage available may depend on your net income (ie - your income after tax and loan repayments).

Examples of monthly repayments

  • Income before tax: up to £21,000
    • Monthly salary before tax: £1750
    • Monthly repayment: £0.
  • Income before tax: £22,000
    • Monthly salary before tax: £1833
    • Monthly repayment: £7.
  • Income before tax: up to £25,000
    • Monthly salary before tax: £2083
    • Monthly repayment: £30.
  • Income before tax: up to £30,000
    • Monthly salary before tax: £2500
    • Monthly repayment: £67.
  • Income before tax: up to £35,000
    • Monthly salary before tax: £2916
    • Monthly repayment: £105.
  • Income before tax: £40,000
    • Monthly salary before tax: £3333
    • Monthly repayment: £142.