Thinking of going to university this year? Applications for student finance in England are now open and aspiring students should apply as soon as possible to ensure their finances are organized for the 2015/16 academic year.
There is a range of finance available to help with university costs, including tuition fee loans and maintenance loans and grants, to help with your living costs while you’re studying.
Universities and colleges can charge up to £9,000 a year in fees depending on the course. Tuition fee loans are available to cover the cost of the fees.
These are repayable only after you leave university or college and are earning above a certain amount - at the moment it is £21,000 before tax.
There is also funding available to help you with living costs, such as rent and bills. Depending on your circumstances you may also be eligible to receive a maintenance grant and extra support is available for those with children and dependents.
How do I apply?
The Student Loans Company processes all applications for students in England and Wales and you can apply online here. Applications for students in Wales will be available soon and students should apply here.
Help and guidance is displayed throughout the online application process.
Students in Scotland apply to the Student Awards Agency for Scotland and Northern Ireland students should apply to the Education and Library Board.
What information do I need when I apply?
Make sure you have all the necessary information to hand when applying for finance – passport details (password number and validity start and end dates), your course details, bank account number and sort code numbers and national insurance number.
If you’re applying for finance based on household income, your parent or partner will be asked to provide financial information. They should provide exact figures and details from their 2013/14 P60 as the latest complete tax year data is required.
How will my funding be paid?
Once your application has been assessed by the Student Loans Company you will receive an entitlement letter which details how much funding you have been awarded and you can check your online account for payment dates.
You can keep up to date on your application, by checking for updates about your student finance in your online account by logging on here for students in England and students in Wales here.
When accessing your account online you can also update your contact details and bank details.
It is important that you ensure that your bank details are entered correctly and if they need to be updated, this should be at least five working days before payments are made, otherwise you may not receive your funds to the correct account.
When do I repay my loans?
While you don’t have to pay back grants and bursaries, you must pay back Tuition Fee Loans and Maintenance Loans and they attract interest.
Repayments are due once you have left university or college. The amount that is paid is dependent on how much you earn, currently you have to earn £21,000 or more before tax.
The repayment of student loans is administered through the UK tax system and currently each month 9 per cent of earnings over £21,000 is taken at source through the PAYE system.
HMRC liaises with employers or the account holder (if you are self-employed) and SLC maintains your account and sends you updates, but you can check online yourself, as your account remains open while your loan is outstanding.
Top tips for new students:
You do not need a confirmed place to be able to apply for student finance – you can use your preferred choice of course and update it later.
Send any evidence requested as soon as possible to ensure you don’t hold up your application
Remember to sign and return your online declaration form – it’s faster to print off your online declaration form from your own account
Keep a note of the email address you use when applying for student finance and make sure you choose a password that you’ll remember. The most common calls to the Student Loans Company are from students who have forgotten their password.
If you’re applying for funding based on household income, you and your sponsor (normally parent or partner) must provide the correct financial and personal information. Your funding can be removed if you are found to have provided incorrect details.
From the end of February, SLC will start contacting continuing students across England to progress their funding applications for this year.
English students: gov.uk/studentfinance
Scottish students: saas.gov.uk
Welsh students: studentfinancewales.co.uk
Northern Ireland students: studentfinanceni.co.uk
Sunday, February 22, 2015
7:57 AM No comments
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