Guidance

Guidance for prospective students

SLC issues guidance for prospective students and answers common questions related to the COVID-19 outbreak.

This guidance is for students who have applied for student finance in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Students from Scotland can find more information on the SAAS website.

Can I still apply for student finance?

New and existing students in England, Wales and Northern Ireland can continue to apply for student finance and we will continue to process any applications that have been received as quickly as we can.

Postgraduate and part-time undergraduate student finance applications for academic year 2020 to 2021 are scheduled to open later this year. We will keep you updated on our social media channels.

Will my application be delayed?

Although these are extraordinary circumstances, we will continue to process any applications that have been received as quickly as we can. We do not currently expect any delays.

Can I still contact you if I need help?

We’re pleased to confirm that we have now began to operate a partial service in our contact centres for students in England, Wales and Northern Ireland following a temporary closure.

We only have a limited number of staff available and we are prioritising urgent enquiries so please do not call if you have a general enquiry.

Our Student Finance England social media team are now available to answer questions about your funding on Facebook and Twitter.

Students in Wales can find out general information on the Student Finance Wales Facebook and Twitter pages.

What if I cannot post the evidence you’ve asked for because I’m self-isolating or unwell?

Don’t worry about sending evidence just now if you’re not able to. Our priority is your safety and well-being so stay at home. If you send us evidence later than normal we’ll make sure you don’t lose out on student finance because of this.

I cannot send new medical evidence from my GP because of COVID-19. Do I have to wait until I have new evidence to make my application for Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSAs)?

No. Due to the current COVID-19 outbreak, we understand that you may not be able to get any new medical evidence or diagnostic assessment reports. You should send us any evidence you already have so we can check your eligibility for DSAs. If we need additional evidence, we will let you know.

Student Finance England will accept an evaluation of need in place of a full diagnostic assessment if you have Specific Learning Difficulties. If you have an evaluation of need, you should email it to dsa_medical_evidence@slc.co.uk along with your full name, customer reference number and date of birth. Student Finance England will accept any evaluation of need completed up to and including 31 August 2020.

I cannot post my DSA1 form to you because of the COVID-19 outbreak. Can I email it?

Yes. If you’ve printed and signed your DSA1 form, we can accept a scanned copy of it. We can also accept a digital version of the form with your digital signature.

The process is different depending on who is providing your DSAs.

  • For Student Finance England, send your form to dsa_team@slc.co.uk
  • For Student Finance Wales, send your form to sfw_dsa_team@slc.co.uk
  • For Student Finance Northern Ireland, send your form to the DSAs officer are your local Student Finance NI (SFNI) office.

Please be aware, these email addresses may not be able to respond to general DSA queries.

My parent/partner has recently lost their job. How will this affect my student finance?

Some student finance is based on your household income so we’ll need financial details from your parent(s) or partner to calculate how much funding you can get. However, we understand that financial circumstances can change and we have a process in place to help with that. This process makes sure you won’t lose out on any student finance you’re entitled to.

During the student finance application process your parent(s)/partner will be asked to provide financial details from a previous tax year. If they’ve lost their job and are not earning as much now as they did then, we can look at your application based on their ‘Current Year Income (CYI)’. But this can only be done after they’ve given us the details of the previous tax year.

There are different rules for the CYI process depending on where you live in the UK and also the type of student finance you’re applying for – to find out the specific rules that apply to you go to the relevant website:

I am looking to apply as a Migrant Worker, how will the COVID-19 outbreak affect this?

We understand that you may be worried about qualifying as a Migrant Worker due to changes in your employment. We are working with the government to answer any questions you may have and will have an update soon.

If your employment hasn’t been affected, you should apply now.

If your employment has been affected, you can apply now as an EU student to ensure your Tuition Fee Loan is in place. You can apply for Migrant Worker funding later, once we have clear guidance for you.

I cannot complete my DSA1 form as my university or college is closed. What should I do?

When filling in the DSA1 form, you can leave Section 5 blank. You should ask your university or college to send us an email confirming:

  • your full name
  • your customer reference number (if known)
  • the academic year you’re applying for
  • your course start date
  • your course end date
  • your year of study. For example, year 1 of 3
  • your level of study. For example, undergraduate or postgraduate
  • whether you’re in attendance on your course or studying as part of a distance learning course
  • whether you’re studying full-time or part-time
  • if you’re studying part-time, the intensity of your course. For example, 50% of the full-time equivalent

For Student Finance England, your college or university should email dsa_team@slc.co.uk

For Student Finance Wales, your college or university should email sfw_dsa_team@slc.co.uk

For Student Finance Northern Ireland, your college or university should email the DSAs officer at your local Student Finance NI (SFNI) office.

I cannot get to a Study Needs Assessment Centre because of COVID-19. What should I do?

Needs Assessments can be done remotely if you cannot attend in person. The Assessment Centre will confirm in their report that your assessment was completed remotely.

If you prefer a face to face assessment, or the disability/condition you have cannot be assessed remotely, you should contact your Assessment Centre as soon as you can. They will give you further information about booking your Needs Assessment.

If your Needs Assessment is completed remotely or face to face, we will only process your application for Disabled Students’ Allowances once we receive the report from your Assessment Centre.

Published 25 March 2020
Last updated 21 May 2020 + show all updates
  1. Added new guidance for students applying for Disabled Students' Allowances (DSAs).

  2. Added new guidance for prospective Migrant Worker students.

  3. Updated to confirm SFni full-time launch and guidance on evidence.

  4. Updated to confirm partial re-opening of contact centres.

  5. We have added clarification that this guidance is for English, Welsh and NI customers. Have provided link to SAAS website for Scottish customers.

  6. I've added the section 'My parent/partner has recently lost their job. How will this affect my student finance?'. This includes links to another Gov.uk page, Student Finance Wales website, Student Finance Northern Ireland website

  7. First published.