No first-year wants to start the year out of pocket. It will limit the amount of socialising you can do in an important time of your university life (as well as feeding yourself and generally surviving).
Paying for university can seem daunting, luckily funding is available and you only start paying it back once you earn over £25,000.
As a quick recap, there are two types of loan that you'll probably apply for: tuition fees and maintenance loans. If you haven’t already looked at how to pay for uni from week 10 it’d be worth spending five minutes going over it as we talk about what fees and costs are associated with university, as well as the funding and loans that are available. If you're still slightly confused, Money Saving Expert has a very comprehensive article busting any myths on fees and loans. Find the article in our useful links section.
Applying for your loan
Applying for student finance is quite simple, however the process itself is rather slow it can take up to six weeks to process your applications so make sure you apply as early as possible. You don't need offers to apply for finance and you can amend or cancel your application if needed.
When can I apply for student finance?
Applications aren't open just yet. They should be opening next month. But you can follow student finance across social media, or check out their websites for the latest updates:
And if you're applying internationally, it will differ depending on your country. But we've got some useful information for international students.
How do I apply for student finance?
- Set up an account on one of the websites above. It will be slightly different depending on which website you're applying through.
- Complete the online application – This should take approximately 10 minutes and you’ll need your National Insurance number.
- Add your household income if this is relevant to you. Your parents may need to complete this. The information you provide will be used to work out if you’re eligible for extra loans.
- Send in proof of identity
- Sign and return the loan declaration, which can take up to six weeks to receive. This part is often forgotten about, which means no money for another couple of weeks at least!
What evidence will I be asked for?
I'm an EU student, what do I do?
- Download an application pack using the form finder from Student Finance England (if you're looking to study in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, you will need a different form but you can find these on the Student Finance England website)
- Send in proof of identity.
- Wait up to six weeks for a letter confirming the amount you are eligible for.
When do I apply for student finance?
Applications aren't quite open yet, make sure you check the relevant website listed above to get the latest information.
It’s important that you get your application off as soon as possible to ensure it arrives on time, which is usually 3-5 days after registering at your uni. You won't receive a penny until you've turned up and registered. Despite this, you can still apply for funding up to nine months after the first day of the academic year.
How do I update my information?
Once you've sent in your application, it's really easy to change any information. That could be anything from your personal details to your choice of university or course. All you have to do is log in to Student Finance England and make the changes online. It's important that your details are correct to ensure that you aren't under- or overpaid as this may lead to you repaying your loan earlier.
Applying for extra support
What extra support is there?
When applying for your university, they may have some bursaries and grants available to help you with your studies. It's worth checking out their websites to see what's available. If you're applying to Solent University, here are the scholarships, grants and bursaries available.
There's also more information in week 10 of 52 Things To Do: How will I pay for uni?
How do I apply for Disabled Students Allowance (DSA)?
You may also be eligible to apply for DSA if you require additional support at university. DSA is a non-repayable grant that provides funding for some academic support during your studies. Applications for DSA opens at the same time as student finance - you can find more information here.
Remember, you don't need any offers before applying for student finance, so what are you waiting for?
Tasks for this week
- Find out which loans apply to you and how much you're entitled to.
- Check the websites and social media channels for regular updates.
- Get ready to apply as soon as possible. Remember you can update your application easily.