Applying for student finance can seem daunting at first, but once you’ve been through the process a few times, it’s much less of a challenge. Here’s what you need to know when applying for student finance for the first time as an incoming LSE student.
What is Student Finance?
Student Finance is primarily issued through the Student Loans Company, a government linked body that provides maintenance loans and tuition fees for eligible students across the United Kingdom. Most students completing an undergraduate or postgraduate course in the UK will be eligible for a student loan which will cover the cost of tuition over the duration of the degree. The current amount payable per year for an undergraduate LSE degree is £9,250. Apart from these fees, most students will also need a maintenance loan in order to survive by themselves, which is also distributed by the Student Loans Company, and will need to be repaid along with tuition fees once an appropriate salary is earned.
How do you apply?
You can complete an online application on the student finance website through gov.uk. You don’t need a confirmed place at your chosen university to apply for student finance, so it’s wise to make your application once you’ve made a firm choice through UCAS, as to which University you’ll be studying at should you meet the grade requirements. If for any reason you don’t meet the requirements and you decide to go to a different university, that application will be cancelled, after which you’ll be able to resubmit your application for a different university by changing your details.
The first thing to do is check if you’re eligible for student finance. Your eligibility depends on a multitude of factors such as your university, course, your age, and whether you’ve studied a higher education course before. After this, you’ll need to prepare your application by checking what ID you’ll need and whether you’ll need to give proof of your household income. It could also help to use the student finance calculator to estimate your maintenance loan, so that you can estimate how much you’ll be receiving and how much you’ll need to repay once the time comes.
Once you’ve done the preliminary work, you can start the application process online. Make sure you give yourself enough time if you want to receive your first payment in time for the academic year, because it can take up to six weeks to process your application, and if you wait too long, you might be at risk of being delayed due to times of high traffic when the rest of the students apply. If your household income needs to be assessed, you may need to contact your parents and they may need to provide evidence of their financial circumstances. Be prepared to ask them to help you out so that you can receive the funding you need.
Don’t leave it until the last minute. As soon as you’re sure what university you’ll be going to should you be successful in your A level grades, create your account and start familiarising yourself with the procedure so you can apply as soon as you feel ready. The last thing you need before starting university is to be unsure of how you’re going to fund your studies
Don’t be afraid to call and clarify. While the regional Student Finance websites are very clear and the process is relatively uncomplicated, there may be some information that you can’t find unless you speak to a representative directly. The staff are mostly helpful and will be willing to help you if you encounter a problem in your application.
Finally, make sure that you submit all the right evidence. The last thing you want is for your application to be delayed because you didn’t submit the right evidence. Delays in your application can simply add more unwarranted stress. So make sure that you stay on top of this essential part of your student experience, and you’ll be ready to begin your studies in September with minimal stress.
Note: This information was correct at time of publication. You’ll apply for student finance from Student Finance England, but when the time comes to repay, you’ll make your repayments to the Student Loans Company. It’s important to understand how you’ll repay any student finance you borrow before you apply. Learn more