How to Apply to Student Finance in 2013/14

It’s important that you do things properly when you apply for your student finance, in order for your application to be processed quickly and efficiently. Here are some tips that you should bear in mind when applying:

Check you’re eligible

You should ensure that you’re actually eligible for student finance in the first place, if you’re not it’s a complete waste of time applying. Lots of different criteria are taken into account, such as where you live, the university you plan to attend and the course you plan to study, your age, and even whether or not you’ve studied before.

Having your application supported

Your application for student finance may need to be supported by your parents or partner, depending on who you live with. If your parents or partner earn over a set figure, or they claim certain benefits, you ability to obtain student finance may be impeded. At the same time, if you are approved for student finance your parents or partner may be required to send in evidence to support the figures they’ve presented.

Student finance is handed out in some cases based on household income – this is why parents or partners are sometimes roped into supporting an application.

When do I apply?

You should apply by the 31st May 2012, if you’re a new student. If you’re a continuing student (in your second or third year), you must apply for finance before the 29th June 2012. Applications received later than that may be delayed and you may not receive the student finance you’re entitled to on time for the new academic year.

How do I apply?

You can apply for student finance online, through the official studentfinance.direct.gov.uk website. Although the bulk of the application is done online you may be required to submit documents to them to support your application. You will also be required to sign and return a loan declaration too.

Managing your student finance account

Once you’ve signed up for the student finance service on the direct.gov.uk website you will be able to keep tabs on your application so you know exactly where things are at.

Grants and bursaries

The good thing is that you don’t need to make separate applications for grants and bursaries – your entitlement to these forms of funding will be determined at the same time as your entitlement to funding such as a student loan. The direct.gov.uk website is a very handy resource because it brings the application process together and makes it much easier for those people who are applying.

Before you attend university you may also want to look into some other forms of finance such as a 0% overdraft. You may not particularly see the need for a 0% overdraft, but it’s handy to have should your budgeting skills turn out to be a bit flaky at first! At the very least it’ll stop you going without food because you over spent on a couple of nights out.

The process of applying for a student bank account is a bit easier than that of applying for a loan. Typically you only need to present a UCAS acceptance letter from your university in order to have a student account opened in your name. This may vary depending on the bank you’re going with though, so make sure you check. With student accounts you shouldn’t just go with the first one you see – shop around because lots of banks offer good perks with their accounts. Don’t forget you should sign up for an account that offers a guaranteed overdraft too – so you know exactly what you’re getting.