Help from StepEx

Who are StepEx?

StepEx is on a mission to increase access to education for as many people as possible by removing financial barriers. We enable education providers to make available alternative funding options, such as Payment Plans and Future Earnings Agreements, to their students. Our funding options allow education providers to be more inclusive for those who are unable to pay for tuition upfront.


StepEx was founded in 2017 and since then we have helped over 2,000 students fulfil their academic goals. We are fully regulated by the FCA, and work with over 60 world-class education providers.

So is StepEx a bank?

Not quite. Banks allow people to deposit and borrow money, which StepEx doesn’t. Although StepEx is fully regulated by the financial authorities to lend money just as a bank is. Through StepEx, you fund your course by committing to paying your tuition using your future income or split into monthly instalments. The amount StepEx pays your course provider varies based on the amount that is repaid by their students, in this way, your education provider has a vested interest in your success.

Can I apply before I have a confirmed offer from a University or Bootcamp?

Yes, but before any funding is confirmed we will need you to provide documentation from the course provider that you have been officially accepted on their course.

I’m an international student, can I apply?
StepEx can assess applicants who have the legal right to reside in the UK and EU.
How much can I borrow?

You can borrow up to the total fees of the course that you are applying for.

What happens if I don’t earn what you forecast?

You won’t be required to make any repayments whilst your annual income is less than the minimum income threshold specified in your Future Earnings Agreement - typically between £21,000 and £30,000.

However, because the term of a StepEx loan is linked to the number of repayments you make rather than a fixed period of time (unlike a typical unsecured personal loan which is likely to have a fixed term e.g. 5 years) the term of your loan may be longer as a result of any periods during which you do not make repayments.

Will the amount I am responsible to repay increase because of interest accruing before I can begin making payments?

One of the significant differences between our funding agreements and a traditional loan is that borrowers are not accruing interest on the total amount funded. If you are on a Payment Plan, the amount you are required to repay will stay the same. If you are on an FEA, your repayment amount will grow proportionally with your earnings over the life of the contract, but the income share percentage will not change.

What if I take time off to travel or start a family while in a FEA?

If you voluntarily leave employment and your earnings are less than the minimum income threshold defined in your FEA then your FEA will be paused and not be in payment status. Your FEA payment term will be extended by the amount of time that you take off.

What is Open Banking and why does StepEx need access?

Open Banking is a very common standard in the UK and EU which grants a financial institution access to information such as transactions and payment history. StepEx needs to be able to verify that you would be able to make repayments in the future and this is done by calculating your incoming and outgoing payments. This is a key requirement for us to be a responsible lender.

Does StepEx perform a credit check as part of the application?

Yes, StepEx will perform a credit check as part of your application.

I have a problem with my application, who should I contact?

Please reach out to with any relevant information.

What is a Payment Plan?

A Payment Plan is a way of deferring some or all of your education tuition. It enables you to start an education programme even if you don’t have all the money to pay upfront. Instead, you split the cost of the course into monthly repayments to be made at a later date without any added interest.

Are Payment Plans like a bank loan?
Not quite. The main difference is that Payment Plans with StepEx are typically interest-free. This means that you will know before you sign your contract exactly how much you’ll need to pay back and when, with no extra surprises later down the line.
Who is eligible for financing from StepEx?

To be eligible you must meet the requirements on our Apply Now page and any quote from us will be subject to our assessment of your circumstances.

How do I sign up for a StepEx agreement?
You will first need to decide on the education programme that you’d like to complete. As part of your application process, you should tell them that you intend to use StepEx to fund your programme. At that point, you will be able to apply for StepEx funding. Once you’ve been confirmed by StepEx you will be able to complete your enrolment with your chosen education provider.
If I already have a loan can I still apply for an FEA?
Yes you can. Any existing financial obligations you currently have will be included in our overall assessment. Our primary consideration is if you can afford our loan repayments within what we forecast your future earnings potential to be after your qualification.
Do I have to pay anything upfront?

This depends. Some education providers may require you to make a course reservation fee  payment to secure your place on the programme. You may also need to pay an application fee to StepEx.

What happens if I leave my course early?
This depends on when you leave your course. In most cases, you will still be required to make repayments according to the terms of your education provider.
For how long will I have to make monthly repayments?

This also depends on the education provider and your chosen course of study. Typically it will consist of 24, 36, or 48 repayments.

When do I have to start repaying?

This depends. Typically it will either be: one month after you sign your contract; the month you start your course; or the month after you finish your course. Check the landing page for the education programme you wish to pursue on the StepEx site for specific details of the offer.

All FEAs and some Payment Plans also have a minimum income threshold: you only start repaying after your income meets a certain amount.

Can I repay my FEA or Payment Plan early?

Your StepEx loan may be repaid at any point by paying the maximum payment cap that will be stated in your contract. For Payment Plans, this will be your total original loan amount. For FEAs, this can be higher. 

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