Students planning to start or resume full-time courses at colleges and universities for the 2016/11 academic year may find it useful to apply for Student Finance England loans earlier rather than later. Those that hit government deadlines will stand a far better chance of being paid their loan on time for the start of term. What are the deadlines for student finance this year?
Student Finance England Deadlines for Non-Means Tested Loan Applications
If a student is making an application for finance that doesn’t need to be means tested then they are being asked to apply by the 23rd of April 2016. These applications are based on circumstances where the parental/household income will not need to be checked during the loans process.
Student Loans Applications That Will be Based on Income Assessment
If a student is making an application that will be means tested then their application date is the 21st of May 2016. The finance given here may be based on the income of the household.
What do the Student Finance Application Deadlines Mean?
The recommended deadlines are based on giving a better chance that a loan will be paid in time for the start of the student’s academic year. There may be, as was evidenced in recent years, no guarantee that finance will be processed on time but hitting the deadline may give the best chance of this happening. Applying later may delay the payment process.
Should Student Loan Applications be Made Through Student Finance England, Student Finance Direct or DirectGov?
Online applications are now initially made via the government’s DirectGov website. Students can also download a paper-based application from the site’s student areas if they prefer not to apply via the Internet.
The official name of the UK’s student loans company has now changed from Student Finance Direct to Student Finance England. The base organisation remains the same and any student that has applied for a loan previously can use the same details for new applications.
What if the Student Hasn’t Been Offered a Place Yet?
The DirectGov website recommends that students try to meet the application deadlines even if they haven’t got a firm offer of a university or college place yet. Students can simply enter their first choice on the form and change it later if necessary.
Using a Student Finance Calculator May be Useful
Those that are unsure how much finance they may be qualified to be given can use the DirectGov student finance calculator. This gives an estimate (but not a guarantee) of options including student loans, grants, scholarships and bursaries. This may be worth doing to help assess income before starting college.
General Money Management Tips for Students
Those about to leave home to study for the first time may need to set up financial accounts and to think about budgeting their money. Choosing the best student bank accounts and other financial products such as credit cards can help with this process. Thinking about how they will manage their money at university may also give them a good start.