Student Loans saga

5 Sep

There hasn’t been a September for several years that has seen nothing in the media about the student loan scheme.  Every year something seems to go wrong, whether it is applications not being processed quickly, applications being given the wrong funding or worse of all, no funding turning up at all.

This year is no different.  Once again, there are thousands of students who have received wrong or no information about their student loans.  First year students whose parents have submitted financial information, only to be told that Student Finance England (the main culprits of the mistakes it seems) don’t have any record of the information being sent.  Returning students have had loans cut by over £1000 because details haven’t been processed, and generally all students are left with a uneasy feeling and no confidence that the money will be paid on time if at all.

The latest press release from Student Finance England reads as follows:

“STUDENT FINANCE ENGLAND APPLICATION PROGRESS UPDATE – 30 AUGUST 2010

We would like to assure students that processing at Student Finance England is going well this year. There have been some reports in the media claiming that large numbers of students will not receive their funding at the start of term. We would urge the media and public to refer to our official statistics, which shows that this is not the case:

The latest statistics are from 26 August and will be updated every fortnight.

The statistics show that we have processed the majority of applications and they are ready for payment once students register at university.

We have put in place a process to ensure that even students applying just before the start of term can get the majority of their money. These students must apply online, prove their eligibility with their passport number, return their signed declaration form, and then register and attend university.

For further information please contact the Student Loans Company press office: 0141 306 2120.”

The statistics say that of 877,000 live application for student finance for the year 2010/2011, 71% (877,000) have been cleared and processed for payment.  Another 25% (218,000)  are ‘awaiting further evidence or signature from the applicant’ and then they quote 5% (40,000) of the applications are ‘currently with Student Finance England’.

As direct quotes from the statistics they have released, you’ll be as amused as us to notice that adds up to 101%.  Good omen? We don’t think so.

However, for 30% of the students who have applied for student finance, the applications have not been processed fully.  Without data about when these applications were made, we can’t comment fully on the productivity or competence of Student Finance England.  We don’t think it looks good that 2 weeks before most Freshers will be moving into their new University Accommodation, nearly a third of students don’t have guaranteed funding.

It’s bad enough that the current generation of students are coming out of University with around £21,000 in debt.  Couldn’t the government at least get a system that allowed the process to be significantly less stressful and definitely less time consuming?

We are really interested in researching the 2010 application delays further.  Please let us know your experiences at the email address: savvystudent@gmx.com or leave a comment on this blog.

The next press release from Student Finance England is due on the 9th December, with statistics to be valid as of 2nd September.  We will be watching with interest.

Hope you’re all enjoying a cosy weekend!

Love

CSM

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  10. Eve Simpson October 22, 2010 at 2:48 pm #

    My personal experience and that of my younger brother is positive. Both of us applied very early (as everyone should do!) and supplied all of the information needed. I feel a bit sorry for student finance as let’s be real here, they are dealing with over a million applications every year for the whole country, so it’s bound to happen that there are a few issues along the way. Anyone who thinks not needs to join the real world. I am sure students don’t help their situation by sending in the wrong info, applying late, not reading things properly etc etc.

  11. LA Assessor September 8, 2010 at 9:13 pm #

    I’m afraid it’s only going to get worse, guys.

    I work with a local authority, and although our students are up to date, we know of hundreds of problems with the central office. Documents are being sent to wrong offices, parents, anywhere they shouldn’t be.

    Annoyingly, local authorities have been banned from trying to help out students, instead being instructed to refer them to the telephone lines, where incorrect information is given. I even tested this myself with a student, and they gave false information to me despite me quoting sections of the regulations at them.

  12. Victoria September 7, 2010 at 12:10 pm #

    Well, my friend has apparently got a student loan for tuition fees for both Queen Mary London, and the University of Sussex.

    My application was very straightforward though.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Student Loan Saga: Update « Clever Student Money - September 14, 2010

    […] student commented on our our previous blog post to tell us that her friend has even had tuition fee loans confirmed for […]

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