Time is running out for anyone who wants to become a full-time undergraduate this fall to get their student finances in order in good time. More than 1.5 million people are expected to enter higher education in the UK later this year – whether at university or college.
New students, however, only have until tomorrow (Friday, May 20) to meet a deadline to apply for funding through the Student Loans Company (SLC). Although the SLC reassures students that late applications will still be processed, it warns that these student loans may not arrive in time for the start of the new term.
Applications can be made online using the Student Loans website, with potential applicants encouraged to apply, even if they have not yet secured a confirmed place on a course. The situation is not as urgent for students returning to reapply for student loans, as the deadline for such applications is June 24.
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Chris Larmer, SLC’s executive director of operations, said he tried to make the application process as easy as possible. “Our student funding application service launched at the end of February and before I know it, we are in May, and I am already talking about the deadline approaching this Friday (May 20) for undergraduate students to full time in England,” he said.
“We have focused on providing a seamless application journey for students. We recognize that preparing to go to university or college can feel a bit overwhelming at first, so we want the application process to be as simple as possible.”
He added: “The bottom line is that students should start the new academic year with their funding in place – that is our overall goal. The good news is that students can apply online and can do so even if they do not have a confirmed place at the University.
“The process doesn’t take too long and once it’s complete, students can relax knowing there’s one less thing to do before embarking on that next chapter.” Mr Larmer said it was important to apply as early as possible because, while many applications are approved “without a hitch”, some are more complicated and may require additional information.
“Some applications may be more complicated to process and require additional information,” he said, adding, “But our goal is to ensure a good customer experience, so the improvements we’ve made to our digital services are so important.”
Mr Larmer added: “The online account gives the student the freedom to self-serve when possible – update personal information and check application status at a time that suits him.
“Once submitted, applications can take up to six to eight weeks to process, but if we need anything or want to clarify their information, we will contact you directly with a to-do list message. from the account, by SMS or by e-mail.”
Information and other resources are also available online to answer some of the common financial questions prospective students may have. “We strongly recommend applicants check this before calling us, as our phone lines are always extremely busy at this time of year, and we would prefer not to keep people waiting,” Mr. Larmer said.
He added that students can also keep up to date with the latest information on student finances through SLC’s social media channels on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. “Of course, applications remain open throughout the summer, but we cannot guarantee that full funding will be received before the start of the academic term,” Larmer added.
“So my advice to all students starting or continuing their college or university education this year is to apply now. We look forward to receiving your application.” To apply for a student loan for September, or to learn more about the process and the information and documents required, visit the student loan application website by clicking here.