You can apply for a Student Loan for the number of years in your program of study, plus one additional year. For example, if you enroll in a four-year university program, you can apply for loans for five years to complete that program. If you don't apply for student loans until your third year of a four-year program, you can apply for the number of remaining years plus one year (3 years - the remaining 2 years plus one). We start to count the number of years required to complete your program based on the year you are in when you apply for student loans for the first time. From the time you first apply, each year of study counts whether you continue to apply for loans or not.
If you start another program without having completed the first program, you will be eligible for only the number of years normally required to complete the new program. You will not be eligible for the additional year.
If you switch for a second time, you will only be eligible for the number of years that it takes to complete the new program minus the amount of years that you have already received funding.
For example . . .
John began a 3-year B.A. program in September 2009, so he can take four years to complete the program and still be eligible for Student Loans.
However, in September 2011, after two years of study, he decides to change to a 2-year program at a community college. John will be eligible for a loan for the two years required to complete this program but not for 3 years. He is not eligible for the additional year, because he did not complete the first program. If he goes on to do another program after he completes this one, he will be eligible for the number of years required to complete the program, plus one additional year.
The amount of money you can borrow is based on the number of weeks you spend in school each year. For example, in most university programs you spend 34 weeks of the year in classes. As of 1995/96, your borrowing limit is 340 weeks. If you have applied for Student Loans before 1995/96, your limit is 520 weeks.