Jargon unravelled

 Female student sat with her head in her hands looking at bills

There is a lot of jargon used in relation to student funding and it can be confusing sorting out your SFE's from your SLC's. We have put together a list of jargon that we come across regularly, with explanations. Hope it helps!


A-E ; F-L ; M-R ; S-Z ;



Alumni - Graduates or former students of the University.

Bursary - A bursary is a form of financial support that you don't need to pay back. There are a variety of bursaries available for students ; some offered by the University, others by external bodies. Here are some examples;

Paid by the University  
University Core Bursary Non repayable award based on household income, made to some students who are paying full standard tuition fee
Nottingham Potential Bursary (from September 2012 entry)

Non repayable award based on non standard entry qualifications (ie not A levels) and household income;

OR have children or adult dependants and whose household income is below a specified threshold;

OR are aged under 25, and are or have previously been, in the care of a local authority;

OR for students who have attended a University of Nottingham Summer School

OR has refugee status and has not received the Maycock Whileman Scholarship

Paid by external organisations  
Social Work Bursary Non repayable, non means tested award made to social work students
NHS Bursary A means-tested, non-repayable, bursary for NHS funded degree courses, eg Graduate Entry Nursing
ITT Bursary Non-repayable, non income assessed award made to full-time and part-time PGCE students from the National College for Teaching and Leadership (DfE)


Continuing student
- a student who has already commenced their course and is continuing with their studies into a second, or subsequent year.
Council tax - a household tax to pay for local council services eg waste collection, libraries. Full-time students are generally exempt from paying council tax.

DSA (Disabled students allowance) - a non income assessed allowance that is available to pay for any support you may need with your studies related to a disability, medical condition or specific learning difficulty.

Expenditure - your outgoings; things you spend your money on eg rent, household bills
EU student - student from a member country of the European Union. Usually charged the same tuition fee rate as UK home students. Often eligible for a tuition fee loan from the Student Loans Company. 

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- payment for services. At University these are likely to be tuition fees and accommodation fees.

Grant - money given to you that you don't have to pay back.

Hall / Accommodation Fees
- hall fees cover the cost of providing a student with university accommodation. The fees vary depending on location and the type of accommodation allocated. Hall fees usually include utility bills and in some cases meals.
Higher Education - education for people aged 18 and over, who have the relevant qualifications and experience to study for a degree, diploma or other qualification.

Income assessed
- when financial support is income assessed the income of a person is used to determine the level of an award, eg the income of your parents, step parents, their partner, your husband, your wife, your civil partner or your partner, is taken into consideration when calculating the amount of support you may be entitled to.
Independent students - Students who are:

  • aged 25 or over before the first day of the academic year that their course starts (non-NHS funded courses only)
  • are married before the first day of the academic year that their course starts
  • are able to show they have supported themselves financially for three years prior to the start of their course
  • have a dependant child/children
  • are Care Leavers
  • are estranged from their parents

International students / overseas students - a term used to describe students who come to study at a British university from outside the EU.

Living costs - these are the everyday costs that you are likely to encounter as a student. Examples include: accommodation, insurance, food, clothes, books, stationery, special equipment (sports kit, lab coat), travel expenses, entertainment, TV license. The Financial Support team can offer advice and support on budgeting.
Local Authorities / LA - Local Authorities in England used to have the responsibility for assessing the eligibility of funding applications from students whose home or full-time residence is in their local area. For ALL students this is now the responsibility of Student Finance (SFE, Student Finance Wales, Student Finance NI or Student Awards Agency for Scotland).

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Maintenance Grant
- a grant is a form of financial support you may receive that you don't need to pay back. The maintenance grant is to assist with paying for your living expenses. All grants for undergraduate student support are income assessed. NB: This grant is no longer offered to students who started an undergraduate degree in 2016 or later.
Maintenance Loan - you can apply for a maintenance loan to assist you with paying for your living expenses. The loan will be paid into your bank account in three termly instalments, from the Student Loans Company, and is assessed on either your household income or, if you still live with your parents, their household income.
Masters - a higher degree than a Bachelors but not as high as a PhD
Means tested - see income assessed

Non means tested - when an award is made regardless of the recipients household income level. For example all eligible students can receive a percentage of the maintenance loan regardless of household income and a tuition fee loan.

PhD - Doctor of Philosophy; a higher degree than a Bachelors or a Masters
Postgraduate - a student who already has an undergraduate degree and is now studying for a Masters (eg MPhil) or PhD

RHI - Residual household income. This is your household's gross income minus certain allowances.

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Scholarship - a type of non-repayable financial support designed to reward outstanding academic performance or other achievement. Like a bursary, a scholarship may take financial need into account, but generally as a secondary factor.
SFE - Student Finance England; are the organisation who assess all funding applications for higher education students from England. Information relating to household income is passed from SFE to the University if you have indicated on your application form that you wish to be considered for a University Bursary.
SLC - Student Loans Company; provide financial assistance in the form of loans to students. These loans are not paid back until after the course has ended, or the student has left university, and earning over the threshold for repayments to commence.
Special Support Grant - UK undergraduate students who have an entitlement to state benefits receive a 'special support grant' rather than the maintenance grant; for example lone parents, disabled students, student couples. This type of grant enables them to receive the higher rate of maintenance loan. NB: This grant is no longer offered to students who started their undergraduate course in 2016 or later but the student may instead receive an increased amount of maintenance loan.

Student Hardship Fund -  is provided by the University to help students who are struggling financially. Awards are grants, and therefore are non repayable.
Student Loans - loans available from the UK Government to help you through your undergraduate or postgraduate studies. These loans are repayable but not normally until you have left your course and are earning over the threshold for repayments to commence.

Tuition fees - universities charge tuition fees in order to cover the costs associated with teaching students and providing support services. Fees vary depending on the year of entry, the course attended, duration of study and country of residence.
Tuition fee loan - eligible undergraduate students do not have to pay tuition fees before they start university or while they are studying. They can apply for a Tuition Fee Loan from Student Finance to cover the costs of the fee which is paid direct to the university. The loan is repaid alongside the maintenance loan - only once a student has finished, or left, the course and is earning over the threshold for repayments to commence.


Undergraduate - person studying either a Bachelors degree (BA, BSc) or an integrated 4 year Masters degree (MPharm, MEng) or a Foundation degree. 

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