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Student loans and Professional and Career Development Loans

This advice applies to Northern Ireland

This page tells you who can get a student loan or a Professional and Career Development Loan and where you can get more information about them.

Student loans

Student loans are authorised by the Government through the Student Loans Company (SLC).

What financial help you can get depends on the course you study, where you live while you are studying and your individual circumstances. Most full-time students can get a tuition fee loan to cover the full cost of tuition fees and a maintenance loan to cover the cost of living expenses.

You don’t normally have to pay the loan back until you’ve left college or university and your income has reached a certain amount.

You can get more information about student loans and other types of student finance, such as grants and bursaries, from the SLC website.

Professional and Career Development Loans

Career Development Loans are provided by some banks and are for people who want to follow a course of study but don’t have the money to pay for it.

The course you choose must provide skills that will help you get into a new job or get ahead in your current one, such as:

  • National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs) in England, Wales and Northern Ireland
  • Scottish Vocational Qualifications (SVQs) in Scotland
  • an Open University degree
  • postgraduate courses

You agree with the bank how much you want to borrow and how long you’re going to repay the loan over. The government pays the interest on the loan while you are studying.

When you finish your course, you will start paying back the loan and interest. Try to pay the loan back as quickly as you can or the interest will pile up.

You can get more information about Professional and Career Development Loans on the Moneysavingexpert website.

Getting a Professional and Career Development Loan may affect your benefit entitlement so check with your benefits office before you apply.

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