Thinking of going to university next year?

It’s now time to apply for your course online through UCAS and to start thinking about your student finance.
 
Nichola Malton, Assessment Manager at Student Finance England, is here to help with her top five tips for applying for student finance for 2013/14. Make sure you’re student finance savvy before you start!
  1. Student finance – what’s available
 
Students apply to Student Finance England for tuition fee loans, which are available to cover the cost of university fees, set by the university. Maintenance loans are available for living costs.
 
Tuition fee and maintenance loans are available to most students (although not to those who hold an equivalent level qualification than the one you intend to study).
 
Maintenance grants which don’t have to be repaid, may be available, and there is also extra support for those with children and dependants.
 
You can apply for Disabled Students' Allowances if you have a disability, long-term illness, mental health condition or specific learning difficulties such as dyslexia. Find out more at gov.uk/studentfinance.
 
You may also be eligible for bursaries or grants from your college or university.
 
 
  1. Applying for student finance
 
If you’re thinking of going to university next year or are continuing on your course, you should apply online as soon as applications open in early 2013 on www.gov.uk/studentfinance. You don’t need a confirmed university place to apply for finance.
 
Follow Student Finance England at facebook.com/SFEngland and twitter.com/sf_england to keep up to date with application announcements.
 
  1. Application Checklist
 
When you’re applying for finance for the first time you will need the following info to hand:

- Your passport number 
- Your university or college course details (choose the course you’re most likely to start, it’s easy to update this later) 
- Your bank details
- Your national insurance number

You may also need your Parents’ or Partner’s National Insurance number, if you’re applying for student finance based on your household income.

 
Please send any evidence we request straight away!
 
  1. When to expect your finances
If you’ve applied before the deadline with all the correct evidence and returned your signed declaration form to us, you’ll be paid a few days after you’ve registered at university.
 
We pay maintenance loans and grants into your bank accounts in three instalments, one at the start of each term. We pay your tuition fee loan direct to your university or college.
 
 
  1. Repaying your loans
You only make repayments once you’ve left university or college and are earning over the threshold of £21,000 per year. The amount you repay depends on your income, not what you borrowed. For more information on repayment visit: www.studentloanrepayment.co.uk

Got a question about your student finance application? Student Finance England’s helpline is open   seven days a week, from 8am-8pm every weekday and 9am-5.30pm at weekends.  We also answer queries on Facebook and Twitter:
Follow Student Finance England at facebook.com/SFEngland and twitter.com/sf_england for further 2013/14 information and announcements.
 
Starting university this year?
If you’ve already started university or are planning to start this year, you can still apply for student finance. We accept applications up to nine months after your course start date. You should apply online as early as possible.
 
Here’s our Payment Checklist for current students:

- You've submitted your application and all the correct supporting evidence (deadline dates were in May & June)
- You've signed and returned your declaration form
- You've registered at university/college
- Your university/college has confirmed your attendance to us
- You’ve allowed a few working days for the funds to be paid into your bank account

What does your 'Application Payment Status' mean?

Blocked – new students' loan payments are "blocked" while Student Finance England confirm your National Insurance number (NINO) with the Department for Work and Pensions. The block is automatically removed as soon as your NINO is confirmed.
Payments may also be blocked if you have not supplied Student Finance England with your bank details or we're checking the bank details you've provided. If you have not provided bank details, do this online now and make sure payments are not unnecessarily delayed.

Approved – Student Finance England have assessed your application for finance and once your university has confirmed your attendance your funds will be released. Not all universities send confirmation of attendance the day you register, could be a few days later. Keep an eye on your online account and call us if your payment status doesn't change to submitted a few days after registration.

Submitted – the payment has been prepared and will normally be paid within three or four working days.

Paid – the payment has successfully been paid