University: Student Loan Horror Stories

I’m kind of a little dubious about writing this post, as I have a sneaky suspicion that this year will be the first I have a real issue with Student Finance. More on that later, because as yet I’ve had pretty much perfect experiences with the UK loan company. Sure, the site is horrendous (though better than the first year I used it), yes the people on the phone lines aren’t the easiest to deal with, but the payment has turned up on time and that’s all I’m really worried about!

 photo Money2_zpss6sspetc.jpgHowever I have been lucky. I know friends who have had payments delayed for weeks, often through no fault of their own. This year SFE have ‘lost’ the financial records of many applicants’ parents – and I’m still concerned that this will delay my own payments. I know of people who have been so confused by the system, so baffled by the information requested that they have unknowingly delayed or even cancelled the payments.

My Voucher Codes have found that nearly 40% of students had experienced problems when applying for or receiving their student loan. Shockingly, over 20% of applicants had their loan payments delayed, with a further 5% experience up to six months of disruption. You can read some of their findings here – it’s an interesting article!

I genuinely have no clue what I would do in this situation. I have savings in which I could live off, but if I as left to pay even a term of my £9k tuition I would struggle. Luckily many universities are understanding as the money ‘will come eventually’ so I guess I just have to keep my fingers crossed – both that I don’t have problem, and that if I do my university are helpful…This year my parents details have been ‘lost’ several times, so as yet I’m still unsure as to whether my application has actually gone through. It says so online, we shall see!

 photo Money3_zpsmwjm7h0k.jpgYou can read more about their research here, but I’ve also been doing some of my own. I asked around on social media whether anyone had had problems, immediately I was inundated with responses. I’ve kept it all anonymous of course, but here’s some of the problems personal friends have experienced;

  • Using siblings’ wages to calculate entitled amount.
  • Changing the amount entitled between April and July this year for no apparently reason.
  • SFE said the university hadn’t confirmed my attendance and to talk to them. Uni said they had and to contact student finance. SFE said there was nothing they could do until the uni confirmed. Repeat.
  • They cut mine this year because (1) they ‘overpaid’ previously and (2) I’m a third year.
  • Term starts in less than two weeks and they STILL haven’t told me what I’m getting…or if I’m even getting anything.
  • The online form was blocked for my application, so I had to fill out a paper copy. And pay for the stamp.

So yes, lots of problems! I don’t have detailed information, I can’t comment on them, but it is clear that perhaps the system isn’t coping as well as it should. Fingers crossed all of these issues are resolved in time for term starting…

How has your experience with Student Finance been? Would any future students appreciate a guide about how to apply for loans?