Equivalent or Lower Qualification (ELQ) policy
If you already have a higher education qualification and are starting a new undergraduate course, you may not be eligible for funding for your tuition fees or living costs.
The Office for Students will not provide funding for students taking a second qualification, apart from the exemptions which are listed below.
Funding for courses will not be available to the following categories of students.
The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) no longer provides funding to Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) to teach students who are studying for a qualification that is equivalent to, or lower than, a qualification which they have already achieved.
HEFCE funding for courses will not be available to the following category of students:
- Those classified as either Home, EU or Islands* for tuition fee purposes wishing to undertake an undergraduate or postgraduate (taught) programme of study which leads to the award at an equivalent or lower level than a qualification already held.
- To determine if you will pay tuition fees at the ELQ rate, please compare the highest qualification you currently hold against the qualification you wish to study for, noting that:
- if you have studied for, but neither completed nor gained the award for which you were registered, then such study is not relevant for the purposes of ELQ classification.
- the exceptions described below.
If you fall into any of the following categories, ELQ classification does not apply:
- You are classified as 'Overseas' (non-EU) for tuition fee purposes
- The qualification for which you wish to study is a Foundation degree
- You are on a course of initial, or in-service, teacher training (in any mode or at any level) including study for a Postgraduate Certificate of Education (PGCE)
- You are on an undergraduate course for which an NHS bursary is payable
- You are in receipt of the Disabled Student's Allowance (DSA)
- You are registered at an institution in Northern Ireland which receives funding from the Department for Employment and Learning (DEL)
- You wish to undertake a postgraduate (research) programme of study only
- You are on a full-time undergraduate course which leads on successful completion, to registration with the Architects Registration Board (ARB)
- You are on an undergraduate course (in part- or full-time mode of study) which leads to a professional qualification that has been validated by the National Youth Agency (NYA) or the Youth Council for Northern Ireland, or which serves the purpose of improving the effectiveness of professionally qualified youth and community workers.
- You are studying for the Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (BMBCH)
- Hold a MA from Oxford or Cambridge and are applying for a postgraduate award at level 7 or above.
- You are on an undergraduate course (in part- or full-time mode of study) which leads to a first, registerable qualification or which serves the purpose of improving the effectiveness of professionally qualified individuals within:
- Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC)
- Care Council for Wales (CCW)
- Northern Ireland Social Care Council (NISCC)
- Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS).
Tuition fees for ELQ students
Students deemed to fall into the category of intending to study for an award equivalent to, or lower than, a qualification which they already hold, and do not fall into any of the exceptional categories above, will be required to pay the full cost of their tuition at a rate determined by the university. An ELQ examples page with illustrative case studies is available.
If you have any queries regarding your fee status, please contact [email protected] outlining your current qualifications, the programme you wish to study and any other information you feel is relevant to your case.
*Island rates. These are only payable by students from the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.