Student Loans Company opens tuition fees and maintenance loans applications for students starting university in September 2022

Teenagers heading off to university later this year can now apply for their student loans.

Full-time undergraduate students in England can now begin their applications for the 2022/23 academic year says The Student Loans Company.

Students heading to university in September can now apply for finance
Students heading to university in September can now apply for finance

Students in England can apply for Tuition Fee Loans to cover their fees and Maintenance Loans to help with their living costs.

Student loans have hit the headlines in recent weeks because of government proposals to change the way graduates will repay their loans while also proposing to bring in tougher qualifying rules.

Under the reforms student loans will be paid back over 40 years instead of 30, increasing the numbers that will pay back what they borrowed in full, while those starting courses in 2023 will see the repayment threshold dropped to £25,000 rather than just over £27,000.

The government is also launching consultations on further changes including introducing an eligibility criteria for getting a student loan, which could include students needing a grade 4 pass in GCSE Maths and English to be able to borrow money for their university education, and also bringing in a 'lifelong loan entitlement' so that students can borrow to study at any age.

The government is proposing changes to the way graduates pay back loans. Image: Thinkstock
The government is proposing changes to the way graduates pay back loans. Image: Thinkstock

Despite the impending changes, and the disruption caused to teenagers' education as a result of two years of the pandemic, the Student Loans Company (SCL) says it expects about 1.5 million full time undergraduate students to apply for funding help this year.

And the advice is to get those applications in early.

The deadline for new students is May 20 - and June 24 for those returning to campuses - but applying well before the cut-off will ensure that all finance is in place before the start of term.

Even if teenagers are unsure about the course that they are doing, or even which university it is they are likely to go to, SLC says families must begin applying now regardless because applications can take six to eight weeks to process.

Students can ask for help with both tuition fees and living costs. Image: Stock photo
Students can ask for help with both tuition fees and living costs. Image: Stock photo

Chris Larmer, SLC executive director of business operations, said: "SLC exists to enable opportunity for students to invest in their futures through access to further and higher education. "We want students to get their higher education journey off to the best start by ensuring they have their finances in place at the start of term. That’s why we are encouraging them to apply now for their student finance.

"We want to make it as easy as possible for students to access student finance and to support them resources are available online and they can follow Student Finance England (SFE) on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for all the latest student finance updates. We’ve also made it easier for students to check the status of their application using the new application status tracker in their SFE online account, and applicants can be assured that we will contact them via text message or e-mail if we require any further information to support their application."

The Student Loans Company has a May deadline for new students. Image: Thinkstock
The Student Loans Company has a May deadline for new students. Image: Thinkstock

To help students and their families apply for finance seamlessly, SLC has shared the following seven tips for putting together an application.

1. Apply Early

Apply as early as possible to make sure your finances are in place before your studies start, says SLC. The deadline to apply is May 20, 2022 for new students. Even if you don’t know what course you are doing, you should apply now using your preferred choice and you can update your application later if required.

2. Don’t call us – we’ll contact you!

Remember it can take six to eight weeks to process an application. There is no need to contact SLC during this time to check on your application status. Instead, you can stay up to date with your application’s progress via the application tracker in your SFE online account. You will be notified if you have any outstanding actions to complete, so do check that your e-mail address and telephone number are up to date in your online account!

3. Can you find the answer online?

Take advantage of all the information and resources provided online here. These are regularly updated for students and their parents as they progress through the application cycle. Students should also follow Student Finance England (SFE) on social media to stay up to date with the very latest information.

Students can check how much they could be entitled to using online calculators
Students can check how much they could be entitled to using online calculators

4. Understand how much funding you may be entitled to

You can apply for Tuition Fee Loans to cover your fees and Maintenance Loans to help with living costs. There is a student finance calculator available online to get an estimate of how much you could be entitled to here

5. Have all important documents at hand

Have your National Insurance Number and UK passport details to hand before you start your application as you will be asked for this information when you apply.

Students can apply online
Students can apply online

6. Provide supporting evidence online

Don’t forget to submit any evidence you are asked for. All evidence apart from some forms of ID or residency evidence can be submitted digitally using your SFE online account.

7. Check if you are eligible for extra support

There may be circumstances where you are able to access some extra money, for example if you have a disability, have children or are studying for a medical, social work or teaching course. You can find out more about what is available here.

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