Student Finance: loans, grants and bursaries - A guide for home and EU undergraduates

 
Finance   Personal   Immigration   UK   EU   International   Undergraduate   Postgraduate

Student Finance:
loans, grants and bursaries
A guide for home and EU undergraduates
Advice and Counselling Service                                 www.welfare.qmul.ac.uk
About the Advice and                                       How to contact a Welfare Adviser
Counselling Service
                                                           You can see a Welfare Adviser in person during
The Advice and Counselling Service offers a free           one of our drop-in sessions (during term time only),
and confidential service to all Queen Mary students,       or at a pre-booked appointment, or you can email
including those from Barts and The London,                 questions via our website. If you need to speak
Queen Mary’s School of Medicine and Dentistry.             to a Welfare Adviser but you are unable to come
                                                           to the College, we can normally offer a telephone
You can view our confidentiality policy on our             appointment. Appointments are one to one and
website: www.welfare.qmul.ac.uk/procedures                 confidential.

                                                           We also offer small group advice sessions on
                                                           extending your immigration permission for further
Our Welfare Advisers                                       study, or after you complete your course.

In this guide we sometimes advise you to contact           For more information on how to contact us to book
a Welfare Adviser for further guidance. Welfare            an appointment or a place on a group advice session,
Advisers in the Advice and Counselling Service             our opening hours, and the times of our drop in
have specialist training to offer you professional         sessions, visit www.welfare.qmul.ac.uk/contact
advice on a range of financial, practical and legal
issues. This includes:                                     Also see our A–Z directory of support services
                                                           for information on how to contact other support
• financial support (loans, grants, bursaries, etc)        departments at QM, and external organisations
• tuition fee status                                       which can also offer you support.
• planning and managing a budget
• cutting costs
• hardship funds                                           Disclaimer
• dealing with debt                                        Law, regulations and policies can change quickly
• immigration law                                          so make sure that you are using the most up-to-date
• international student issues                             version of this guidance. Check the Advice and
• financial support for student parents                    Counselling Service website for regular updates.
  (childcare costs, etc)
                                                           The information in this guide is given in good
• postgraduate funding                                     faith and has been carefully checked. Queen Mary,
• welfare benefits, including disability benefits          however, accepts no legal responsibility for its
• housing rights and council tax                           accuracy.

The Welfare Advisers role is to offer you advice
about your individual situation, explaining your rights,   Regulation of Immigration Advice
and any options and solutions available to you.
You can then choose what you want to do. If your           The OISC (Office of the Immigration Services
situation is complex, a Welfare Adviser can advocate       Commissioner) is an independent organisation
on your behalf where appropriate, for example,             that monitors immigration advice and services.
appealing against an incorrect assessment of
Student Finance or a welfare benefit.                      Welfare Advisers at Queen Mary are regulated
                                                           under OISC guidelines to give immigration advice.
You can get advice at any time during your course,         We have to attend regular training to do this. If you
as well as before you start at Queen Mary.                 ever need to complain about the immigration advice
                                                           you receive, the Advice and Counselling Service has
                                                           a complaints procedure. You can find this on our
                                                           website at www.welfare.qmul.ac.uk/procedures

                                                           Alternatively, you can complain directly to the
                                                           OISC. Their complaints form is on the website at
                                                           www.oisc.gov.uk
Advice and Counselling Service                                                             www.welfare.qmul.ac.uk

Contents

About this Advice Guide .................................................................................. 4

When and how to apply for Student Finance ................................................ 5

The Student Finance income assessment .................................................... 10

What happens after I apply for Student Finance? ....................................... 14

Tuition Fee Loan ............................................................................................. 17

Maintenance Loan ........................................................................................... 19

Loan repayments ............................................................................................ 22

What if I don’t want to take out loans? ........................................................ 24

Maintenance Grant ......................................................................................... 25

Supplementary Grants ................................................................................... 28

Funding for study or work abroad ................................................................ 31

Funding for sandwich courses ........................................................................ 36

Money from QMUL ........................................................................................ 38

Eligibility rules for Government Student Finance ....................................... 41

Appendix .......................................................................................................... 49

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www.welfare.qmul.ac.uk                                                       Advice and Counselling Service

About this Advice Guide

Who is this Advice Guide for?
It is for full time Home (England domiciled) and European students who are either:

• starting an undergraduate course in 2014, or
• continuing an undergraduate course in 2014/15 which you started between September 2009 and
    September 2013

If you are studying on a programme in the School of Medicine and Dentistry, you should instead read the
Advice and Counselling Service Advice Guide, ‘Funding for Medical and Dental students’.

If you started your course between 2006 and 2008, the information in this Advice Guide is broadly
applicable to you, however the Student Finance amounts may be different, as well as the financial
assessment income thresholds. If you started your course between 2006 and 2008 and you have further
questions, please contact a Welfare Adviser in the Advice and Counselling Service.

Where can I get more help?
This Advice Guide describes Student Finance that is provided by the UK government. However, many
students find that this does not provide enough money to cover all of their costs. Please read the Advice
and Counselling Service’s Advice Guide, ‘Additional Sources of Funding’ for information on possible ways of
topping up your Student Finance, to meet your costs:

http://www.welfare.qmul.ac.uk/documents/leaflets/funding/10584.pdf

You can also read the Advice Guide, ‘Managing your budget and cutting costs’, to help you plan your
finances:

http://www.welfare.qmul.ac.uk/documents/leaflets/budgeting/5065.pdf

Once you have read the relevant Advice Guides, if you have further questions and would like advice about
your individual situation, please contact a Welfare Adviser in the Advice and Counselling Service. You can
do this at any time during your programme of study, as well as before you start at QMUL.

EU+
Shaded EU+ boxes like this have important extra information for European Union students only. UK
students can ignore the EU+ boxes

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Advice and Counselling Service                                                        www.welfare.qmul.ac.uk

When and how to apply for
Student Finance

You can find details about personal eligibility, residence requirements and the effect of any previous study
on your funding, in the Eligibility section at the end of this Advice Guide.

If you normally live in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, your package of government Student Finance
will be different. You need to contact the funding authority in your home country:

Scotland: www.saas.gov.uk

Wales: www.studentfinancewales.co.uk

Northern Ireland: www.education-support.org.uk

What is Student Finance?
Student Finance is the system of financial support for undergraduate students, provided by the UK
government, through an organisation called Student Finance England (SFE). If you normally live in England,
the four main elements of Student Finance for full-time undergraduate students are:

• Tuition Fee Loan
• Maintenance Loan
• Maintenance Grant or Special Support Grant
• Supplementary Grants

Each element is explained in more detail later in this Advice Guide.

When do I apply?
To try and ensure that you are paid the first instalment of your Student Finance at the start of the academic
year, you should apply (and provide any additional documentation or information required by SFE) by:

• 30th May 2014 if you will be starting a new course in September 2014
• 28th June 2014 if you are continuing on a course that you have already started

You can still apply after these dates, but your payments are unlikely to be ready by the start of the
academic year.

You do not need to have a confirmed place on a course before you apply. If you later change your choice
of course or university, you can notify SFE through your online account before starting the course.

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www.welfare.qmul.ac.uk                                                         Advice and Counselling Service

If you have not applied before the start of the course, you can still apply for Student Finance for the
2014/15 academic year up until the end of May 2015.

You have to reapply for Student Finance in each year of the course, as your entitlement needs to be
reassessed each year.

How do I apply?

New students
You can apply online at https://www.gov.uk/apply-online-for-student-finance

To apply, you will need:

    •   Your passport details

    •   Details of the university and course

    •   Your bank details

    •   Your National Insurance number

    •   If applicable, your parents’ or partner’s details, including their National Insurance number and
        income (or alternatively you can provide this later)

Please note that when you apply online you will have to request a password. You need to be patient after
initially requesting the new password as this process is not instant and you normally need to wait for an
email with the new password to be issued.

If you would prefer to apply on paper, you can download a PN1 form at:

https://www.gov.uk/student-finance-forms/y/uk-full-time/apply-loans-grants/year-1415/new-student.

To help you complete your PN1 application form, you will see an ‘n’ next to particular questions on the
form. This refers to notes you can find in the PN1 guidance to help you answer some of the more difficult
questions on the PN1 form. You can download the PN1 guidance notes here:

http://www.sfengland.slc.co.uk/media/682916/sfe_pn1_notes_1415_d.pdf

Continuing students
If you are continuing on a course which you have already started, but this is your first application for
Student Finance, then you apply as a new student.

If last year you applied for non-income assessed Student Finance only, you should be automatically sent a
Student Finance Entitlement letter from SFE. All you need to do is sign and return the declaration form that
you receive with that letter to SFE. You will not receive your payments if you do not sign and return the

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Advice and Counselling Service                                                         www.welfare.qmul.ac.uk

declaration form. If you are planning to be away from the address that SFE has for you, you will need to
make arrangements to ensure that you receive the form.

If last year you applied for income assessed Student Finance, you can reapply online at:

https://www.gov.uk/apply-online-for-student-finance

SFE will then send you a Student Finance Entitlement letter with a declaration form, which you need to sign
and return. You will not receive your payments if you do not sign and return the declaration form. If you
are planning to be away from the address that SFE has for you, you will need to make arrangements to
ensure that you receive the form.

If you would prefer to apply on paper, you can download a PR1 form at:

http://www.sfengland.slc.co.uk/media/682895/sfe_pr1_form_1415_d.pdf

To help you complete your PR1 application form, you will see an ‘n’ next to particular questions on the
form. This refers to notes you can find in the PR1 guidance to help you answer some of the more difficult
questions on the PR1 form. You can download the PR1 guidance notes here:

http://www.sfengland.slc.co.uk/media/682919/sfe_pr1_notes_1415_d.pdf

I am a new student: what evidence do I need to provide with my application?
If you apply online, once you have completed your application you will see a list of evidence you need to
send. Remember to send this straight away to avoid delays to your application and payments.

If you apply on paper, you will see an ‘e’ next to particular questions on the form. Refer to the guidance
notes that accompany the application form to find out more about what evidence you need to provide in
relation to questions which have an ‘e’ next to them.

At the time of applying (either online or on paper), you don’t need to send SFE evidence that you meet the
relevant residence requirements. However, it is sensible to ensure that you could provide it, in case you
are subsequently asked to. If you have a UK passport number, SFE can check your identity using that
number; you don’t need to send them your passport. If you provide your parent’s or partner’s National
Insurance (NI) number, SFE can check the household income amounts directly with the Revenue and
Customs office. If you don’t have your parent’s or partner’s NI number available when you are applying,
this can be provided online afterwards, or on a paper form (PFF2) – more information is available here:

https://www.gov.uk/student-finance-forms/y/uk-full-time/income-details/year-1415

If your parents are divorced or separated, it is useful to send evidence of this at the time applying, so that
SFE know to only include the income of the parent you would normally live with (plus any new partner if
they are living with one). The following types of evidence can be used: Decree Nisi; Decree Absolute; Civil
partnership dissolution order; letter from a solicitor confirming marital status; or a Council Tax bill

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www.welfare.qmul.ac.uk                                                           Advice and Counselling Service

showing the single occupancy discount. If you cannot provide any of this evidence and have valid reasons
why you cannot, SFE may be able to accept other evidence such as a statutory declaration plus utility bills in
one person’s name. For more information about statutory declarations see:

http://www.findlaw.co.uk/law/government/other_law_and_government_topics/500499.html

In certain situations you may need to provide further evidence after you have applied, but SFE will usually
contact you to ask for this. However, if it is several weeks since you applied for your Student Finance and
you have not heard from SFE, you could contact them on 0300 100 0607 to check the progress of your
application and whether they need you to send further documents. SFE will normally only need
photocopies, not originals. If you are asked to send any original documents, it is a good idea to keep copies.
Try to send your documents straight away to avoid delays to your application and payments, preferably
using Royal Mail special delivery post which enables you to track delivery:

http://www.royalmail.com/track-trace

If you are planning to be away from the address that SFE has for you, you will need to make arrangements
to ensure that you receive any correspondence.

EU+
If you are an EU national who has come to the UK to study, you can normally only apply for a Tuition Fee
Loan. You need to apply to the Student Finance Services European Team. New students use form EU14N:
https://www.gov.uk/student-finance-forms/y/eu-full-time/year-1415

You need to send a certified copy of your passport or of both sides of your national identity card. Who can
certify documents and what they must write on the copy of the document is explained here:
https://www.gov.uk/certifying-a-document

Continuing students will automatically be sent form EUPR1a so it is important to notify Student Finance
England if you change address using the EU notification of change of circumstances form (EUC01):
https://www.gov.uk/student-finance-forms/y/eu-full-time/year-1415

You can contact the Non UK Team by phone on (+44) (0)141 243 3570 or write to them:
https://www.gov.uk/contact-student-finance-england

If you are not an EU national but there is an EU national in your family, you might still qualify for a Tuition
Fee Loan. The rules are complicated so please contact a Welfare Adviser in the Advice and Counselling
Service.

Some EU nationals and their family members may also be eligible for the living costs elements of Student
Finance. See the ‘Eligibility rules for government student finance’ section at the end of this guide for more
details.

If you become an EU national after your course has started, contact a Welfare Adviser in the Advice and
Counselling Service to check whether you can become eligible for Student Finance.

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Advice and Counselling Service                                                           www.welfare.qmul.ac.uk

If you are not eligible for the living costs elements of Student Finance, you will need an alternative source of
funding to pay for all your living costs in each year of your course. You will need to put together a package
of support, which might come from your parents or other family members, your own savings, your
earnings, an independent organisation or your own government.

You might find it useful to refer to the budget planner and other advice in our budgeting guide to help you
work out what your predicted income and expenditure would be:

http://www.welfare.qmul.ac.uk/documents/leaflets/budgeting/5065.pdf

If you have extra study related costs as a result of a disability or learning difficulty, some limited funding
from the university may be available in certain circumstances. Please contact the QM Disability and
Dyslexia Service to discuss your situation:

http://www.dds.qmul.ac.uk/

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www.welfare.qmul.ac.uk                                                         Advice and Counselling Service

The Student Finance income
assessment

Which elements of Student Finance are income assessed?
100% of the Maintenance Grant is income assessed.

Part of the Maintenance Loan is income assessed: for students starting a course from September 2012
onwards, the amount that is income assessed is 35% and for pre-2012 starters 28% is income assessed.
This means that you can receive the remainder of the maximum amount of the Maintenance Loan,
whatever your household income is (65% for 2012 onwards students, and 72% for pre-2012 students),
minus any deduction if you are getting a Maintenance Grant.

You can choose not to provide any income information with your application, but your application will not
be income assessed, which means you can only get a Tuition Fee Loan and a partial Maintenance Loan,
subject to eligibility.

What income is counted?

Parents or Partners income
The income assessment is based on your household’s gross taxable income: this means your parent(s) and
their partner(s) income, or your partner’s income, unless you are an independent student (see next
section). Certain allowances are deducted from the gross income, for example if your parent is also a
student, or if there are children who are financially dependent on that parent. If you normally live in
England, your parents or partner will only need to give their national insurance number for Student Finance
England to assess the household income. However, they could later be asked for other evidence depending
on your individual circumstances. For more information see:

https://www.gov.uk/apply-for-student-finance/parents-and-partners

Your income
Student Finance England will also ask you to estimate your own personal income for the relevant academic
year, but you don’t need to declare any income from your own earnings during the course. Most students
won’t have any personal income to declare. Guidance about what types of personal income needs to be
declared is given in the SFE application form guidance notes:

http://www.sfengland.slc.co.uk/media/682916/sfe_pn1_notes_1415_d.pdf (PN1 for new students)

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Advice and Counselling Service                                                        www.welfare.qmul.ac.uk

http://www.sfengland.slc.co.uk/media/682919/sfe_pr1_notes_1415_d.pdf (PR1 for continuing students)

Which tax year?
For the 2014/15 academic year, the assessment of parent and partner income is based on income in the
2012/13 tax year.

What if the household income has dropped?
If the overall household income for the current tax year (2014/15) is at least 15% less than it was in the
2012/13 tax year, you can ask to be assessed on the current year income instead. To do this you will need
to complete a ‘current tax year income form’, which you can download at:

https://www.gov.uk/apply-for-student-finance/household-income

You will need to provide details of the household income for the 2012/13 tax year as well as an estimate of
the household income for the 2014/15 tax year. At the end of the 2014/15 tax year you will be asked to
provide evidence of the actual household income for that period. If your estimate was wrong, SFE can
adjust your Student Finance entitlement, which may result in you being paid more money, or in you having
to repay some money to SFE.

Further information
To find out exactly what income is counted, and how your entitlement is calculated, see the guide Higher
Education Student Finance – How you’re assessed and paid 2014/15:

http://www.practitioners.slc.co.uk/media/666177/sfe_assessed_guide_1415_pf.pdf

Independent status
In certain circumstances students can be treated as independent, meaning that any parental income will be
ignored. Instead, Student Finance England will look at any taxable income you have in the current academic
year, except for income from any part-time or vacation work.

There is a list of the categories of student who can be assessed as independent on page 28 of Higher
Education Student Finance – How you’re assessed and paid 2014/15:

http://www.practitioners.slc.co.uk/media/666177/sfe_assessed_guide_1415_pf.pdf

The list broadly includes students who:

• are not in contact with their parents (see the next section of this advice guide), or have no living parents,
  or whose parents cannot be traced or contacted, or whose parents live outside Europe and an income
  assessment would put them in jeopardy or it is not reasonably practical for them to send funds to the
  UK; or

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www.welfare.qmul.ac.uk                                                          Advice and Counselling Service

• have been looked after by a local authority throughout any three month period ending on or after the
  date on which you turned 16, and before the first day of the first academic year of your course, subject
  to certain exceptions; or
• on the first day of the academic year for which you are applying for support you are: aged 25 or over, or
  have care of a person under 18, or have been married or formed a civil partnership, even if it is not still
  subsisting; or
• have supported themselves for any periods ending before the first academic year of the course, which
  together amount to three years. This includes being in paid full-time employment, or receiving certain
  benefits or training for the unemployed, or receiving benefits because of disability or ill health.

The rules are detailed so please check page 28 of Higher Education Student Finance – How you’re assessed and
paid 2014/15 to see if you meet the specific criteria:

http://www.practitioners.slc.co.uk/media/666177/sfe_assessed_guide_1415_pf.pdf

That guide also explains what documents you need to provide in order to prove your eligibility for
independent status, although please see the next section below for further guidance if you have no contact
with your parents. Contact a Welfare Adviser in the Advice and Counselling Service if you need any help
with proving your eligibility for any of these categories. If you have been refused independent status by
Student Finance England, please see the next section, ‘What happens after I apply for Student Finance?’.

Students who have no contact with their parents
This is referred to as ‘estrangement’.

How do I apply to be assessed as independent due to estrangement?
If you are claiming independent status on the basis of estrangement, Student Finance England asks you to
demonstrate that either:

     •   you have not communicated with your parents for at least one year before the beginning of the
         academic year for which you are applying for Student Finance, or

     •   you can demonstrate in another way that you are irreconcilably estranged from your parents. This
         means that for the short to medium term you don’t see that you will be able to resume your
         relationship with your parents.

Welfare Advisers in the Advice and Counselling Service have worked with many students whose
estrangement with their parents has lasted for less than one year, or it has lasted one year but there has
been some occasional communication, and these applications can be successful. You can arrange to meet
with a Welfare Adviser to discuss your situation, and they can help you to think about how you can explain
your situation so that SFE will understand it. The Welfare Adviser can also help you write your own letter
to SFE. In your letter, you should try and explain the following:

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Advice and Counselling Service                                                         www.welfare.qmul.ac.uk

    •   what circumstances led up to the estrangement (often someone’s relationship with their parents is
        difficult for some time before they actually stop having any contact, so you could try and describe
        this, if it applies to you)

    •   what you feel are the reasons that the estrangement has happened

    •   when did it happen

    •   how did it happen (e.g. did your parents ask you to move out, or did you decide to move out; did
        you stay with a friend or another family member, or did you start renting your own
        accommodation, etc)

    •   what is your situation now (e.g. do you have any contact with your parents at all, if so how often
        and by what means – phone/email/in person)

    •   why you feel that for now the situation is irreconcilable (e.g. what is it about the situation that
        means you believe that you cannot resume your relationship with your parents in the foreseeable
        future)

Do I need to provide any evidence?
SFE also states that you must provide confirmation of the estrangement from a professional person outside
your family who knows about your circumstances, for example a teacher or social worker, or doctor. This
is explained on page 29 of Higher Education Student Finance – How you’re assessed and paid:

http://www.practitioners.slc.co.uk/media/666177/sfe_assessed_guide_1415_pf.pdf

However, very often students who are estranged from their parents have not had any contact with a
professional person in relation to the estrangement, so it can be very difficult to get such a letter.
Successful applications have been made using alternative documents, and a Welfare Adviser can advise you
about what documents you might be able to provide in support of your application. Often students ask
family members or a friend to write and confirm the situation they have described, and this can be effective.

Where appropriate the Welfare Adviser will also write a letter of support for you to include.

Will I need to prove my estrangement every year?
You should only need to provide evidence of estrangement to Student Finance England once. SFE should
then use the same evidence to assess you in the later years of your course, although it is useful if you write
to SFE each time you reapply, and confirm that you continue to be estranged from your parents. If you have
any problems with eligibility in later years of your course, please contact a Welfare Adviser in the Advice
and Counselling Service. If you have had an application on the basis of estrangement refused by Student
Finance England, please see the next section of this Advice Guide.

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www.welfare.qmul.ac.uk                                                        Advice and Counselling Service

What happens after I apply for
Student Finance?

Student Finance England (SFE) will assess your application. If they need further evidence from you, they
should contact you to ask for this. Try to provide any requested evidence as soon as possible and send any
documents by special delivery post to avoid delays and the risk of any original documents being lost.

If you don’t hear from SFE within a few weeks of applying, phone them on 0300 100 0607 to check the
progress of your application, and to ask whether you need to provide any further evidence.

              Beware of fraudulent emails from anyone claiming to be SFE which ask you to
              update your bank details or verify your student account details by email. SFE
              would never do this. Don’t reply to the email. For more information go to:

http://www.slc.co.uk/students/online-safety

How will I know if I am eligible for Student Finance?
If SFE decide that you are eligible for Student Finance, they will send you a Student Finance Entitlement
letter explaining which elements of Student Finance you are entitled to, and how much money you can get.
Keep this letter safe. If you will be getting a Tuition Fee Loan, you need to show this letter when you come
to enrol at QMUL. If have an online account with SFE, you can see your Student Finance Entitlement letter
and any other correspondence there.

When will I get paid my Student Finance?
Once you have enrolled, QMUL will let SFE know you are attending and the first instalment of your
Student Finance for living costs will be paid into your bank account. Your Tuition Fee Loan will
automatically be paid to QMUL in three instalments through the academic year.

              Warning: If you applied online, your Student Finance Entitlement letter will
              include a declaration form which you must sign and return to SFE before you can
              receive any money. It is a good idea to use Special Delivery post to avoid any risk
of delay in getting your money. You can also track delivery:

http://www.royalmail.com/track-trace

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Advice and Counselling Service                                                         www.welfare.qmul.ac.uk

What if my Student Finance is delayed?
If your Student Finance application is delayed and you do not get any money by the start of the academic
year, you can normally apply for a discretionary short term interest-free loan for living costs from the
Bursaries, Grants and Scholarships Office. Contact the Student Enquiry Centre, Room CB2, ground floor,
Queens’ Building or email bursaries@qmul.ac.uk

There is more information about what to do if your Student Finance is delayed on our website:
http://www.welfare.qmul.ac.uk/money/undergraduates/financedelayed/index.html

              Even if you have been awarded Student Finance, SFE cannot pay you any money
              until you have enrolled at QMUL.

SFE have told me I’m not eligible for Student Finance
If SFE tells you that you are not eligible for Student Finance, it is advisable to contact a Welfare Adviser in
the Advice and Counselling Service, as eligibility for Student Finance can be complicated. You might also
find it useful to read the later section of this advice guide ‘Eligibility Rules for Government Student Finance’
which explains the main eligibility criteria.

If you have been refused student finance on eligibility grounds, the Welfare Adviser will need to see a copy
of any letters you have received from SFE so they can check whether SFE’s decision about your eligibility
seems correct. If it doesn’t, the Welfare Adviser can advise you about appealing against it, and can usually
write you a letter to send with your appeal. If you have not received a written decision, it is helpful to
contact SFE on 0300 100 0607 to request one so you can appeal the decision if you need to.

You can download SFE’s guide ‘How to Appeal’ and an appeal form:

https://www.gov.uk/contact-student-finance-england

What happens if my circumstances change?
If your circumstances change after you apply for Student Finance, you need to notify Student Finance
England.

You can use your online Student Finance account to make changes to:

• your course details;
• your university details;
• the amount of Tuition Fee Loan or Maintenance Loan you’re asking for;
• your personal details e.g. your address

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www.welfare.qmul.ac.uk                                                         Advice and Counselling Service

After you have started your course, you won’t be able to notify SFE of a change of course details or the
amount of tuition fee you are being charged: this is done by the Registry at QMUL. Contact the Student
Enquiry Centre, CB2 Queens’ Building, (studentenquiry@qmul.ac.uk) if you need to ask about this.

If you made a paper application for Student Finance you should still have been invited by SFE to set up an
online account and notifying a change of personal circumstances this way can be quick and easy. If your
household income drops by more than 15% compared to 2012/13 and you want to be financially
reassessed, see the earlier section ‘The Student Finance income assessment.’

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Advice and Counselling Service                                                        www.welfare.qmul.ac.uk

Tuition Fee Loan

How much is the tuition fee?
You will be charged a tuition fee by QMUL in each academic year.

If your course start date is September 2012 or later, the tuition fee in 2014/15 is normally £9000.

If your course start date is between 2006 and 2011, the tuition fee in 2014/15 is normally £3465.

How do I pay the tuition fee?
As well as the information below, you can find information about tuition fee payments on the Advice and
Counselling Service website:

http://www.welfare.qmul.ac.uk/money/undergraduates/payments/index.html

Student Finance Tuition Fee Loan
You can apply for a Tuition Fee Loan to pay all or part of your tuition fee if you are eligible, or you can pay
the fee yourself.

You will need to repay athe Tuition Fee Loan in the future. See the ‘Loan Repayments’ section later in this
Advice Guide.

There is no age limit on taking a Tuition Fee Loan and it is not income assessed. The money will be paid
directly to QMUL on your behalf, in three instalments:

At the start of semester 1 - 25% of the tuition fee

At the start of semester 2 - 25% of the tuition fee

At the start of the exam period - 50% of the tuition fee

You need to bring the University and College payment advice page of your Student Finance Entitlement letter
to the Enrolment Centre when you go to enrol, to show that you are getting a Tuition Fee Loan.

I am paying my own tuition fee
For any amount of tuition fee that you are going to pay for yourself, you will need to sign a payment
agreement before enrolment. 25% of the total amount of tuition fee which you are paying yourself will be
payable by enrolment, and the remaining balance will normally be payable in seven monthly instalments
between October and April.

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www.welfare.qmul.ac.uk                                                           Advice and Counselling Service

If you plan to pay the tuition fee yourself, but you find you cannot afford to do this, you can still apply for a
Tuition Fee Loan later. For the academic year 2014/15 you must apply to Student Finance England for the
tuition fee loan by the deadline of 31 May 2015. However, QMUL will expect you to keep up with your
tuition fee payments until your Tuition Fee Loan is processed by SFE. Once your Tuition Fee Loan is
processed, you can apply to the Fees Office for a refund of the tuition fee you have paid yourself.

How much is the tuition fee if I leave or take time out of my course?
The Advice and Counselling Service Advice Guide ‘Interrupting, Resitting or Leaving your course: A guide for
home and EU students’ explains how much tuition fee you will be liable for if you interrupt your studies or
leave your course - this is determined by the date of interruption or leaving. As soon as you enrol you are
liable for 25% of the tuition fee. The advice guide also explains how much tuition fee you will be liable for
when you resume your studies following an interruption:

http://www.welfare.qmul.ac.uk/documents/leaflets/interrupting/5074.pdf

              If you are not eligible for a Tuition Fee Loan, think carefully about how you will be able to
              afford to pay your tuition fee before you decide to enrol. As soon as you enrol you are liable
              for 25% of the tuition fee. There are no university hardship funds which can help you to pay
your tuition fee once you have enrolled on your course. Contact a Welfare Adviser for advice about your
options if you aren’t eligible for a Tuition Fee Loan.

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Advice and Counselling Service                                                        www.welfare.qmul.ac.uk

Maintenance Loan

What is the Maintenance Loan for?
This is money to help towards your living costs, like rent and food.

Age limit
You must be under 60 on 1st September in the year you start your course, to apply for a Maintenance
Loan.

How is the Maintenance Loan paid?
Your Maintenance Loan is paid directly into your bank account in three equal instalments, at the start of
each semester (September, January and April).

Long Courses Loan
If you are eligible for a Maintenance Loan, you can get an extra amount of Maintenance Loan above the
standard amounts (see below) if you are required to attend your course for more than 30 weeks and 3
days in an academic year. The maximum amount of long courses loan is £107 for each extra week or £55 if
you live in your parental home.

Short-term Loans from QMUL
If you are in financial difficulty because your Student Finance is late, or other money is temporarily delayed,
you can apply for a discretionary short-term interest free loan from the university, if you are either a Home
student, or an EU student who is eligible for Student Finance for living costs. Please contact the Bursaries,
Grants and Scholarships Office, via the Student Enquiry Centre, room CB2 Queens’ Building. Or email
bursaries@qmul.ac.uk

How much is the Maintenance Loan?
The maximum amount of Maintenance Loan you can get depends on where you live, when you started your
course, and what year of your course you are in:

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www.welfare.qmul.ac.uk                                                        Advice and Counselling Service

Course start date in 2012 or later (‘2012 cohort students’)
In 2014/15, the Maintenance Loan rates for students studying in London are:

    Where you will be             Maximum                Non-income assessed             Maximum
         living                Maintenance Loan           Maintenance Loan           Maintenance Loan
                                    (100%)                      (65%)                 minus maximum
                                                                                     Maintenance Grant
                                                                                        substitution*
                                        Students not in their final year

Living away from home        £7751                       £5038                     £6058

Living at home               £4418                       £2871                     £2725

                                              Final year students

Living away from home        £7059                       £4588                     £5366

Living at home               £4060                       £2639                     £2367

Income assessment
If your household’s income is £42,875 or below, you will get the maximum amount of Maintenance Loan,
less any deduction for the Maintenance Grant (see Maintenance Grant section).

Where your household’s income is above £42,875 your loan amount will be reduced by £1 for every
complete £10 of the total income above this threshold. However, this reduction does not continue
indefinitely. You will always be entitled to at least 65% of the maximum amount of Maintenance Loan
applicable to your situation, minus any deduction for the Maintenance Grant (see Maintenance Grant
section). 35% of your Maintenance Loan entitlement is income assessed.

For more information about the income assessment, see the SFE guide Higher Education Student Finance –
How you’re assessed and paid 2014/15-14 at:

http://www.practitioners.slc.co.uk/media/666177/sfe_assessed_guide_1415_pf.pdf

*   If you get a Maintenance Grant, your Maintenance Loan will be reduced (see Maintenance Grant section).

20                              Student Finance: loans, grants and bursaries for home and EU undergraduates
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Advice and Counselling Service                                                     www.welfare.qmul.ac.uk

Course start date between 2009 and 2011 (‘2009 cohort students’)
In 2014/15, the Maintenance Loan rates for students studying in London are:

    Where you will be             Maximum                Non-income assessed            Maximum
         living                Maintenance Loan           Maintenance Loan          Maintenance Loan
                                    (100%)                      (72%)                minus maximum
                                                                                    Maintenance Grant
                                                                                       substitution*
                                        Students not in their final year

Living away from home        £6997                       £5037                     £5442

Living at home               £3876                       £2790                     £2321

                                              Final year students

Living away from home        £6370                       £4586                     £4815

Living at home               £3517                       £2532                     £1962

Income assessment
If your household’s income is £50,778 or below, you will get the maximum amount of Maintenance Loan,
less any deduction for the Maintenance Grant (see Maintenance Grant section).

Where your household’s income is above £50,778 your loan amount will be reduced by £1 for every
complete £4.95 of the total income above this threshold. However, this reduction does not continue
indefinitely. You will always be entitled to at least 72% of the maximum amount of Maintenance Loan
applicable to your situation, minus any deduction for the Maintenance Grant (see Maintenance Grant
section). 28% of your Maintenance Loan entitlement is income assessed.

For more information about the income assessment, see the SFE guide Higher Education Student Finance –
How you’re assessed and paid at

http://www.practitioners.slc.co.uk/media/666177/sfe_assessed_guide_1415_pf.pdf

If you are a ‘2009 cohort student’ who has previously attended a publicly funded full time Higher Education
course, anywhere in the world, that began before 1st September 2008, the Maintenance Loan amount is
different, and will be assessed under different income thresholds. See the SFE guide above for more
information, or contact a Welfare Adviser in the Advice and Counselling Service.

All eligible students will receive at least 75% of the maximum Maintenance Loan amount*, and the
remaining 25% is income assessed.

*   If you get a Maintenance Grant, your Maintenance Loan will be reduced (see Maintenance Grant section).

Student Finance: loans, grants and bursaries for home and EU undergraduates                              21
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www.welfare.qmul.ac.uk                                                         Advice and Counselling Service

Loan repayments

Information for all students
Your Tuition Fee Loans and Maintenance Loans will be combined into one Student Finance loan account.

You will be charged interest on your loans from the day you receive them, until the loan is repaid or
written off, whichever is first. The interest is added to the total amount you owe every month.

Your monthly repayments are based on how much you earn once you finish studying, not on how much
you borrowed. The amount you borrow just affects the total repayment amount and therefore how many
years it will take you to repay your loan.

When you have to start making repayments and how much interest you are charged differs according to
when you started your course (see below).

If you are working for a UK employer, your repayments are taken automatically through the UK tax
system, before you receive your wages. If you are self-employed or you are working for a non UK
employer you will pay through self-assessment.

If your income stops, or falls below the salary threshold, your repayments should automatically stop.

You are allowed to make extra voluntary repayments, without penalty. You can contact the Student Loans
Company to arrange this.

For more detailed information see:

     •   http:///www.studentloanrepayment.co.uk

     •   ‘Student Loans – A guide to terms and conditions’: http://bit.ly/PrOZXg

My course start date is 2012 or later – when do I start repaying my loan, and
how much interest will I pay?
You won’t have to start repaying your loan until 2016, even if you finish or leave your course earlier.

You won’t have to start repaying your loan until you are earning over £21,000 a year. You will repay 9% of
earnings above £21,000, and this threshold will be updated annually in line with inflation.

In most circumstances any loan remaining will be written off 30 years after you first become liable for
repaying the loan.

22                             Student Finance: loans, grants and bursaries for home and EU undergraduates
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Advice and Counselling Service                                                       www.welfare.qmul.ac.uk

While you are studying, you will be charged interest at the Retail Price Index (RPI) plus 3%.

If you finish or leave your course before April 2016 you will be charged interest at RPI plus 3% until the
April after you leave your course, and then RPI.

From April 2016, the interest rate will be based on your income:

    •   £21,000 or less – RPI

    •   £21,000 to £41,000 – RPI plus up to 3% depending on level of income

    •   £41,000 and over – RPI plus 3%

For more information see: http://bit.ly/PrOZXg

My course start date was before September 2012 – when do I start repaying
my loan, and how much interest will I pay?
You are liable to start repaying your loan from the April after you leave your course, if you are earning at
least £16,365 a year. You will repay 9% of your earnings above £16,365, and this threshold will be updated
annually in line with inflation.

In most circumstances any loan remaining will be written off 25 years after you first become liable for
repaying the loan.The interest rate on student loans is set each September, and usually remains the same
for the following 12 months. For September 2013 to August 2014 the interest rate is 1.5%. You can find
current and previous year’s interest rates at:

www.studentloanrepayment.co.uk/interest

For more information see:

https://www.gov.uk/student-finance-for-existing-students

EU+
If you return to live in your home country after graduation, you must inform the Student Loans Company,
who will ask for information about your earnings and give you your monthly repayment schedule. The
income threshold above which you will become liable to start repaying your Student Finance loans will
normally vary depending on your country of residence. For more information read section 7 of the SFE
guide Student loans – a guide to terms and conditions:

http://www.sfengland.slc.co.uk/media/666045/sfe_t_c_guide_1415_d.pdf

Student Finance: loans, grants and bursaries for home and EU undergraduates                                  23
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www.welfare.qmul.ac.uk                                                          Advice and Counselling Service

What if I don’t want to take out
loans?

You might not want to take out loans, either for religious or personal reasons. If so, you need to make sure
you have a realistic alternative source of funding to pay for your tuition fees and living costs.

You can choose to take just some of the elements of Student Finance. So, if you are eligible, you could just
take the Maintenance Grant (see Maintenance Grant section) and not take either of the loans, if you can
afford to do so.

However, if you do not take out your maximum Maintenance Loan entitlement, you will not be eligible to
apply for most types of hardship funding – these are explained in the Advice and Counselling Service Advice
Guide, ‘Additional Sources of Funding’:

http://www.welfare.qmul.ac.uk/documents/leaflets/funding/10584.pdf

If you are entitled to claim income assessed benefits and you choose not to take out a Maintenance Loan,
your benefits will still be reduced as if you had taken a Maintenance Loan.

For specific guidance on student loans and Shariah law, see the Advice and Counselling Service website:

http://www.welfare.qmul.ac.uk/money/loans/index.html

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Advice and Counselling Service                                                    www.welfare.qmul.ac.uk

Maintenance Grant

What is the Maintenance Grant for?
This is money to help with the general costs of Higher Education, like books and travel. You do not need
to repay this.

How much is the Maintenance Grant?
The amount of Maintenance Grant you can get (if any) depends on your household income, and on when
you started your course:

Course start date in 2012 or later (‘2012 cohort’ students)
The maximum amount of Maintenance Grant in 2014/15 is £3387. How much Maintenance Grant you get
depends on your household income:

Income assessment
                  Household Income                               Maintenance Grant per year
£25,000 or less                                       £3387

£25,001 - £42,620                                     £3387 reduced by £1 for every complete £5.28 of
                                                      income above £25,000

Above £42,620                                         No grant

Course start date between 2009 and 2011 (‘2009 cohort’ students)
The maximum amount of Maintenance Grant in 2014/15 is £3110. How much Maintenance Grant you get
depends on your household income:

Income assessment
                  Household Income                               Maintenance Grant per year
£25,000 or less                                       £3110

£25,001 - £34,264                                     £3110 reduced by £1 for every complete £4.85 of
                                                      income above £25,000

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www.welfare.qmul.ac.uk                                                         Advice and Counselling Service

£34,265 - £50,706                                       As above plus a further reduction of £1 for every
                                                        complete £14.29 of income above £34,264

Above £50,706                                           No grant

If you are a 2009 cohort student who has previously attended a full-time HE course, the Student Finance
income assessment will be different - see the SFE guide Higher Education Student Finance – How you’re
assessed and paid:

http://www.practitioners.slc.co.uk/media/666177/sfe_assessed_guide_1415_pf.pdf

Or contact a Welfare Adviser in the Advice and Counselling Service.

How is the Maintenance Grant paid?
It is paid directly into your bank account in three equal instalments at the start of each semester
(September, January and April).

How will my Maintenance Grant affect my Maintenance Loan?
If you get a Maintenance Grant, your Maintenance Loan will be reduced. This is because part of your living
costs will be met by the Maintenance Grant, so you should need less Maintenance Loan.

Your Maintenance Loan will be reduced by 50p for every £1 of Maintenance Grant you receive. For
example, if your Maintenance Grant is £1000, your Maintenance Loan will be reduced by £500.

If you are a ‘2009 cohort’ student who has previously attended a publicly funded HE course, anywhere in
the world, that began before 1st September 2008, your Maintenance Loan will be reduced by £1 for every
£1 of Maintenance Grant, up to a maximum reduction of £1400.

Special Support Grant
The Special Support Grant replaces the Maintenance Grant in certain circumstances (see below). The
calculation to see how much Special Support Grant you get is the same as for the Maintenance Grant.

It is advantageous to get the Special Support Grant because your Maintenance Loan amount will not be
reduced as a result of your entitlement to it, whereas it would be reduced if you are getting the
Maintenance Grant.

Also, importantly the Special Support Grant is disregarded in the assessment of any means tested welfare
benefits you get, so they won’t be reduced as a result of you getting this income. You will need to show
each of the offices that pay your welfare benefits a copy of the Student Finance Entitlement letter stating
that you get the Special Support Grant.

26                             Student Finance: loans, grants and bursaries for home and EU undergraduates
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Advice and Counselling Service                                                        www.welfare.qmul.ac.uk

Who is eligible for the Special Support Grant?
You may be eligible for the Special Support Grant if you:

• Are a lone parent, or

• Have a partner who is also a student and one or both of you is responsible for a child, or young person
aged under 20 who is in full-time education below higher-education level, or

• Have a disability, and qualify for the Disability Premium (This includes receiving PIP (Personal
Independence Payment), or DLA (Disability Living Allowance), or being registered blind) or

• Are deaf and qualify for Disabled Students’ Allowances, or

• Have been treated as incapable of work for a continuous period of at least 28 weeks, or

• Qualify for a means tested benefit such as Income Support, Housing Benefit or income-related
Employment and Support Allowance, or

• Are waiting to go back to a course having taken agreed time out from that course due to an illness or
caring responsibility that has now ended, or

• Are aged 60 or over

If you need to check your eligibility, please contact a Welfare Adviser in the Advice and Counselling
Service. The Special Support Grant is paid instead of the Maintenance Grant, and is non-repayable.

How do I apply for the Special Support Grant?
You will need to indicate in your application for Student Finance that you want to apply for the Special
Support Grant and send supporting evidence, for example a benefit award letter, to show that you fit into
one of the eligible categories listed above. If you are a lone parent, the evidence you are required to submit
to qualify for the Supplementary Grants (see next section) should be sufficient to show your eligibility for
the Special Support Grant. If you have any difficulties getting the Special Support Grant, please contact a
Welfare Adviser in the Advice and Counselling Service.

Student Finance: loans, grants and bursaries for home and EU undergraduates                                    27
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www.welfare.qmul.ac.uk                                                            Advice and Counselling Service

Supplementary Grants

These are additional grants for students with certain circumstances, such as student parents, or students
who have a disability or ongoing ill health.

Apart from the Disabled Students Allowances, all of these grants are income assessed and paid directly into
your bank account in three equal instalments at the start of each semester (September, January and April).

If you are a lone parent, you are likely to be eligible for the maximum amounts of Parents Learning
Allowance and Childcare Grant. If you have a partner, their income will be counted, which could reduce or
eliminate your entitlement. A Welfare Adviser in the Advice and Counselling Service can help you check
your entitlement, if you are unsure.

You do not need to repay any of the supplementary grants.

If you are claiming means tested welfare benefits, the only Supplementary Grant income which will be
counted in your benefit calculation is the Adult Dependants Grant; income from the other Supplementary
Grants will be ignored.

For more information about all of these grants (except Disabled Students’ Allowances) refer to the guide
Childcare Grant and other support for full-time student parents in higher education 14/15 at:

http://www.practitioners.slc.co.uk/media/666221/sfe_childcare_guide_1415_pf.pdf

There is also a Quick Guide to Dependants Grants, including information on how and when to apply:
http://www.practitioners.slc.co.uk/media/672721/gfd_factsheet_1415_d.pdf

Parents Learning Allowance
This grant is to help towards course related costs for students with dependent children.

The maximum amount is £1523 a year.

You do not need to make a special application for this, you just need to give details of your dependent
children in your main Student Finance application, and you will be assessed. SFE will ask you to provide
evidence in the form of your child’s original birth certificate and your most recent Tax Credit award notice
or Child Benefit letter.

28                              Student Finance: loans, grants and bursaries for home and EU undergraduates
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