Guidance

Guidance for students from England, Wales and Northern Ireland

SLC issues guidance for students from England, Wales and Northern Ireland and answers common questions related to the COVID-19 outbreak.

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.

Part-time undergraduate and postgraduate Master’s and Doctoral students can also apply now.

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?

Yes, we’ve now reopened our contact centres for students in England, Wales and Northern Ireland following a temporary closure.

Before calling to check the status of your application, you should sign into your online account and check the status there.

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.

How long is it taking to process evidence and applications?

As this is our busiest time of year, it’s currently taking up to 6 weeks for evidence and applications to be processed.

Check the status of your application and make sure you’ve sent everything we’ve asked for in your online account.

If you’re unsure what your application status means, you can find out more information.

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:

2019/20 Academic year

If your student finance has already been calculated for 2019/20 using the CYI process, we may need to contact your parent(s) or partner for financial evidence for the 2019/20 tax year. In this case, we’ll get in touch with them in late 2020. If their income is different to what they estimated previously, your student finance will have to be recalculated.

I’m a Migrant Worker and have been put on furlough, how will the COVID-19 outbreak affect this?

If you’ve been put on furlough, this will be considered as employment and you may continue to qualify as a migrant worker.

We consider all migrant worker applications on a case by case basis, meaning you should still apply so we can begin to assess your circumstances.

If there are any changes to your employment status, you should let us know.

I’m a Migrant Worker and self-employed with no work or have become involuntarily unemployed, how will the COVID-19 outbreak affect this?

If you’re self-employed with no work or have become involuntarily unemployed, you should register with your Jobcentre Plus or Department for Work and Pensions. You may continue to qualify as a migrant worker.

We consider all migrant worker applications on a case by case basis, meaning you should still apply so we can begin to assess your circumstances.

If there are any changes to your employment status, you should let us know.

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.

In 2020/21 my course will mostly involve online learning, so I’ll be staying at home to study remotely. How will this affect my student finance?

You’ll still be entitled to a Tuition Fee Loan, means tested Maintenance Loan and any grants you qualify for.

Your Maintenance Loan and any grants you’re entitled to will be paid as normal so long as your uni or college confirm you’ve registered with them. Your Tuition Fee Loan will be paid each term when your university confirms your attendance to us, even if you’ve been studying remotely. Whether you are online learning for one term or the whole academic year will have no effect on this.

If your course is classed as a ‘distance learning’ course, you can apply for a Tuition Fee Loan and Disabled Students’ Allowances only. However, if you are distance learning due to a disability, you may also qualify for a Maintenance Loan.

I was supposed to be living away from home at my uni or college during term time, but I will now be staying at home as my course will involve online learning. Will this affect my student finance?

Yes, it’s important that you inform us of where you’re living during the academic year as this will have an impact on the rate of Maintenance Loan you’re entitled to.

Students who are living away from home during term time are entitled to a higher rate of Maintenance Loan than students living at home, to meet the higher living costs.

If we have the wrong information about where you’re living during your course you’ll have to repay any funding you were overpaid, this could affect your funding in future years. To update your living location, sign in to your online account.

Visit our pages to learn more about Maintenance Loan rates for:

I cannot meet the UK residency requirements because COVID-19 restrictions prevented me from travelling to the UK. Will this be considered when my eligibility for funding is being assessed?

Yes, if you can provide evidence that COVID-19 caused you to have a temporary break in your residency from the UK you should still be eligible for student finance.

I’m due to start a course in the UK in September 2020, but I’m unable to be in the UK at the start of the academic year. Will I still be eligible for student finance and be paid in my first term?

Yes, you will simply be considered as ‘temporarily absent’ from the UK. You’ll be deemed eligible for student finance so long as you meet all other eligibility criteria.

To be paid in your first term you must ensure you’re registered with your uni or college and have a UK bank account which your student finance can be paid into.

If you’re an undergraduate student who has applied for a Tuition Fee Loan, you’ll have your fee paid each term when your provider confirms your attendance, even if you’ve been studying online from abroad.

This exception has only been put in place due to the restrictions caused by COVID-19, you should travel to the UK to attend your course once it is safe to do so.

Will my payments be delayed?

No. SLC can confirm that students will receive their scheduled or next instalment of their Maintenance Loan at the planned start of their summer term, regardless of whether their university or provider has made alternative arrangements for teaching.

Will I still get paid if I’m not studying on campus anymore or my school, college or university has closed?

Higher Education

We can confirm that students will receive their scheduled or next instalment of their Maintenance Loan at the planned start of their summer term, regardless of whether their university or provider has closed or made alternative arrangements for teaching.

Further Education

For Advanced Learner Loans, we will continue to make scheduled fee payment to providers. Providers must continue to inform us if and when a learner’s circumstances change.

For Education Maintenance Allowance in Wales, colleges are allowed to continue EMA payments during the COVID-19 pandemic, at their discretion. Learner absence for reasons of illness, self-isolation or college closure can all be treated as authorised absences.

If my academic year gets extended, will student finance be extended to help me cover that?

If your current academic year gets extended, meaning if teaching is extended and your course lasts longer than 30 weeks and 3 days, we will assess you for a ‘Long Courses Loan’. However, if you finish your course later because of ongoing re-assessments, you won’t be able to get more student finance.

To get a Long Courses Loan you must be getting the extra Maintenance Loan that depends on your household income.

Your university or college will have to tell us about this extension before we can assess you for the Long Courses Loan.

If you’re eligible for Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSAs), you’ll still get this support during any extensions given by your university or college.

Will I still get student finance next year if I have to repeat or extend my study?

Yes. We already have a process for handling this type of situation where students sometimes have to repeat a year for various reasons.

For any period of previous study you will still be able to get a Maintenance Loan.

A Tuition Fee Loan is available for the full length of your first course, plus one extra year if needed. If you don’t have enough years of funding left to cover your course fees, you may be able to get an extra year of support due to compelling personal reasons.

If you’re eligible for Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSAs), you’ll receive DSA support for the duration of your studies. DSAs are unaffected by previous study.

I am still being charged for childcare although my children cannot attend. Will my Childcare Grant still cover this?

Yes. If you are still being charged by your childcare provider, and you’re still a student, your Childcare Grant will still be paid. The amount payable will remain capped at 85% of the cost charged, or the maximum applicable rate of Childcare Grant, whichever is lower.

If you use the Childcare Grant Payment Service, you will need to continue to review the invoices and approve your Childcare Grant payments online.

My childcare provider has closed and you’ve sent me a CCG2 form. If I can’t send this back will I still be paid Childcare?

Don’t worry about sending us a CCG2 form just now if you’re not able to. Our priority is your health and well-being so stay at home. When we get your form later in the year we’ll finalise your payments then.

If you have been overpaid, we’ll reduce your 2020/21 grant entitlement by the overpayment amount. We understand this may cause you financial hardship. Should this happen, we will work with you at the time to find a more affordable way for you to pay back the overpayment.

Will travel grant entitlement be affected for students that have to return early to the UK due to COVID-19?

As long as you’ve spent at least 50% of your term abroad, any travel grant claims for that time abroad can still be submitted and will be processed as normal. Also, any payments already made to you will not be changed.

I’ve had to come back from the UK before the end of my year abroad. I’m now doing alternative study, will I still get my student finance?

Yes. If you are continuing your studies remotely, your tuition fees and living costs will still be paid as planned.

Will joining the temporary paid early register whilst completing assignment affect my entitlement to student finance?

As an NHS or Healthcare student, your student finance entitlement will not change if you join the temporary paid early register. You will continue to receive your Maintenance Loan payments, and we will continue to make payments to your college/university for your tuition.

If my placement is delayed what impact will this have on my student finance?

If your current academic year gets extended, meaning your course lasts longer than 30 weeks and 3 days, we will assess you for what we call a ‘Long Courses Loan’.

The Long Courses Loan is part of the Maintenance Loan so to be eligible, you must be getting the extra Maintenance Loan that depends on your household income.

Your university or college will have to tell us about this extension before we can assess you for the Long Courses Loan.

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.

How is my non-medical helper support affected by COVID-19?

If the type of support offered by your non-medical helper is now done remotely, your Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSAs) will still cover the cost of this. You should agree that remote support is acceptable with your non-medical helper provider.

We understand that you may not have been able to attend classes because they were cancelled by your university or college, and this could have impacted your non-medical helper support. For Student Finance England, cancellations of your non-medical helper will not be paid from your DSAs allowances.

The rules are different for Student Finance Wales and Student Finance Northern Ireland.

I had planned to study abroad in 2020 to 2021, but I’ll now be staying in the UK to study online with my overseas provider. How will this affect my funding?

Normally, students studying abroad for a year of their course would be entitled to a higher amount of Maintenance Loan to help with the costs of living overseas. But as you’ll no longer be living abroad during term time, you’ll now be eligible for the home rates of Maintenance Loan instead, which can vary depending on your specific circumstances:

  • Living at home
  • Living away from home, outside London
  • Living away from home, in London

Visit our pages to learn more about Maintenance Loan rates and amounts for:

You need to make sure we have the correct information about where you’ll be living each term, otherwise you may have to repay any funding you have been overpaid. You can update this information by signing in to your online account now.

Published 27 August 2020