Summer has ended, and the academic session for 2016/2017 is about to begin. For students applying to school in the UK, or about to resume a new session, this is about the right time to start thinking about applying for those student loans. This post will guide you on how to apply for student loans in the UK.
Where to apply
The most important thing to consider when applying for loans in the UK, is where exactly to apply for them. In the UK, depending on the location of the student or the institution, there are different places to apply. Students in Wales and England apply at the Student Loans Company (which can also be accessed here: https://www.gov.uk/student-finance or http://studentfinancewales.co.uk) while those in Scotland apply at the Students Awards Agency for Scotland (which can be accessed online here: http://www.saas.gov.uk) and the North Ireland students apply to the Education and Library Board (which can be accessed here: http://www.studentfinanceni.co.uk).
What to apply for
Applying for student loans can be tricky, and it is necessary for students applying to understand completely what they are applying for before going in. Loans, grants and bursaries can be confused together sometimes and it is necessary to get them right. While a typical student loan often takes care of tuition (sometimes up to £9000 annually, depending on the course), grants and bursaries can assist the student with living costs. Also, grants and bursaries, unlike loans, are not required to be repaid. However, the student applying must meet with certain qualifications before that support is given.
How to apply
The next step is the application process. Details such as National Insurance number, passport number and validity start to end dates, course details (including name and location of institution) and of course, the bank account number, and sort code are necessary for the application process. Depending on what you are applying for, you may also be asked to provide details of household income. This means, the student will be asked to provide financial information about his/her parents or partner.
After sending in your application, you can monitor updates to your loan account online. If your application is assessed favourably, you will receive an entitlement letter from the Student Loans Company or the Education and Literary Board, depending on the location of your application, which would contain details on how much you have been awarded and when you will be paid.
Repayment of loans
Grants and bursaries do not have to be repaid, however student loans for tuition fees must be paid back and they attract interest. The details of the interest can be found on the online forms. Students are required to pay back the loans as soon as they are done with the university or college. Repayments are also dependent on how much the student eventually begins to earn, with a minimum requirement of £21,000 before tax. Repayment is handled through the UK Tax Office system. The payment is handled by the loan company through the students loan account, in concert with the employer.