Applications for 2018/19 are now open - it’s time for full-time undergraduate students to apply
Apply for a Postgraduate Tuition Fee Loan now!
EU nationals and Student Finance in Northern Ireland.
Tuition Fee Loans for Part-time Undergraduate (and Distance Learning) Students 2017/18
Tuition Fee Loans for Postgraduate students 2017/18
Postgraduate Tuition Fee Loans in Northern Ireland

Special Support Grant

The Special Support Grant pays up to £3,475 depending on your household income and is intended to help with additional course related costs such as books, equipment, travel or childcare.

Entitlement is calculated in the same way as the Maintenance Grant but will not affect the amount of Maintenance Loan you may be entitled to receive. Jobcentre Plus or your local authority’s Housing Benefit section will not take account of the Special Support Grant when assessing any claim you make for income related benefits.


You may be eligible for a Special Support Grant if you:

  • are a lone parent (or a lone foster parent) of a child, or young person aged under 20 who is in full-time education below higher education level.
  • have a partner who is also a student, and one or both of you is responsible for a child or young person under 20 who is in full-time education below higher education level.
  • have a disability and qualify for the Disability Premium or Severe Disability Premium.
  • are deaf and qualify for Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSAs).
  • have a disability and qualify for income-related Employment and Support Allowance.
  • have been treated as incapable of work for a continuous period of at least 28 weeks.
  • are from abroad and am entitled to an Income Support Urgent Cases Payment because you are temporarily without funds for a period of up to 6 weeks.
  • are waiting to go back to a course having taken agreed time out from that course due to an illness or caring responsibility that has now ended.
  • are aged 60 or older.
  • are eligible for Housing Benefit.
  • are entitled to Armed Forces Independence Payment (AFIP).
  • are entitle to a Personal Independence Payment or Disability Living Allowance

How to apply

Complete the Special Support Grant application form and return it to your EA regional office, along with evidence:


Some examples of the evidence you may send include:

  • a passport or birth certificate to prove your age;
  • a letter from your college or university;
  • a copy of your tax credit award;
  • a copy of a letter from the Department for Work and Pensions which show you receive benefit as a lone parent;
  • a letter, on company header paper, from a professional person who knows your circumstances and can confirm that you are a lone parent. A professional person can be, for example, a doctor, lawyer, teacher, police officer or minister of religion.

If you are not sure of your EA regional office address you can use our Education Authority address finder.

You should complete your online application to ensure you receive your full entitlement to Student Finance.

Please note, if you are eligible to receive a Special Support Grant you will not be eligible for a Maintenance Grant.