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Practical Advice if you are expecting your student funding to be late from Student Finance England

Are you expecting your funding to be late this year? Have you applied for your funding in plenty of time? Have Student Finance England (SFE) caused a delay in your funding?

Regardless of why your funding might be delayed, the following information and guidance tells you what can be done.

When will I receive my money?

Normally, if you are an undergraduate degree student from the UK, the application and payment process is as follows:

  1. You make an application for funding to Student Finance, usually online at www.gov.uk/student-finance
  2. Student Finance process and assess your application. This can take 4 to 6 weeks.
  3. Student Finance confirm in writing that your application has been approved, and confirm the amounts of funding that they will pay.
  4. You sign and return your 'Online Declaration Form', which is your signature agreeing to the Terms & Conditions of your borrowing from the Student Loans Company.
  5. For new students only, Student Loans Company check your National Insurance Number with the Department of Works and Pensions.  This can take a week to process.
  6. Once you have started your course, the University confirms this electronically with Student Finance, and your first payment is released into your bank account. This can take a further 3 to 5 working days.

Therefore, as long as you have applied for funding in plenty of time, once you have registered at University and started your course, your student finance should be in your bank account within the first few days of your course.

However, if you have made a late student finance application, or there is any delay in any of the above steps e.g. Student Finance ask for more documents/evidence etc, then the result may be that your first payment is delayed.

The first step here is for you to contact Student Finance England and ask them how long they estimate your application will take to get processed and your money paid to you.  This will help you plan ahead.

Can Student Finance England pay me an interim payment?

Even if you have applied for funding based on your household income, SFE can sometimes release some basic Maintenance Loan to you, while your full assessment is waiting to be done.
So, don't be too concerned if you receive a 'Non Income Assessed' letter first. It could just be Student Finance England trying to pay you some of your money quickly, while your full assessment is waiting to be done.

If you have been told that your funding has been delayed due to a query/delay/issue with your household income figures, consider asking for a 'Non Income Assessed' Loan to be paid while you are waiting for the matter to be resolved.

I am struggling to get through to Student Finance England on the telephone.

At peak times of the year during August, September and October, this can be a common problem for everyone, including University staff, although it is improving each year. Please note that although our Student Financial Consultants can use a special helpline for Universities, even this service can get just as busy.

You may be able to contact SFE quicker if you telephone them nearer the beginning or the end of their working day - their contact details can be found here

What can I do about my rent, mortgage, and/or child-care while I wait for my funding to come from Student Finance England?

Talk to your landlord/lender/childminder and inform them that your Student Finance has been delayed and this will affect your ability to pay on time - you can then discuss any options you may have and/or the financial implications of a late payment. Most are understanding of this, but if you feel that you need further support, please contact the Student Financial Guidance team, who will be able to help you.

The University's Accommodation and Credit Control teams are aware of the issues students sometimes have with their funding, so it's best to keep them informed at all times so that they can review your University account accordingly.


What other support or help can the University of Sunderland provide?

As long as you are registered on your course and applying for UK student finance, the University can provide you with a short-term Emergency Loan, providing basic short-term financial support until your student funding arrives from Student Finance England. Further information about Emergency Loans and how to apply can be found here. Also, our Student Financial Consultants can give guidance on completing an Emergency Loan application.

An Emergency Loan is usually paid to you the same day, so it is a fast process.

In the meantime, speak with your landlord/mortgage lender, childminder, and/or other creditors to advise them about any expected delay in receiving your Student Finance funding.

Can the University contact Student Finance England for me?

Students often ask the Student Financial Guidance Team if we are able to contact SFE on a student's behalf to help resolve issues or find out what is causing a delay in payment.

The answer to this question is yes - but only if the student first gives SFE consent to share information with the University. This is for Data Protection purposes of course, as otherwise SFE cannot share your information with a third party. SFE refer to this process as a student giving them 'Consent To Share'. You can set this up in one of two ways:


- Using your SFE online account. You can find information and instructions on the government website here - https://www.gov.uk/guidance/allowing-someone-else-to-manage-your-student-loan-account


- By simply phoning SFE and setting it up with one of their advisers. We have provided PDF instructions on this below to help you set this up by phone:

I am worried about my fees being paid. Can I still start my course?

Yes - the University will ask you during the registration process how your tuition fees are going to be paid. UK/EU students will still be allowed to start their course even if their Student Finance application is still being processed.

If you have applied for the Tuition Fee Loan from Student Finance, you should simply inform staff at registration that you have done so and are waiting for this to be processed. You should still be allowed to register, but you should keep the University informed of the progress of your application and expected timescale for this being paid.

If you are paying your own fees, then you should inform staff at registration of this. Self-financing students should check the relevant University fees policy to see what dates their fee payments are expected to be made. If there is going to be a delay with this payment, it's your responsibility to keep the University informed at all times of the reason for the delay and expected timescales for your fees being paid.

If you would like guidance and support with any of the above, feel free to contact or call into see our Student Financial Consultants.


Any other questions?

If you need any further financial guidance, information or support, please get in touch with our Student Financial Consultants.

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