Coronavirus, COVID-19 updates from Student Finance NI

17 March 2021

What happens to my student finance if I move back home?

If you applied for student finance to help with living costs, the amount you’ve been paid so far will have been based on whether you told us you would be ‘living at home’ or ‘living away from home’ for the majority of each term.

The amount you can get for living away from home is higher than for living at home, this is to help cover the increased cost of living away from home.

Household income Living with your parents Living away from home, studying outside London Living away from home, studying in London
  Maintenance Loan Maintenance Loan Maintenance Loan
£19,203 or less £1,863 £2,953 £4,893
£25,000 £2,199 £3,289 £5,229
£35,000 £3,061 £4,151 £6,091
£45,000 £3,386 £4,476 £6,416

Usually, if you move back home during term you would be re-assessed, and your Maintenance Loan amount would be reduced to the ‘living at home’ rate. However, the government has decided that for this January term any student who is still having to pay accommodation costs for their accommodation away from home, such as rent, will not be reassessed. This is to make sure students have the financial support they need during these exceptional circumstances.

I’ve already had my January payment, what happens if I do not have any accommodation costs for living away from home?

If you’ve moved back home for the rest of the January term but you do not have any ‘away from home’ accommodation costs, you will also be supported by this government decision.

Usually, in this situation you would be reassessed for the January term to the lower ‘living at home’ rate of Maintenance Loan. If you’ve already been paid for that term at the higher ‘living away from home’ rate, it would mean you’d have been overpaid for that term. We would normally then reduce your future Maintenance Loan payments to recover the money that was overpaid.

However, the government has decided that in this situation the overpayment will just be added to your overall loan balance. This will be repaid as normal once you have finished or left your course.

Do I need to tell you if I’ve moved back home?

Yes. It’s important that you update your online account with where you’ll be living each term so that we know where to contact you if we need to.

How do I update my address to tell you I’ve moved back home?

You can tell us about any changes by logging into your online account.

When you update your contact address, you’ll be asked to complete an extra step to tell us if this also changes your living arrangements for the majority of term. You should only complete this extra step if you don’t still have accommodation costs to pay for your accommodation away from home, such as rent.

If you do still have accommodation costs for your accommodation away from home, you should not complete this extra step – this will make sure you are not re-assessed to the ‘living at home’ rate for this January term.

What happens if I decide to live ‘away from home’ again next term?

At the moment, due to the ongoing uncertainty of how COVID-19 will affect face to face and remote teaching in 2021, this government guidance only covers this January term. We’ll update you about future terms as soon as we have new information.

Can I get any extra funding to cover the costs of moving back home and studying at home?

No, you cannot get extra funding to cover any costs you have to move back home. However, students who have had to move back home but are still having to pay accommodation costs for their accommodation away from home, such as rent, will continue to receive the higher ‘living away from home’ rate of Maintenance Loan.

The rate of Maintenance Loan for students living at home should already cover the costs associated with living at home.

I haven’t applied yet for this year, what should I put on my application for my living arrangements for this term?

If you’re going to be at home for the majority of this January term and you’re still having to pay accommodation costs for your accommodation away from home, such as rent, you should put ‘living away from home’ for this term on your application. If you won’t have these costs you should put ‘living at home’.

What do I do if I still have accommodation costs, even though I’ve moved back home, but I don’t want the higher rate of loan?

Firstly, you should tell us about any changes to your contact address by logging into your online account.

If you do not want to continue receiving the higher ‘living away from home’ rate of Maintenance Loan, you need to complete the extra step when updating your contact address to tell us about your change of living arrangements for the majority of this January term.

Last modified: 29 June 2021