Student Finance applications: what you need to know
Alongside any nerves about actually going to uni, filling in a student finance application can seem incredibly daunting, especially when it’s found in the scary, official-sounding depths of www.gov.uk. But it's not as hard as you think.
Once you fulfil certain criteria, everyone is eligible to receive tuition fee funding and a basic maintenance loan. If you want more, then it’s dependant on your household income. To receive the bare minimum, you must be a student from England who is in the process of applying for academic years 2018-2019. You can still apply for courses that have already started (running from 2017-2018), as long as you apply within nine months after the first day of the academic year for your course. It’s also worth noting that you don’t need a confirmed place at university to apply.
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to smash your application.
Firstly set up your online account
Head to www.gov.uk and create an account.
Fill in some questions
In order to complete the application and create your account, you’ll have to answer some online questions. This will only take about 15 minutes. You’ll be asked to fill in basic details such as your name, gender, address and date of birth. Alongside this, you'll have the option to enter your national insurance number, although you can do this at a later date. Additionally, you will also need to provide some contact details such as your email and phone number.
Include your household income if required
Part of the application may require you to submit information regarding your household income. At a later day, your parents or guardians will need to confirm these details with gov.uk. However, you only have to provide this information if you apply for a full maintenance loan, a maintenance grant, a special support grant, a childcare grant, adult dependants’ grant or a parents’ learning allowance. Once you’ve applied for one of these options, your parents or guardians will receive an email in 24 hours with a link to submit the information.
It must be noted that if you apply for the bare minimum - just a loan for the tuition fees and a basic maintenance loan - then your parents or guardians will not need to supply detailed information regarding your household income.
You will also need to state how you would like to receive your maintenance loan. This could be a payment every term or you may prefer the whole lot paid into your bank at the beginning of the year. It is advisory however to spread your loan out over the year. Don’t worry about the tuition loan; you won’t even see it as it won’t be paid into your bank account and will go straight to your university.
Send in proof of identity
If you’re applying for a student loan for the first time, then you will need to include your valid UK passport details in your application. A scanned copy of the passport works fine - don't send the actual passport! If your passport has expired, then you can send in your original birth certificate to the address provided.
Wait to receive your loan declaration through the post
Once you’ve completed your online application, you will just need to sign and return your actual loan declaration document. This should be sent to your home address within around 6 weeks of completing your application. It will simply reiterate what’s been said on your application - how much you’re receiving and when you’re receiving it. Make sure that you send this off as soon as you can - you don’t want the first instalment of your loan delayed because you returned the form too late!
Receive your money
When the new term starts, keep an eye out for your maintenance loan. Don’t panic if your friends have received theirs a few days earlier than you - the dates can vary slightly depending on your bank. However, if there’s absolutely no sign of it, then give Student Finance England a call on 0300 100 0607.
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