Consultation on Part-time and Postgraduate Student Finance

Closed 11 Sep 2015

Opened 9 Jun 2015

Feedback Updated 15 Nov 2018

We Asked

From June to September 2015 we asked for your views on the introduction of new student support packages for part-time undergraduate students.

You Said

Your responses indicated a great deal of support for the introduction of new tuition fee loans for part-time and postgraduate students. A summary of your responses is available on the following link:

We Did

In response, we are working towards making new tuition fee loans available for part-time and postgraduate students from the 2017/18 academic year onwards. You can read about the new loans in more detail on the following link:


Student finance is a crucial enabler of higher level study, helping to ensure that access to higher education is based on the ability to learn, not the ability to pay. But the existing student finance system for students from Northern Ireland is heavily weighted towards traditional full-time undergraduate students.

Students wishing to study on a more flexible basis have comparatively little access to support, and those studying at postgraduate levels typically cannot access any standard student finance package beyond the Disabled Students Allowance.

Looking ahead, the Northern Ireland economy will be increasingly dependent on higher level skills, and the current level of supply simply will not meet demand. This consultation considers ways in which we can, through the student finance system, encourage and enable more students to access higher education, both on a part-time basis and at the postgraduate levels. It seeks views and supporting evidence on a range of policy options, all of which have been designed in the context of restricted public resources.

What Happens Next

The results of this consultation will help to inform final policy decisions about the future of the student support packages for both part-time and postgraduate students. A summary of responses will be published within 12 weeks of the closing date of the consultation and final policy decisions will be announced in due course.

Should this consultation lead to significant changes to existing student finance arrangements, there will be significant lead-in times involved. The Department will endeavour to implement any changes as soon as is practicable.


  • Parents
  • Higher education students
  • Prospective higher education students
  • School students
  • Academic staff
  • Research staff
  • Non-academic staff


  • Higher Education
  • Part-time Study
  • Postgraduate Study
  • Part-time Student Finance
  • Postgraduate Student Finance
  • Student Loans