Student finance jargon
This page is designed to help students, parents and advisors understand some of the terms used when talking about student finance. Please note that receiving any of the funding mentioned in this guide will be subject to meeting specific eligibility criteria.
Access to Learning Fund (ALF)
This is provided by the Government and is administered by the Financial Guidance Team in Student Services at the University to assist students who are in financial difficulty. Money from the fund is paid as a grant so it does not usually have to be repaid. Awards are assessed by considering a student's income and expenditure over the academic year and calculating whether they have an additional need (residency and other criteria apply). Please see Access to Learning Fund for more information.
Adult Dependant's Grant
The Adult Dependant's Grant is assessed by Student Finance England and could provide extra help if you are a full-time 'Home' student with an adult who depends on you financially (other criteria apply). The amount you can receive depends on your income and the income of your dependants.
This stands for Automatic Teller Machine, commonly known as a cash machine, which allows you to withdraw money from your account.
A bursary is an extra source of financial support that you do not usually have to repay.
The University of Northampton Bursary is a non-repayable award based on household income.
A Bridging Loan is a short term loan issued by the Financial Guidance team, for students whose first payment of their Maintenance Loan or NHS Bursary has been delayed at the beginning of the academic year. This money needs to be repaid as soon as the loan comes through.
The Childcare Grant is assessed by Student Finance England (SFE), this grant could provide extra help if you are a full-time student with childcare costs (other criteria apply). This grant could cover as much as 85% of childcare costs during term-time.
This is a system of tax on households collected by the Local Authority. The level of Council Tax is set on the value of the property. Full-time students are usually exempt from paying Council Tax and may be issued with a Council Tax exemption certificate by email at the start of each academic year. If you are a student living in halls of residence, you will not usually need to worry about Council Tax. If you are a student living in private rented accommodation with other students, you may need to provide your landlord or local council office with a copy of your exemption certificate. However, if you are a part-time student or a full-time student living with non-students, your household may be liable to pay Council Tax, please speak to the Accommodation team or Financial Guidance team for further guidance.
You will be considered to be a 'continuing student' if you have already studied one or more years on your current course and you are progressing onto the next stage or year of that course.
This is a simple bank account and is usually used to deposit money such as student loan, bursary, wages from part-time work, etc. You can usually access this money at any time from a cash machine or ATM using a debit card.
This card will allow you to pay for goods or services rather than paying with cash. Unlike a debit card, which can also be used to pay for goods, the money will not be taken from your bank account; instead the goods or services you have bought with the credit card will be on credit and you may therefore have to pay interest on them.
Disabled Students' Allowance (DSA)
The Disabled Students' Allowance is a non-income assessed allowance that is available to help pay for any support you may need with your studies related to a disability, medical condition or specific learning difficulty.
You will be classified as a 'dependent student' if you are under the age of 25 on the first day of the first academic year of your course and are financially dependent on one or both of your parents (even if you don't live with them).
This card will allow you to withdraw your money from a cash machine or ATM. You may also use this card to pay for goods rather than paying with cash; the money will then be taken from your bank account straight away.
This allows you to pay regular bills without having to authorise the payment each time, for example utility bills may be set up in this way. You will usually complete a form providing your bank details and this allows the money to be paid from your account to the provider automatically.
How you decide to spend your money, e.g. rent, food, travel.
Franchised courses are offered by the University but studied at another institution such as a Further Education college.
This is money you receive but don't have to repay. Grants are usually income-assessed.
Hall fees cover the cost of providing students with University accommodation. These fees vary depending on the location and the type of accommodation allocated. Hall fees at The University of Northampton include utility bills (e.g. gas, electricity, water) but not a TV Licence.
Higher Education (HE)
Higher Education is for people aged 18 and over, who have the relevant qualifications and/or experience to study for a degree, diploma or other qualification.
You may be considered as a 'Home' student if your home prior to commencing study at University is in England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland whether studying in England, Wales or elsewhere in the UK and have been here for at least three years before the start of their course. Student Finance England may also look at students' immigration status or nationality and whether certain residence conditions are met to determine if a student is a 'Home' student.
Income is money that you earn or receive through loans, grants, benefits etc.
When support is 'income-assessed', the income of a person and often that of their household is used to determine the level of an award, e.g. the income of your parents, step-parents, your parent's partner, your husband, your wife, your civil partner or your partner may be taken into consideration by a funding body such as Student Finance England or NHS Business Services Authority when calculating the amount of support you may be entitled to, depending upon your circumstances.
This is a tax paid on income, which for most people is automatically taken from an employee's earnings. There are different rates depending on your level of income.
You will be classified as an 'independent student' if you are:
- Aged 25 or over before the first day of the relevant academic year of your course; or
- You are married before the first day of the relevant academic year of your course; or
- You are able to show that you have supported yourself for three years prior to the start of your course; or
- You have care of a child; or
- You have no living parents or you can demonstrate that you are estranged from your parents and therefore have no contact with them.
'International students' is a term used to describe students who come to study at a British University from outside the EU.
This is the price paid for borrowing money. The level of interest is usually given as a percentage rate over a period of time. You may also generate interest on your savings.
This is money you borrow - it will need to be repaid and interest is likely to be charged.
Living costs are the everyday costs that you are likely to encounter as a student. Examples include: accommodation, food, clothing, utility bills, insurance, books and other course-related expenditure, travel expenses, entertainment, TV Licence etc.
Assessed by Student Finance England (SFE), the Maintenance Grant could provide extra help towards living costs if you are a full-time student with a low household income (other criteria apply). The amount you can receive depends on your assessed household income. For more information, please refer to Student Finance Loans and Grants.
The Maintenance Loan is assessed by Student Finance England (SFE) and is intended to help full-time students with their living costs such as accommodation, food, travel, etc. How much you receive will depend upon where you study and which year you are in, as well as other criteria. The loan will be paid directly into your bank account in three instalments, one at the beginning of each term. The Maintenance Loan is income-assessed on either your household income (if you are an independent student), or, your parent's household income (if you are a dependant student).The repayment arrangements will depend upon when you started your course. For more information, please refer to Student Finance Loans and Grants.
National Insurance Number
This is a personal account number which is used to record your National Insurance Contributions. You will need a national insurance number to work in the UK and to apply for student funding.
National Insurance Contributions
This is a tax on your earnings and your contribution is used to build up your entitlement to certain social security benefits. The amount you pay will depend on your earnings.
Some accounts will allow customers to withdraw more money than they actually have; this is known as having an arranged overdraft. The bank will usually set a limit to this overdraft facility and a rate of interest. If you exceed this limit, you may be subject to bank charges. Many student accounts offer an interest-free overdraft facility, although this is not usually available to international students.
The PN1 application form is for new students entering a Higher Education course who want to be assessed for funding by Student Finance England (SFE). You can apply for a Tuition Fee Loan, Maintenance Loan, Maintenance Grant/Special Support Grant and provide consent to share information for assessment of a university bursary on this form.
The PRI application form is for continuing students already on a Higher Education course who want to be assessed for funding by Student Finance England (SFE) for their next year. You can apply for a Tuition Fee Loan, Maintenance Loan, Maintenance Grant/Special Support Grant and provide consent to share information for assessment of a university bursary on this form.
A student studying for a degree course at a higher level than an undergraduate course leading to qualifications such as an MA, MSc, MPhil or PhD.
Private accommodation is provided to the student by a landlord/letting agency. Rent is therefore payable to the landlord/agency and not to the university. The rent will vary depending on the location and size of the property. Utility bills may not be included in the rent and the period of the tenancy may vary.
This type of account is often used for larger sums of money because the interest rate may be higher than for a current account. Please note that it may take longer to access your money from a savings account in comparison to a current account.
Special Support Grant
The Special Support Grant is assessed by Student Finance England (SFE) and could provide extra help towards living costs if you are a full-time student with a low household income (other criteria apply). You could be eligible for a Special Support Grant if you:
- Are a lone (single) parent
- Have a partner who is also a student and one or both of you are responsible for a child or young person under 20 who is in full-time education below Higher Education level
- Have certain disabilities
The amount you can receive depends on your assessed household income. This type of grant enables you to receive the higher rate of Maintenance Loan. For more information, please refer to Student Finance Loans and Grants..
Student Finance England/SFE
Student Finance England are the funding body who assess students for financial support including Tuition Fee loan, Maintenance Loan, Maintenance/Special Support Grant and other supplementary grants. Students from England can use its secure system to apply for finance online, parents and partners can also support an application online.
This allows you to pay a fixed fee on a regular basis without having to authorise the payment each time. Standing orders may be used to make payments towards rent or a mobile phone contract.
A Student Overdraft is a type of loan facility on a student bank account. It allows you to overdraw on your account (take out more money than is in the account) up to a certain limit (agreed by the bank when the account is opened); this is usually interest-free until you finish your course. It will need to be paid back and you should check the terms and conditions with your bank. The bank will expect you to have your student funding paid into this account. Student bank accounts are not usually available to International students or 'Home' students with a poor credit rating.
These are loans that are available from the government to help 'Home' undergraduate students through their studies. These are re-payable but not usually until you've left your course and are earning over the repayment threshold.
Student Loans Company/SLC
The SLC provide financial assistance in the form of loans to students. These loans are not usually expected to be repaid until after the course has ended, and the student has started earning over a certain amount of income per year.
Supplementary Grants are additional grants assessed by Student Finance England (SFE). They include:
Tuition fees vary depending on your residency status, year of entry, course and duration of study. The fee amount will usually increase each year in line with inflation. Universities charge tuition fees in order to cover the costs associated with teaching students. All students have to pay tuition fees for university unless the course they are studying is nursing, midwifery, or another associated health profession (AHP) such as Occupational Therapy or Podiatry (tuition fees for these courses are usually paid by the NHS).
Tuition Fee Loan
Full-time 'Home' and 'EU' undergraduate students may apply for a Tuition Fee Loan to cover the cost of tuition fees and the loan is paid directly to the university on the student's behalf. You repay the loan in the same way as your Maintenance Loan - only once you have finished studying and are earning over the repayment threshold. For more information, please refer to Student Finance Loans and Grants.
A student studying for a BA/BSc degree, HND or a Foundation Degree qualification.
VAT or Value Added Tax
This is a tax which you pay on most goods and services in the UK. VAT will normally be included in the price you see. There are some goods and services which are exempt from VAT, for further information please visit HM Revenues and Customs.