F.A.Q. in Undergraduate

Frequently Asked Questions (F.A.Qs.)

Undergraduate Loan

How much is the cost for my studies?

From September 2012, all universities/colleges will be able to charge up to £6,000 a year for higher education courses.

Some will be able to charge up to £ 9,000 a year. But if they do they will have to meet strict criteria to make sure that all students, regardless of background, can access those courses, if they meet the admissions criteria set by the university or college.

 

How can I afford to go to university?

It’s important to remember that if you are entering higher education in 2016/2017 you don’t have to pay for the cost of your tuition up front only in April next year after finishing your studies and start earning more than 21,000 per year.

 

How I receive the money for my university or college?

The money are paid directly to your institution in 3 instalments per year. The Government will provide the money up front for any eligible student in England who secures a place in higher education.

 

 

Can I receive other supports?

You can also get other financial support such as a loan for living costs which can help cover your living costs such as accommodation, food, travel and course materials. You may also qualify for an income-assessed non-repayable grant to help meet these costs.

 

When I found out how much support I can get?

Once we’ve assessed their application we’ll send them a Student Finance Entitlement letter to confirm what they can get. They can also track their application by logging into their account at www.gov.uk/studentfinance .

 

Can I pay some, or all, of my tuition fees?

Yes, but you’ll need to make your own arrangements with their university or college to pay any tuition fees. Even if you choose to pay part of the tuition fees, your child can still apply for a Tuition Fee Loan to cover the remaining costs.

Who is an EEA Migrant Worker?

Put simply, an EEA Migrant Worker is a national of a member state who has moved to another EEA member state to work.

 

Which countries are in the EEA?

The EEA consists of all the following countries:

Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and UK.

Swiss Nationals and their children have similar rights to EEA nationals.

 

 Migrant Worker process change for academic year 2016/17

Starting from AY 2016/17 migrant worker funding, for both maintenance and tuition fees, will be released on a ‘per term’ basis. This means migrant worker students will need to provide evidence of their continuous employment at the start of each term.

 

When dealing with enquiries from students assessed as migrant workers, Higher Education Providers can help students to understand how changes in their employment circumstances can impact their entitlement, and to encourage them to respond to Student Finance England or Student Finance Wales requests for evidence of ongoing employment.

 

Which students will be affected by this change?

All new and continuing, full and part time students applying in England and Wales who qualify as a migrant worker or family member of a migrant worker from academic year 2016/17 onwards are affected.

The change does not currently impact students applying for funding in Northern Ireland.

 

How will affected students be advised of this change?

The Student Loans Company (SLC) will write to all students affected to advise them what evidence will be required and when.

 

When will evidence be needed?

Evidence is required at the start of the academic year and the month prior to the start of each term. For example, September course starters would be required to supply evidence of worker status at the beginning of the academic year, then in December and March.

 

What evidence can be provided?

Students or their family members who are self-employed can provide a body of evidence that demonstrates their business activities for the month required. This can include business bank statements, invoices, receipts and expenses.

Students or their family members who are paid monthly should provide a letter from their employer at the start of the academic year. We can’t accept the previous month’s payslip at this point because we need to be satisfied the individual is still working at the start of the academic year. For terms two and three we will accept the previous month’s payslip for customers who are paid monthly.

The employer letter, for the start of the academic year, needs to be dated for that month, confirm the individual is in continuous employment and confirm their working pattern. If the letter indicates the individual has reduced their hours since the first review of their application, we may ask for payslips to determine continued eligibility.

 

Do I need to be ‘ordinarily resident’ in England on the first day of the first academic year of the course?

Yes, in order to qualify as an EEA Migrant Worker you must be living in England on the 1st September of the first academic year of the course. Additionally, you must have been ordinarily resident in the UK or the EEA and/or Switzerland for three years before the first day of the first academic year of the course. Temporary absences outside of the UK/EEA may be ignored, and you can be ordinarily resident in more than one place at the same time, but Student Finance England will require evidence of this.

So if you first started living in England after 1 September of the year you started your course, you will not be able to qualify as a Migrant Worker for your current course even if you start working.

 

What kind of work must I be doing?

You must be working in the UK, and you could be working full time or part time. You can be working for an employer or self-employed. However, Student Finance England has a benchmark of a minimum annual income of £7,500 and working for at least 24 hours a week to qualify as a Migrant Worker. These figures are not in the Student Support

Regulations so if you earn less than this amount or work fewer hours your application might still be considered. This is will depend on your circumstances. But short-term, vacation or part time student jobs are very unlikely to meet the criteria.

 

Which payments will be blocked and when?

All student finance payments, including Grants for Dependants and Disabled Students Allowances payments will be blocked following the first assessment approval and payment.

Once evidence has been accepted for the next term the block will be released and the payments scheduled. Payments for the following terms will then be blocked until evidence has been accepted for the following terms. (Grants for Dependants and Disabled Students Allowances payments will not need to go through a reassessment process).

 

What happens if a migrant worker student or family member ceases employment?

In most cases entitlement will cease from the date the employment ends, with the exception of redundancy, illness or maternity leave where the status will be retained for the entire academic year as appropriate subject to evidence. We might write to students separately asking for further evidence.

 

What happens if the migrant worker changes employment or reduces their hours/income?

Evidence will need to be provided of the new employment (contract & payslips) along with evidence of when the previous employment ended (P45) for the student or their family member. If the level of income or hours in employment has reduced, this will be reviewed to determine if it affects eligibility for student finance.

 

Are there any deadlines?

Students will not have their next instalment of funding released for maintenance or tuition fees to the Higher Education Provider until the required evidence had been accepted. If no response is received, SLC will review these students separately.

What is a tuition loan?

It’s a loan from the Government to cover the cost of your higher education tuition. It’s available to eligible students studying for their first degree. This means that you don’t have to find the money to pay for your tuition costs before or while you are studying. And you don’t have to start repaying the loan until you are earning over £21,000 a year.

 

Who can get a tuition loan?

Eligible full-time (including full-time distance learning) students in England who are starting their first undergraduate degree, or other higher education course, from September 2016 will be able to get a tuition loan under the new arrangements detailed here. Existing students continuing their courses in September 2016 will continue to be eligible for tuition loans under the previous arrangements. Tuition loans are also available to new part-time students starting their courses from September 2016.

 

What do you mean by ‘eligible’?

Whether you are eligible will depend on factors including where you live, the course you choose to study, where you study, and whether or not you already hold a higher education qualification.

 

Can I apply if I already hold a higher education qualification?

Prospective students who have previously studied a higher education course, in the UK or overseas, may find this affects their entitlement to receive financial support towards their new course, regardless of whether they obtained a qualification. Students with previous study are strongly advised to contact Student Finance on their regional funding body for guidance before enrolling on a new course.

 

How much money can I get?

Eligible full-time (including full-time distance learning) and part-time students will be able to get a loan to cover the full amount of their tuition costs.

 

How do I apply for the loan?

For more information you can contact Student Finance England or ask the agency for more information.

 

When do I need to apply?

Don’t wait until you’ve been formally offered a place – you can apply for your student finance in late 2016 or early 2017.

 

How does the money for my course get paid to the university/college?

The loan will be paid directly to your university/college. It isn’t paid to you.

 

When will the money be paid?

You will need to take in a form when you register at your university/college. This will then trigger the payment to be made to them direct.

 

Can I apply for a loan for tuition every year while I’m studying?

Yes, you can normally apply for a loan for tuition for every year of your course. There are some exceptions, for example for longer courses such as medical degrees where different packages of support are available in later years. Check with the agency if you are unsure what support is available to you.

 

When do I start repaying the loan for tuition?

If you have been studying full- time, you will start repaying the loan from April of the year after you leave university, but only if you are earning over £21,000 per year. The repayments will normally be deducted straight from your salary. See Section 5 on repayments for further detail. Repayment arrangements for part-time students are different – please see Section 12.

 

 

How do I make repayments?

If you are employed, your repayments will be taken out of your salary every month. Remember, if you aren’t earning over £21,000 a year you don’t make any repayments. If you are self-employed, separate arrangements are in place with HMRC to make your repayments.

 

What happens if I don’t finish my course?

Even if you don’t finish your course you still have to pay back any money you have borrowed, but not until you are earning over £21,000 a year.

 

Do I pay back my tuition loan separately to my loan for living costs?

No, the two loans are added together so you only have to make one repayment.

What is a loan for living costs?

It’s a loan to help you with the other costs associated with going to university, things like accommodation, food, travel and course materials.

 

How much living cost loan can I get?

The amount you can get is based on where you live and study and your household income . The maximum amounts you can get per year depends on the following categories:

 

  • Living away from home and studying in London;
  • Living away from home and studying outside London;
  • Living at home;
  • Studying abroad as part of your UK course;

 

I’m a full-time student studying by distance learning. Can I get a living cost loan?

No. New students beginning full-time distance learning courses can get a loan to cover the full amount of their tuition costs, but can’t apply for living cost loans.

 

How will I receive my living cost loan?

The money will be paid directly into your bank or building society account in three instalments – usually one at the start of each term.

 

I haven’t got a bank/building society account, so what do I need to do?

You’ll need to set up an account with a bank or building society because this is the only way the money can be paid to you.

 

Can I apply for a living cost loan every year while I’m studying?

Yes, normally you can apply for a living cost loan for every year of your course. There are some exceptions, for example for longer courses such as medical degrees where different packages of support are available in later years. Check with your university or college if you are unsure what support is available to you.

 

When do I start repaying the living cost loan?

You don’t start paying anything back until you are earning over £21,000 a year.

Section 5 for more information on repayments.

 

 How do I make repayments?

If you are employed, your repayments will be taken out of your salary every month. Remember, if you aren’t earning over £21,000 a year you don’t make any repayments. If you are self-employed, separate arrangements are in place with HMRC to make your repayments.

 

What happens if I don’t finish my course?

Even if you don’t finish your course you still have to pay back any money you have borrowed, but not until you are earning over £21,000 a year.

 

Do I pay back my living cost loan separately to my tuition loan?

No, the two loans are added together so you only make one repayment.

What non-repayable financial help is available?

Extra financial help is available only for students with disabilities and students with child or adult dependants. Starting with September 2016, maintenance grand is not available no more.

 

There will also be help available for some students under the National Scholarship

Programme – this is still under development. Ask your institution for more information.

 

If you are a full-time student with specific needs; for example if you have a disability, a specific learning difficulty or have children you may be entitled to additional financial support. Part-time students with disabilities or specific learning difficulties may also be entitled to additional support. Please see Section 13 for more information.

 

Do I have to pay back the non-repayable financial help?

No, you don’t have to pay this money back.

 

Can I apply for a non-repayable financial help every year while I’m studying?

Yes, normally you can apply for support for every year of your course. There are some exceptions, for example for longer courses such as medical degrees where different packages of support are available in later years. Check with your university or college if you are unsure what support is available to you.

  

What do you mean by ‘eligible full-time student’?

Whether you are eligible will depend on factors such as where you live, the course you choose to study, where you study, and whether or not you already hold a higher education qualification.

 

I’m a full-time student studying by distance learning. Can I get other support?

No, new students beginning full-time distance learning courses will be able to get a loan to cover the full amount of their tuition costs, but can’t apply for a living cost loan .

 

 I haven’t got a bank/building society account, so what do I need to do?

You’ll need to set up an account with a bank or building society because this is the only way the money can be paid to you.

 

What is the National Scholarship Programme?

The National Scholarship programme is a scheme that is being introduced in 2012 to help students from disadvantaged backgrounds to go to university.

Scholarships will be worth at least £3,000 and given to students in the form of tuition discounts and other benefits. Each university will design its own scholarship scheme so you’ll need to check to see what the university you’re interested in attending is offering.

When do I start repaying my loan?

You only start to repay your loan from the April after you leave your course and only if you are earning over £21,000 a year.

If you’re a full-time student you’ll be due to start repaying your loan the April after you finish or leave your course. If you’re a part-time student you’ll be due to start repaying the April four years after the start of your course or the April after you finish or leave your course, whichever comes first.

For those who finish their course earlier, the Student Loans Company will apply interest at RPI only (rather than Retail Price Index (RPI) plus 3% which is applied while you are studying) from the April after you finish your course. The interest applied to your loan balance will depend on your income.

 

How do I make repayments?

If you are employed, your employer will calculate your repayment and deduct it from your salary every month through the tax system. If you are self-employed, separate arrangements are in place with HMRC to make your repayments.

 

How much will my repayments be?                                                                                                            You repay 9% of your income above £21,000. So for example, if your salary was £25,000, the 9% would only apply to £4,000, meaning you would repay £30 per month. The following table shows some salaries and typical repayments.

How long will it take me to repay my loan?

Since the repayments you make will be based on your income, it depends on the size of your loan and how much you earn after you have finished your course. After 30 years, any unpaid balance will be written off.

 

What rate of interest will I be charged on my loan?

Interest on your loan will be applied at inflation (RPI – Retail Price Index) plus 3% while you are studying, and up until the April after you leave university. From the April after you leave university if you are earning below £21,000, interest will be applied at the rate of inflation.

 

What happens if I lose my job or take a career break?

If your salary falls below £21,000 a year your repayments stop. So if you take a career break or are unemployed your repayments will be suspended until you are earning over £21,000 again.

 

What if I decide to take a pay cut and my salary falls below the £21,000 threshold?

If your salary falls below £21,000 a year your repayments will be suspended until you are earning over £21,000 again.

 

Do I have any control over how much I pay back every month?

You don’t have control over how much you repay each month as when you are employed and earning over £21,000 a year it will come directly out of your salary.

If you are self-employed, separate arrangements are in place with HMRC to make your repayments.

 

Can I pay back my loan early?

Depending on the outcome of the Government’s forthcoming consultation, a charge may be applied to any additional payments to repay part or all of a loan early. We will make sure we communicate any changes to the people who are affected.

 

Can I make additional repayments?

Yes. You can make additional repayments by credit or debit card at any time, directly to us, by using the Make a Payment service.

For more information about other methods of repayment available, visit the Payment options section.

 

How do I repay if I am living overseas?

If you are employed overseas or are out with the UK tax system you will make student loan repayments directly to us. For more information, see the section on income based loan repayment from overseas.

 

What should I do if I think I have nearly paid off my loan?

You can login to your student loan repayment account using the login link on this page, and use the Balance Calculator to work out how much you have left to pay.

If you are within a few months of paying your loan off in full, or if you have already paid it off, you should contact student finance with details of all the repayments you have made since the date of your last statement.

I currently live in England but want to go to university in Northern Ireland or Scotland – how much will I have to pay for my course?

Details of tuition costs that will apply from 2016 for English students studying in Northern

Ireland or Scotland have not yet been announced. An announcement is expected later this year.

 

To apply for your student finance depends on where you are normally resident when you first apply:

 

England or an EU country – Student Finance England  

Northern Ireland – Student Finance Northern Ireland 

Scotland – Student Awards Agency for Scotland  

Wales – Student Finance Wales 

 

I currently live in England but want to go to university in Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales in 2016 – can I apply for financial support?

Yes, you can apply for a loan to cover the full amount of your course costs, a living cost loan and other non-repayable living cost grant’s depending on your circumstances.

I have a disability – can I get any extra financial support?

Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSAs) are available to help you if are doing a higher education course and will incur extra costs because of a disability (including a long-term health condition, mental health condition or specific learning difficulty such as dyslexia).

DSAs are paid in addition to the standard student finance package and are available if you are studying on a full-time, full-time distance learning or part-time course. They are not dependant on income and do not have to be repaid.

 

I’ve got children – will I get extra financial support?

A Childcare Grant is available for full-time higher education students who have dependent children in registered or approved childcare.

The grant pays 85% of actual childcare costs in term times and holidays up to a maximum amount per week.

If you are a parent studying on a full-time course you may also be entitled to the Parents’

Learning Allowance to help with course-related costs. The Childcare Grant and Parents’ Learning Allowance are both income-assessed and don’t have to be repaid.

 

I’ve got an adult dependant – will I get extra financial support?

If you are studying a full-time course and have a husband, wife or partner or another adult who depends on you financially you may be entitled to an Adult Dependants’ Grant. The grant is income-assessed and doesn’t have to be repaid.

 

Is there help available if I get into financial difficulties?

The Access to Learning Fund is a discretionary fund administered by universities and colleges which can provide help for students in financial difficulties who may need extra financial support to stay in higher education.

There’s no point in getting saddled with debt because there are no graduate jobs to go to

The current jobs market is a tough one. But having a degree does improve your chance of getting a job and research shows that over the long term graduates earn on average substantially more than non-graduates.

 

Will loan repayments affect my ability to get a mortgage?

The Council of Mortgage Lenders has advised that a student loan is very unlikely to impact materially on an individual’s ability to get a mortgage. The amount of mortgage available may depend on net income.

 

Will loan repayments affect my ability to take out a loan?

This will be a decision for the loan provider, but student loan information won’t be shared with credit reference agencies by Student Finance England.

 

We’re paying more, but we’re getting nothing in return

The reforms to higher education will make the experience of going to university better as it puts power in your hands. The changes also aim to widen participation and make repayments more manageable by raising the earnings threshold at borrowers begin to repay their loans. In future, student choices will shape higher education. So, it will be in every university’s interest to persuade potential students that its teaching arrangements, facilities and undergraduate support are worth the investment.

Universities will have to provide students with more information about things like contact time and the jobs that their graduates go on to.

 

I’m worried that the course I want is going to be axed because only the most popular courses will survive

Students will ultimately decide which courses are offered because universities will need to respond to demand – where there are courses that attract students they will run. There is already a very diverse choice of courses and there is no reason why these will not continue. Some courses are of strategic importance to the country and the Government will put in place measures to protect those.

 

What’s happening if my income drops?

Maintenance Loan is based on your household income for the 2014-15 tax year. If your income in tax year 2016-17 is likely to be at least 15% lower than in tax year 2014-15, we can assess your household income on what you estimate your income will be.

 

Where can I go to find out how much courses will cost?

You should contact the institution where you want to apply for further information.

 

If I move abroad what’s happening with my loan?

You’ll pay 9% of any income over the repayment threshold for the country you’re living in. Because of differences in living costs, the repayment threshold in another country is different from the UK threshold.