Off To Uni : Student Loan

My last Off To Uni post was all about the final bits in your UCAS application and now the series is moving onto the stuff that comes after applying, the small bits that actually make it all become real. To top that off I thought it was important to talk you through the Student Loan process and applying for it. I know my school set up endless talks with student finance about applying and the entire process but I thought I'd just congest it all for you.

The key thing about your student loan is to apply early. Whether you know you are going to university in the following Septmber or are still making up your mind you should still apply. The earlier you apply the earlier you get the offer of the loan and then when September comes you'll get the money on time and know you were organised. The key with everything university related is to be prepared and this is no different.

How to Apply
The entire process of applying for your student loan is done online and can be quite straight forward. This is if you don't come to any problems. My personal experience was very easy and quick and this was probably because of how organised I was. Back to actually applying, like I said it's all done online and through the GOV.UK website. You can register on there website months before the applications actually open so to be ahead of the game I'd recommend doing this. 

When To Apply
Like UCAS there is a set window for when you need to apply. This usually opens in February and from my experience you should try to apply as soon as it opens. That way if you do have any hold ups you'll have plenty of time to amend them. You'll also need your parents to make an account with GOV as they will have to support your application with some financial details about their earnings. This takes about 5-10 minutes if they have all the details to hand. After they've added all their information and you've filled out the application you can then send it off. You don't need to add the university you are going to or your bank details until after you get your results and have got it sorted out. Or if you do add a university you can change this at a later date.

What You Need
You do need some things to hand when applying for your student finance. Proof of identity is one of these, if you have a passport that will be enough but if not you will have to send off your birth certificate to the student finance company which will then lengthen the time in which you get your finance details. You will also need your national insurance number. Your parents/guardians will also need to have their P60 as your student finance is based on your household income. If you have all these to hand your application will take literally no time at all. 

Getting Your Finance Details
I applied early so got all of my finance details back within probably 4 weeks. They do say it can take up to 6 weeks, this is usually if your application is straightforward. But be prepared for it to take longer if you need to send off proof of identity if you don't have a passport or if your parent lives outside of the country. When you get your finance details its all pretty straightforward it just outlines how much you get paid of your maintenance loan and maintenance grant over the whole year. It also outlines when it will get paid into your account and how much you get paid at each installment. 

The next Off To Uni post is going to be about applying for accommodation in your first year and making decisions for your accommodation.

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