Over the coming months, FINANCE will be a core topic covered in great detail. Everything from bank accounts, to overdrafts, to savings, to rent deposits, to mortgages will be under the spotlight. This month we take the page title literally and hear an account of the Government’s student loan & grant process, via Student Finance England. SFE offers, amongst other things, loans for Tuition Fees, Maintenance for Living Costs & Studying Abroad, when applying for a place at University.
In my first year, experiences with Student Finance England were positive. However, recently, I have found that this experience has changed. I found the application process daunting initially, as I was not aware of the processes due to it being my first time. However, during the process I found that there were many documents that were accessible via the Student Finance Website which are created and provided to help students apply for their loans and grants.
My experiences changed recently after the scrapping of the NHS Bursary. I believe that due to this the allocation of loans and grants was affected. I had a few problems with my student finance for my last year of studying and had to call their call centre. After a very unsuccessful first phone call I called again; in total I ended up calling them over 7 times for the same issue.
The communication seemed to lack, as every time I called I had to explain the situation again, even after asking them to document what had happened. After nagging and going back and forth with the university, they finally confirmed an amount to be paid to me. However, I believe all of this could have been avoided. The payment schedule is, in my opinion, unhelpful and confusing. If you are a first-time student living by yourself, trying to manage finances with the 3 payments a year can be difficult and daunting. I believe that, like the bursary, student finance should be payed monthly. Monthly payments would help students learn how to budget, in preparation for when they start work.
For more information on eligibility and how to apply visit www.gov.uk/student-finance