Student Loans explained
When you apply to university, you may think that all of the stress of applications is over; think again! Now that your courses are chosen, dreaded exams are finally over, there is the lovely (we wish) process of Student Finance!
What is Student Finance?
Student Finance is run by the government and offers students financial aid during their time studying for a degree. They are separate from your university and UCAS so if you need to contact them about anything, or have enquiries you will have to contact Student Finance direct.
What can you get?
There are Tuition Fee loans, Maintenance Grants, Maintenance Loans, Special Support Grants and Disabled Student Allowance.
Childcare Grants, Parents’ Learning Allowance, Adult Dependants’ Grant, Access to Learning Fund, Child Tax Credit, Income Support, National Scholarship Programme, and international students can apply for grants for help with travel.
This is one of the main and most popular loans that students are eligible for. This covers rent and accommodation and living expenses. It is a lump sum to help with day-to-day and general living costs. Loans are not free money and you have to pay them back!
This is an extra bit of money to help you get buy whilst studying and this doesn’t have to be paid back. Grants are susceptible on an income basis, Student Finance will evaluate your application and let you know if you are entitled to the extra help.
Student Finance can pay for your tuition fees, and this is mainly for full-time study. Now, degrees can cost up to £9,000 just to attend the course alone. Student Finance will pay the university for you, and then you pay the loan back when you earn enough money.
It is best to apply as soon as you have decided to attend university. You need to register for a student finance online account to go through all of the steps. You are able to find the forms and fill them out and then send them if the online option isn’t available to you. You may need to provide details of your household income, and get other adults to support your application.
What do I need?
When you register you provide your UK passport details on your application, and Student Finance will tell you if you need to send photocopies of your passport, and if you don’t have one then your birth or adoption certificate. Never send your actual documents! Incase of losses or damages incurred on the way! You may need to provide your parents or your own P60s which is how much you earn each year. EU students will need to send their EU passport or identity card the first time they apply.
What do I need to send proof for?
You need to send you, your parents or your partner’s household income details if you are applying for a full Maintenance Lawn, Maintenance Grant, Special Support Grant, Childcare Grant or Adult Dependants’ Grant. This is so Student Finance can evaluate your personal situation and tell you much you are entitled to receive.
When will I get a response?
This is usually around 6 weeks after you have applied, there will be a declaration form you will need to sign and send back which is a contract that you are agreeing to. This contract means you accept what Student Finance offers you, and understand the Terms and Conditions of what you need to pay back and how and when.
What if they quote me wrong?
If they quote you wrong, or you think you are entitled to more help call up their advice centre and they will be able to let you know which forms you may need to fill in, or what to do next.
What if I don’t know what course I am on?
You can apply before having any courses or universities confirmed. Applying early as possible will help to iron out any of the kinks before your course starts. In Springtime when you receive offers and have to respond to your university offers, you can attach the exact course and university to your application. Once this is done, your loans are in a better position to get to you as term starts.
What if I go through Clearing or Adjustment?
You can easily change your course or university details if they change. You can go to your account and change the details to let Student Finance know. You should do this as soon as you have any new information to make sure you get the correct amount at the right time.
When will I get my loans?
Student Finance is paid in three instalments, which are at the start of each term, usually within a few days of your first lecture. This means you will have to budget as it will be at least three months before you next lump sum and you need to make sure you have enough money to survive that time!
The Student Finance and loan process can be very confusing, and there can be lots of different types of forms to fill in. If you are feeling overwhelmed or unsure, ask a friend or member of your family to help, someone who has been through it before, or even ring up and speak to an advisor.