Previous Study and Equivalent & Lower Qualifications

Students attend a lecture in a Harvard-style theatre in the Tech Hub.Please note, the information below is for prospective English-domiciled students joining undergraduate programmes at Edge Hill University between August 2020 and July 2022. Northern Ireland, Wales, Scotland and EU students should get in touch for further information.

In the current English student financial support system, your eligibility for student funding may be affected if you have studied all or part of a higher education course before coming to university.

  • Previous Study: If you have studied a higher education course before (level 4 or level 5), even if you didn’t complete it, you may not get Government tuition fee support for the full length of your course, meaning you may have to pay some or all of the tuition fees yourself;
  • Equivalent and Lower Qualifications (ELQs): If the course you take at Edge Hill University is of an equivalent or lower level to one you already hold, you may not get Government support for your tuition fees or living costs.

There are exceptions but if you intend to study an undergraduate course that will not be your first higher education programme, it is essential that you check your entitlement to student funding.

If you have withdrawn from a previous course due to compelling personal reasons, such as illness, mental health, bereavement, pregnancy or a caring responsibility, you could be eligible to receive an extra year of tuition fee support.

To find out how studying at higher education level before may impact on your eligibility for financial support, please view the relevant dropdown box below.

“I intend to study on a full-time or part-time undergraduate programme of an equivalent or lower level to a qualification I already hold.”

Typically, if the course you intend to study carries a qualification of an equivalent or lower level to one you already hold, you will be unable to receive a Tuition Fee Loan or Maintenance Loan.

Please note, exceptions apply for students joining selected pre-registration health and social care degrees (such as Nursing, Midwifery and Operating Department Practice) or two-year initial teacher training degrees. Please see the relevant section below for further information specific to your course.

If you have a dependant (child or adult), or if you have a disability or specific learning difficulty, you may be eligible to apply for supplementary grants such as Childcare GrantParents’ Learning AllowanceAdult Dependants’ Grant or Disabled Students’ Allowances. Please note, the Childcare Grant, Parents’ Learning Allowance and Adult Dependants’ Grant are not available to part-time students.

“I intend to study on a full-time undergraduate programme but have previously withdrawn or transferred from a course of higher education without obtaining a qualification.”

Students joining their first course of higher education are usually entitled to the standard financial support package for the typical duration of the programme, plus one extra year. However, if you have previously studied on a full-time course of higher education then your eligibility for funding may be reduced.

Please note, exceptions apply for students joining selected pre-registration health and social care degrees (such as Nursing, Midwifery and Operating Department Practice) or two-year initial teacher training degrees. Please see the relevant section below for further information specific to your course.

If you previously studied a part-time higher education programme but did not complete it, this should not affect your funding entitlement for a new full-time degree course.

Subject to meeting the standard eligibility criteria, full-time undergraduate students should be able to apply for a Maintenance Loan.

If you have a dependant (child or adult) or if you have a disability or specific learning difficulty, you may also be eligible to apply for supplementary grants such as Childcare GrantParents’ Learning AllowanceAdult Dependants’ Grant or Disabled Students’ Allowances.

Your entitlement to a Tuition Fee Loan, however, may be reduced. To calculate your entitlement for a Tuition Fee Loan, you should do the following:

  • Check the duration of your new course;
  • Add one extra year;
  • Calculate how many years of full-time higher education study you have previously undertaken. You need to include each year that you have previously attended, even if you did not complete the year or only attended for one day. You also need to include any years studied previously for which you did not receive any student funding. Do not include any years spent studying on a part-time course;
  • Deduct the number calculated in step three from the number calculated in step two, to work out the number of years you are entitled to the standard financial support package.

Example 1

James previously started a full-time Geography degree from which he withdrew after three months. He is now intending to start a new three-year, full-time degree in Film Studies. James would be eligible to receive the standard financial support package for the duration of his course and (subject to eligibility) any relevant supplementary grants.

  • Duration of new course plus one extra year: 4 years;
  • Years of previous, full-time higher education study undertaken: 1 year;
  • Number of years entitled to full student funding: 3 years.

Example 2

Fiona previously started a full-time English Literature degree from which she withdrew after two years. She is now intending to start a new three-year, full-time degree in Dance. Fiona would be eligible to receive the standard financial support package for Year 2 and Year 3 of her degree but in Year 1 her funding would be limited to a Maintenance Loan and (subject to eligibility) any relevant supplementary grants.

  • Duration of new course plus one extra year: 4 years;
  • Years of previous, full-time higher education study undertaken: 2 years;
  • Number of years entitled to full student funding: 2 years.

Compelling Personal Reasons

If you have withdrawn from a previous course due to compelling personal reasons, such as illness, mental health, bereavement, pregnancy or a caring responsibility, you could be eligible to receive an extra year of tuition fee support.

You should send evidence of your personal reasons for repeating a year to your student funding body as soon as you have applied for student finance. You should send a cover letter that includes your customer reference number (CRN) and explains the situation and how it affected your studies.

Examples of evidence you could send to prove these personal reasons include a letter on headed paper from a doctor or social worker, a letter on headed paper from someone at your university or college who can confirm your situation and when you left the course, or photocopies of birth or death certificates.

If you do not have the requested evidence, you should send a cover letter explaining your situation in as much detail as possible, along with any evidence you do have which you feel supports your application.

Each application will be reviewed on an individual basis and you will be contacted with details of the outcome. This process can take up to eight weeks.

Before you apply, we strongly recommend that you get in touch with the University’s Money Advice Team – scroll down for contact details.

“I intend to study on a part-time undergraduate programme but have previously withdrawn or transferred from a course of higher education without obtaining a qualification.”

If you are joining a part-time undergraduate programme having previously studied on a full-time higher education course without achieving a qualification, your previous full-time study will not impact on your eligibility for financial support. However, tuition fee regulations state that to receive a Tuition Fee Loan you must be studying on a course which comprises at least 25% of the equivalent full-time programme per academic year.

If you have studied at higher education level before on a part-time course, your previous study may impact on your eligibility to receive a Tuition Fee Loan as a part-time student. Please get in touch for further advice – scroll down for contact details.

If you have a disability, long-term health condition, mental health condition, or specific learning difficulty such as dyslexia, you may be eligible to apply for Disabled Students’ Allowances.

“I have studied on a course of higher education before and plan to ‘top up’ to a qualification of a higher level.”

If you have previously undertaken a course of higher education and you plan to ‘top-up’ to a higher level qualification – for example, by studying a conversion programme to honours degree after completing a foundation degree – you should be eligible to apply for the standard financial support package for conversion degree students.

However, if you have had to repeat a year or more of your previous course, your eligibility to receive funding for the progression route may be restricted and you should get in touch for clarification – scroll down for contact details.

If you have a dependant (child or adult), or if you have a disability or specific learning difficulty, you may be eligible to apply for supplementary grants such as Childcare GrantParents’ Learning AllowanceAdult Dependants’ Grant or Disabled Students’ Allowances.

“I intend to study for a pre-registration health and social care degree in Nurse Paramedic (Adult), Nursing, Midwifery, Operating Department Practice or Nursing & Social Work.”

Students joining pre-registration programmes in Midwifery, Nursing, Nursing & Social Work (MNSW awards), and Operating Department Practice are exempt from previous study rules.

If you will be studying a degree in one of these subjects you may still be eligible for financial support even if you have previously enrolled on higher education study or if the pre-registration degree is of an equivalent or lower level to a qualification you already hold.

We are currently verifying with Student Finance England whether MSci Nurse Paramedic (Adult) students are also exempt from previous study rules. Please keep checking this page for updates.

Please note, this exemption does not apply to BSc (Hons) Paramedic Practice students.

The above exemptions apply for Student Finance England. You should contact the relevant funding body for confirmation of your eligibility.

“I intend to study for an initial teacher training degree of two years in length.”

If you are joining an initial teacher training degree of two years in length, you can expect to be eligible to apply for the standard financial support package for undergraduate students as previous study is disregarded.

Please note, however, if you intend to join an initial teacher training degree of three years in length, previous study will be taken into account, as per the information above, if you will be studying for an award of an equivalent or lower level to a qualification you already hold or if you have previously attended a course of higher education but withdrew or transferred before obtaining a qualification.

If you have a dependant (child or adult), or if you have a disability or specific learning difficulty, you may be eligible to apply for supplementary grants such as Childcare GrantParents’ Learning AllowanceAdult Dependants’ Grant or Disabled Students’ Allowances.

Three students chat in the foyer of the Arts Centre, with large EHU letters illuminated on the wall behind them.If you think your eligibility to receive financial support may be affected by previous study, or if the programme you intend to study at Edge Hill University is of an equivalent or lower level to a higher education qualification you already hold, it is important to clarify your situation.

You do not have to be a student or applicant to contact us. Our friendly support services can provide advice and in some cases may also be able to help you in dealing with Student Finance England to improve your funding.

If you have any queries about tuition fees, you can email Academic Registry at [email protected].

If you have any questions about previous study and the potential impact it may have on your eligibility for financial support, you can get in touch with the Money Advice Team on 01695 657250 or email [email protected].

Alternatively, you can contact the Students’ Union Advice and Representation Centre on 01695 657301 or e-mail [email protected].

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