THE deadline for new students applying for student funding is less than a week away.
The Student Loans Company has asked anyone planning to go to college this year to receive funding requests by Friday, May 22.
Students returning to university for a second, third or longer year are encouraged to apply by June 19.
It is not yet clear whether universities will reopen normally for the start of the new year.
Many UK universities have essentially closed due to the coronavirus, switching to online education only.
But government ministers have said students must pay a full tuition fee of £ 9,250 this fall – even though universities cannot open and classes are taught online.
The good news is that applying for student funding now doesn’t tie you to anything, so it’s worth doing even if you’re not sure if you’re there in September.
Here’s everything you need to know to pay off your student loans.
How can I apply?
The easiest way to apply for your student loan is online.
The government said students should submit their applications as soon as possible to ensure their finances are cleared before the start of the term.
The application takes 30 minutes to complete online and for most people the process is straightforward.
The deadline to apply is May 22 for new students and June 19 for old students.
Even if you don’t know which course you will be taking, you should still apply now.
All you have to do is enter your first choice and you can update the app later if you need to.
Be sure to use an up-to-date email address so that SLC can contact you regarding your application.
Have your National Insurance Number and passport details ready, as you will need them to apply.
To make a request, simply go to Gov.uk website.
How much will I get?
Student financing has two components: the tuition loan and the maintenance loan.
Tuition fees are set by the university, but the maximum it can charge for courses starting in 2020 is £ 9,250 per year.
The money goes directly from the loan company to your university.
You can also apply for a maintenance loan to help cover your living expenses.
The amount you receive will depend on your situation, so you will need to provide details about your household finances when you apply.
Your parents or guardians will receive an email asking them to declare their income.
If you are under 25 and have no contact with your parents, you can apply as a “foreign student”.
A full-time student living at home can get a scholarship of up to £ 7,747 for the year 2020/21.
If you live far from home, it goes up to 12,010 in London and £ 9,203 in the rest of the country.
The loan is paid directly to your bank account at the start of each term.
You have to repay both elements of the loan once you have a job and start earning more than a certain amount.
At the moment the threshold is £ 511 per week which means you need to earn over £ 26,500 per year before paying anything back.
The amount of your monthly repayments will depend on what you earn, not what you owe.
You will be charged interest on the loan from the day it is confirmed.
What happens if I miss the deadline?
Even though the Student Loans Company sets deadlines, there is no penalty if you miss them.
But if you leave it too late, you might not have payments in place for the start of the quarter, which could make paying for things like hosting difficult.
You don’t need to know which course you are taking or even which university you will be attending to apply now.
Better yet, nothing is binding at this stage and your loan will only be confirmed when you register.
If you decide to postpone or not to go, the loan will expire and you will not be charged.
You can apply no later than nine months after the start of your course.
But if you leave it so late, you won’t have the money you need for the first year.
What if household income was uncertain because of the coronavirus?
Since your maintenance loan is based on your household income, the Student Loans Company needs the financial details of your parents or partner to determine how much you will get.
The SLC says it has processes in place to ensure that you will not lose any student funding to which you are entitled if your household circumstances change, including if it is affected by the coronavirus.
During the application process, your parents or partner will be asked to provide financial details for the last tax year.
If they have lost their jobs or their income has been affected, the SLC says it can assess claims based on current year income (CYI).
This can only be done after giving all the details of the previous tax year.
There are different rules for the CYI process depending on where you live in the UK and the type of student funding you are applying for.
You can find out the specific rules that apply to you by going to the website for your region:
This is what we know when universities are likely to reopen after the summer.
Only 18% of students leaving university this summer have a job lined up because of the coronavirus.