Student finance is a perennial concern for students and students’ unions. The system is complex, with different rules applying at different levels, across the different nations of the UK and for different courses and subjects.

What funding is provided is often insufficient to meet the costs of learning or living. And as a policy area it does of course overlap with wider discussions about tuition fees and education funding more generally, however the focus here is on the financial support for individual students.

Financial support for individuals

This includes a number of areas, including:

  • Learner support in further education
  • Student support for higher education, including postgraduates
  • Student support for healthcare students, social work students and teaching students
  • Institutional bursaries and scholarships
  • Student access to benefits and tax credits
  • Council tax, income tax and national insurance
  • National minimum wage policy
  • Debt and credit
  • Financial education

We work with a number of partner organisations on these issues, most notably the National Association of Student Money Advisers (NASMA).

Each year, we produce the Student Support and Benefits Handbook in association with the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) and a free copy is distributed to students’ unions.

Extensive research

If you are considering working around student support, perhaps improving the local schemes on offer, you can start by looking at our extensive research on student maintenance support across further and higher education:

With student support failing to keep pace with inflation over the last few years, a growing issue on campuses is the increasing number of students accessing payday loans.

Another key issue on campuses is institutional debt and how universities in particular stop students progressing on the basis of accommodation or other debts.

If you think you might require any support with your work on money, you can contact David Malcolm, Assistant Director, at