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University Fees & Student Finance - Coronavirus (Covid-19)

 

There are many current and prospective students across the UK who will have a variety of questions regarding tuition fees and student finance following the outbreak of COVID-19.  Our university solicitors have considered the current position, impact and potential steps that university students may be able to take during these trying times.  Our higher education solicitors provide the following update on the current guidance provided by the UK government and also from the Student Loans Company.

The Student Loans Company (SLC) have confirmed that, as of 24.04.2020, current students who are planning to proceed their studies in September 2020 and have made an application for student finance will proceed as usual.

The SLC states that if a student is currently studying or will be starting a full-time course after 01.08.2020, they should make their online for student finance.  In relation to perspective students, the SLC has confirmed that they are working remotely and that they do not (currently – accurate as of 19.05.2020) expect any delays.

In relation to any evidence that may be required in support of an application, the SLC has confirmed that the evidence may not need to be sent immediately if the individual in question is self-isolating or unwell.  The SLC has confirmed that students will not lose out on student finance if the evidence is submitted later than usual.

 

Household Income

Many applications for student finance are based on household income. This requires details of financial earnings from a student’s parent(s) or their partner in order to reach a calculation as to how much the student should receive in terms of funding. 

The SLC confirms that financial circumstances can change at any time in an individual’s life. This will be particularly relevant following the outbreak of the Coronavirus.

Many students may have already provided financial details from previous tax years for their partner or parents.  If a student’s parent(s) or partner has suffered a loss of earnings or lost their job, their application can be based on “Current Year Income (CYI)”. The SLC makes it clear that this is only possible where the student in question provides details of the previous tax year. 

Our higher education lawyers note that there are different rules and processes depending on which part of the country you live in.  We will be able to advise you accordingly in relation to the particular rules in England and Wales.

It is therefore important for students to consider and collate any evidence as the SLC may contact their parent or partner to obtain financial evidence for the relevant tax year.  The SLC states that, if the student finance has been calculated for 2019/20 using the CYI process, then they may contact the relevant individuals in late 2020.  If the previous stated income is different to that what they previously estimated, then there is a possibility that the student finance in question will have to be re-evaluated and recalculated.

Student Finance England will need to be in receipt of a CYI assessment so that Student Finance England can verify whether the income has decreased by 15% or more.  Student Finance England will require that the student and relevant individuals to keep their income details up to date during the year and then confirm the actual income at the end of the tax year.

 

How to apply

A student will be asked to fill in a Current Year Income assessment and submit this to Student Finance England.  A parent and/or partner if living in the same household will need to complete the form as students are assessed on household income for the same tax year.  It is important to include information such as an individual’s working overtime, any maternity/paternity pay, any casual work/shift work/contract work, any pay increases, bonuses or redundancy pay, any income changes such as change in jobs or return to work and income from self-employment. 

It is essential that individuals keep their income details up to date as the student may be overpaid and will have to pay back any overpayments straightaway

Our university solicitors are able to assist and advise in relation to any queries or applications to Student Finance England or Student Finance Wales.

Our services

Our higher education lawyers are able to assist with the following:-

  • University complaints
  • Academic appeals
  • Mitigating circumstances/extenuating circumstances
  • Fitness to practise proceedings
  • PhD complaints/appeals
  • Exclusions
  • Litigation – breach of contract and/or discrimination claims
  • Complaints to the OIA
  • Student Finance

Our university law experts are passionate and experienced in assisting students through these processes. If you would like to discuss your university law dispute in more detail, then please do not hesitate to contact one of our specialist team of expert education lawyers. Please contact us on 0333 202 7175 or contact us by email on reception@hcbgroup.com.

The information in this blog is accurate as of 19.05.2020.

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