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Part-Time Tuition Fee Loans in England

One way of financing your Open University studies is by taking out a Part-Time Tuition Fee Loan (also known as a student loan) with Student Finance England.

It's by far the most popular way of financing Open University studies. Currently, over 80% of our new students in England are paying their fees this way.

What is a Tuition Fee Loan?

  • A tuition fee loan will cover the entirety of your module tuition fees.
  • You’ll apply for a loan to fund your modules as you study them, which means you won’t have to finance your whole qualification up front.
  • They are not means-tested, so you’ll be eligible to apply regardless of your income.
  • You can apply whether you have a job or not.
  • There’s no upper age limit.
  • You’ll apply for your loan from Student Finance England, who will pay your fees directly to us.

How do the repayments work?

  • Repayments are linked to your income, not how much you borrow.
  • You only start repaying your loan when your salary exceeds the income threshold, currently £25,000.
  • You’ll repay 9% of what you earn over £25,000 – so, if you earn £27,000, you’ll repay only £180 that year (9% of £2,000). That's just £15.00 per month.
  • Your repayments are deducted automatically by your employer through the UK tax system.


The following table gives example repayment amounts (for illustrative purposes only):

Income each year before tax Monthly repayment
Up to £25,000 £0
£27,000 £15.00
£30,000 £37.50

Nothing to pay for up to four years

Even if you’re earning over the income threshold, you won’t have to start repaying your loan for up to four years.


Here’s how it works for our most popular qualifications:

Qualification Years to complete When your loan repayments start
Degree with honours 6 years part-time study
3 years full-time study
4 years after course start
1 year after you finish the course
Diploma of Higher Education 4 years part-time study
2 years full-time study
4 years after course start
1 year after you finish the course
Certificate of Higher Education 2 years part-time study
1 year full-time study
1 year after you finish the course
1 year after you finish the course

Please note: if you finish your course or leave it early, you’ll start repaying your loan the first April after you leave the course.

What about interest?

The interest rate will be based on the RPI (Retail Price Index).

However, as the amount you pay back is based on how much you earn and not how much you owe, the amount of interest added to your loan won’t ever affect the amount you pay each month.

If you haven’t finished repaying your loan after 40 years, it will be written off, and your monthly payments will stop.

I already have a degree; am I eligible?

If you’re looking to re-skill in subjects such as science, computing or mathematics, you may be eligible for a loan to study for a further honours degree.

To see a list of eligible qualifications, visit our Loans for degree holders in England page.

How to apply

First, register with us for the qualification you'd like to study. Next, choose your modules and tell us you'll be applying for a loan. Then, apply for a Part-Time Tuition Fee Loan starting in the 2023/24 academic year online via Student Finance England. You’ll apply for a Part-Time Tuition Fee Loan even if you plan to study at a full-time equivalent rate of 120 credits per year.

You'll have to set up a Student Finance online account, but this is quick and easy to do. The application process should take about 15 minutes, and you'll need to give details about your proof of residency and identity. It'll help to have your passport details and National Insurance number to hand.

It can take Student Finance England up to eight weeks to finalise applications, so apply as early as possible to ensure your finances are in place in time to start your course.

Learn more with our step-by-step guide to applying for a Tuition Fee Loan.