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An Ofqual Recognised Awarding Organisation

Student finance 2017: How to apply for last minute funding

Many Qualifi qualifications qualify for a Student Loan Company loan.

With the new academic year starting in the next couple of months, the Student Loans Company is busy getting student finances ready.

This year, over one million students across England and Wales have already applied for their finance. But if you’re not quite as organised, there’s still time to get your application in.

You can update your course or provider details later but it’s wise to get the application in as early as possible as it can take six weeks to process an application if the SLC haven’t received all the correct evidence.

Student finance is essential for most people attending university, college or alternative provider, to assist with course fees and living costs.

You apply for finance depending on where you ordinarily live and EU students should apply where they are planning to study. The Student Loans Company processes all applications for students in England and Wales.

Students in Scotland apply to the Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS) and Northern Ireland students should apply to their Education and Library Board (ELB).

Note, students need to reapply for their student finance for each year of funding.

Student finance – what’s available?

Student Loan Company recognised providers are able to charge different fees for their different courses, up to a maximum amount of £9,000 per year, which is set by the Government. Many none University providers of alternative Higher Education qualifications do not charge the maximum. Qualifi Level 4, Level 5 and Level 6 qualifications are available and are recognised for funded by the SLC. Qualifi also has available a package that includes the Qualifi Level 4 and Level 5 plus a final year top Hons degree year; at a lower cost than attending University for three years.

Tuition fee loans are available to cover the costs of provider fees and these are paid directly to the SLC recognised educational institution at which you are studying.

Maintenance loans if required are paid directly to you to help with living costs while you’re studying; such as food, accommodation and travel. For example, if you’re an English student living away from home in London you could get a maintenance loan of up to £10,702.

In Wales, a tuition fee loan can be taken out to cover the first £3,900 of tuition fees. However, if your provider charges more than this, you can apply for a Fee Grant of up to £5,100 to cover the difference.

  • You can choose to just take the Fee Grant, but will then have to cover the difference yourself.
  • Tuition fee loans and maintenance support are available to most students.
  • Part-time students can also apply for student support.

Students in England can apply for a postgraduate loan of up to £10,000 to help with costs associated with courses starting after 1 August 2017.

Over 22,000 students have applied for funding for taught or research-based master’s courses, including those studying by distance learning. Details on how to apply can be found: www.gov.uk/postgraduateloan.

Students with special circumstances

If you have dependents or if you have a disability, you may qualify for extra help on top of your main student finance package, depending on your circumstances.

What do you need to apply?

If you’re applying for finance you should have the following information to hand to ensure your application is processed as quickly as possible:

  • UK Passport number
  • Bank Account details
  • National insurance number, which can be found on your national insurance card or letter, a payslip or tax documents such as a P45 or P60
  • The provider course details – you should choose the course you’re most likely to start as it’s easy to update your details online at a later date.

There is a section for parents or partner to complete so it may also be helpful for them to have their National Insurance number to hand if you’re applying for student finance based on the household income.

Should any evidence be requested, send it straight away.

When you apply online, you should print and send the SLC your signed and dated declaration form to the address provided, to accept and agree to the Terms and Conditions of applying for student finance. You’ll get a copy of this declaration as part of your Student Finance Entitlement letter. If you’ve already printed and sent it, you don’t need to send it again. The SLC can process your application without your declaration but can’t pay you until you send it.

How much you pay back

Your repayments are linked to your income and you only make repayments when your income is over £21,000 a year. Your employer will take repayments from your salary during any pay period where your earnings before tax are over the weekly or monthly threshold.

You are charged interest from the day your first payment is made until your loan is repaid in full. Interest is added to the total amount you owe every month.

The interest rate is based on the UK Retail Price Index and will vary depending on your circumstances. Full details on the interest rates charged while studying and after you leave your course can be found at www.studentloanrepayment.co.uk

The postgraduate loans are also repayable and interest rates will be reviewed annually by adding 3% to the Retail Price Index (RPI).Repayments will start when the borrower is earning over £21,000.

Useful websites

Tips to be student finance savvy

  • Consider alternative HE courses ie the option of gaining a Hons Degree and also Masters is available as part of a learning package offered by Qualifi, a package which is substantially cheaper than a three-year full-time degree programme.
  • Apply online now and send any requested evidence straight away.
  • If you’ve applied for support based on your household income, remind your parents or partner to send their details too.
  • If you need to update your course, provider or tuition fee loan amount, do it online by logging into your online account.
  • You need to sign and return your online declaration form if you apply online. Log into your online account and follow the instructions on your ‘To-do’ list.
  • Remember, you won’t be paid your student finance until you register and attend your university course. We’ll send you details of your instalments and when you’ll be paid.
  • Double check the bank details provided to the SLC to ensure they are correct.
  • If you need help with your application, contact the SLC. You can call them:
    • students in England should call 0300 100 0607
    • students in Wales should call 0300 200 4050.

SLC dedicated customer advisors also available to answer your student finance questions regularly on our social media channels i.e. facebook.com/SFEngland and Twitter.com/sf_england and Student Finance Wales: facebook/SFWales and Twitter.com/sf_wales.