Even though the stress of getting the A-Level grades required for university is over. Preparing to go to university is not without its fair share of stresses, one of which is student finance. There are aspects of student finance, that differ from person to person, and these are determined in the application process. Therefore, getting everything in order in time for the deadline is very important. But don’t worry – this article will tell you all about the student finance deadline and how to apply for it!
The deadline for student finance applications is May the 21st for new students and June the 25th for returning students. If you haven’t applied, you can still apply for student finance now. You can apply for student finance up to 9 months after the first day of your courses’ academic year.
You should try to apply as soon as possible for student finance, even if you don’t have a confirmed place at university yet. Unsure how to apply? Continue reading for an in-depth look at all the ins and outs of student finance.
When is the Student Finance Deadline?
The deadline for student finance applications for 2021/22 academic year is May the 21st for new students and June the 25th for returning students. The deadline is pretty similar each year although it may change by a few days so, it is always best to check on the government website, you can do this here.
If you haven’t applied, you can still apply for student finance now, you just might not get paid at the start of term. In fact, you can apply for student finance up to 9 months after the first day of your course’s academic year (May 21st). Although this is great news, applying late will create a cash flow problem. Therefore, you will need to ensure you have the money to pay for your university expenses until you receive your student loans.
What is Student Finance?
Student finance is a loan from the government which pays for key aspects of universities. There are two different loans you can take out – a Tuition Fee Loan, which covers your tuition costs (see this website for a more details). And a Maintenance Loan, which helps with living costs such as food.
You can take out either, both or neither of these loans, it is totally up to you! There is no shame in taking out a loan, though – according to Which? seventy one percent of students took out both of these loans.
Additionally, it is important to remember that student finance loans can vary between countries in the UK, as things like tuition fees can vary. If you are a Welsh student, tuition fees are usually higher if you want to study in a university in England, Scotland, or Northern Ireland compared to if you want to study in Wales.
To help, here are the Which? student finance guides for English students, Scottish students, Welsh students and Northern Irish students. However, this article will mainly discuss student finance in England (but I will provide links for the other parts of the UK where I can!)
Are You Eligible to Apply for Student Finance?
To apply for student finance, there are a few requirements, I have listed these below:
- You need to be studying at a recognised publicly funded university or at a private university studying a course that qualifies for public funding.
- Need to be a UK national or have the ‘settled’ status – i.e., you have been living in the UK for three years before the start of your course.
- You need to be studying a recognised, full-time course such as a BSc. Don’t worry if you’re studying a part time course though – you can still get student finance, so make sure you check out this article to find out more.
- Your course must have started on or after August the 1st, 2016.
- The final requirement is that the course you’re studying is your first Higher Education (i.e., university) course. But again, there is still funding available if this is your second course, such as if you’re doing a PhD, so check out this website for more information.
The list I have provided above merely touches on the requirements, if you want to learn more about your eligibility for student finance, please visit this website.
How Do You Apply For Student Finance?
Now that you’re an expert in all thing’s student finance, you’re probably wondering how you apply. Well, you’re in luck! Here is a brief guide to get you started.
Step 1. Create a Student Finance Account
If you’re a new student, you need to create an account for the Student Finance body in your country. If you’re a returning student, go sign into your account from previous years. You need to create an account for the part of the UK you currently live in, not the part of the UK you’re moving to for your studies.
Step 2. Check How Much You Could Be Eligible For
This isn’t necessary when you’re applying. But it would be very helpful to have a working idea of how much Maintenance you’ll get, so you can plan and budget. You may also be eligible for bursaries or other forms of financial help.
To check how much student finance you may be eligible to receive, check out this government website here.
Step 3. Update Your Student Finance Application
By now you should have a student finance account. If your circumstances happen to change then you should update your information. Because you now have an account this is quick and easy to do. So, if circumstances change, such as where you’ll be going to university, or where you’re going to live, it’s important to update them quickly.
Step 4. Ensure Your Bank Account is Ready to Receive Your Student Loans
Ensure your application contains the correct banking information. If you open a new bank account when you’re at university you need to update your bank details on your application, so your money is paid in the right place.
I recommend finding out how much you’ll be paid and on what date you’ll be paid. This will help you budget. You’ll usually get a letter confirming how much you’ll receive.
How Much Money Are You Eligible to Receive from Student Finance Loans?
Well, the amount you can get for each loan varies based on several factors. However, in my opinion, the least confusing loan to understand is the Tuition Fee Loan so let’s start with that one.
Tuition Fee Loan
Tuition fee loans cover all of your tuition fees (although you usually have to pay for items like textbooks by yourself). So, it can only vary based on the country you come from and the country you’re going to study in.
- If you’re a British student, studying in the UK, you can expect your entire tuition fee to be covered, up to £9,250 per year.
- If you’re a Northern Irish student studying in Northern Ireland and want to take out a Tuition Fee Loan, you can expect the loan to be up to £4,160 per year.
- If you’re a Northern Irish Student studying in England, Scotland, or Wales, you can expect a higher tuition fee of up to £9,250 per year.
Maintenance loans are a little trickier to understand and they have a more complex application process. This is because the loan is based on many more factors compared to the tuition fee loan, some of these factors I will discuss below.
What are the Factors That Affect Your Maintenance Loan Amount?
- Where you live while you’re studying. If you stay with your parents, you can claim a maximum of £7,987. If you live in London to study, you can claim up to £12,382. Finally, if you live away from home but outside London, you’re eligible for up to £9,448.
- Whether you’re spending time studying abroad, or if you’re studying a UK course but are spending a year of it studying abroad, you can claim up to £10,866 in student finance.
- What subject you study has an effect on the size of your loan. If you’re studying medicine or dentistry, you might be able to get a grant to cover the costs of clinical placements, such as travel expenses, you may also be eligible for NHS bursaries. If you’re a social work or teacher training student, you may also be able to get similar grants.
- How much money you, your parents/guardians or your partner currently earn also has an impact on the size of your maintenance loan. If you’re classed as a dependent student (you depend on someone – usually parents, but not always). Then your parent’s gross taxable income (what they make in a year) is assessed to see how much money you can get on your Maintenance Loan. Generally, the more money your household makes in a year, the lower your Maintenance Loan.
You can also get extra help on top of your Maintenance Loan for a variety of reasons. You can get extra help if you pay for childcare, are estranged from your parents, have a mental or physical disability, or have a learning difficulty.
If you need more information, here is an overview of student finance from the UK government website.
Ensure You Apply For Student Finance As Soon As Possible
Student finance applications can take a few weeks to be processed. Usually from 6 to 8 weeks, so to make sure you get your first payment at the start of term, apply as soon as you can.
It doesn’t matter if you haven’t had a definite offer from any university yet – when you do get an offer, you can change the application to reflect this.