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Student finance approved then rejected then approved then rejected watch

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    Hi,

    I'm just wondering if anyone has any advice for how to deal with this situation (or if I even have a leg to stand on at all!).

    In February my mother died and I missed too much of semester 2 to sit the exams. The university recommended that I resit the second semester the following year and said that student finance had discretionary funding to give out in cases like this so they believed I would be funded for the full year.

    To confirm this, I called Student Finance on at least 2 occasions (giving my ref number so the calls should still be there) and they confirmed each time that I would be eligible for full year funding given the situation. I then made the application and was told to send in evidence with a cover letter explaining I would only be there for the second semester but needed funding for the full year. I did that and received the normal confirmation letter confirming funding for the year.

    Now the new year has started, the university sent a change of circumstances form to student finance confirming they expect me to begin in the second semester, which resulted in student finance removing all funding. I objected once and they reassessed me to get £15 for the whole year (how on Earth they came to that figure I don't know!). I've now called them several times and every time they just repeat that the computer says I'm suspended so I get nothing. They refused to let me speak to a supervisor first time around, then they arranged a call back which was never made. I'm now waiting for a third time for a call back but was told repeatedly that they'll just say the same thing.

    I don't know if the people I'm speaking to don't understand the discretionary procedures for extenuating circumstances or they genuinely have no powers at all to grant me funding, but given I've planned the entire year based on getting the confirmed funding (and am therefore homeless without money, can't get student funding for not being at university and can't get benefits for being a student) it's hard to accept there's nothing they can do.

    Thanks if you managed to get through all that!
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    Are the university classing you as full time or part time? This will be crucial. As a part-time student you would only ever get the Tuition Fee Loan and no Maintenance Loan/Grant.

    You can extend your Student Finance entitlement through the Compelling Personal Reasons process. If you failed or had to drop out of a year due to something like a bereavement, and could provide proof of this, then you could have that year's funding entitlement reinstated. However, this would not over-ride a part-time status limiting you to the tuition fee funding only.

    I would suggest that you next speak to your uni and ask exactly what they have told Student Finance about your circumstances. If the uni has reported you as being part-time this year, then there's nothing you can do to get maintenance money.
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    (Original post by Klix88)
    Are the university classing you as full time or part time? This will be crucial. As a part-time student you would only ever get the Tuition Fee Loan and no Maintenance Loan/Grant.

    You can extend your Student Finance entitlement through the Compelling Personal Reasons process. If you failed or had to drop out of a year due to something like a bereavement, and could provide proof of this, then you could have that year's funding entitlement reinstated. However, this would not over-ride a part-time status limiting you to the tuition fee funding only.

    I would suggest that you next speak to your uni and ask exactly what they have told Student Finance about your circumstances. If the uni has reported you as being part-time this year, then there's nothing you can do to get maintenance money.
    I'll check but they just told them on the change of circumstances form that I wouldn't be there for semester 1. I don't think that would make me part time - I will be there full time, just for half the year.

    I can't get anything even though they verbally told me I would get funding and then sent me a printed schedule? I've planned my financial security around what they have provably promised to give me (if they hadn't promised it I wouldn't have suspended) and now therefore have no house, no money and no income. While the SLC seem to be somewhat untouchable, at the end of the day they are a financial company and any other bank would have been thoroughly penalised for acting like that!

    Thanks for the reply.
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    (Original post by callum9999)
    I'll check but they just told them on the change of circumstances form that I wouldn't be there for semester 1. I don't think that would make me part time - I will be there full time, just for half the year.
    The change of circumstances process does require the uni to explicitly state whether you're full or part-time in their view - this isn't left for SF to interpret as they see fit. I think it would be good to clarify with the uni. The admin person who completed the form may not be aware of the implications for you (although you'd hope they would be).

    Good luck - it's a horrible situation for you.
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    (Original post by Klix88)
    The change of circumstances process does require the uni to explicitly state whether you're full or part-time in their view - this isn't left for SF to interpret as they see fit. I think it would be good to clarify with the uni. The admin person who completed the form may not be aware of the implications for you (although you'd hope they would be).

    Good luck - it's a horrible situation for you.
    Thanks again. I'm waiting for them to reply to my email but I don't see how this would affect anything now anyway? Surely that only affects second semester funding and I can cross that bridge when it comes to it. At the moment I'm more concerned how I'm going to pay for food etc this semester!
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    (Original post by callum9999)
    Thanks again. I'm waiting for them to reply to my email but I don't see how this would affect anything now anyway? Surely that only affects second semester funding and I can cross that bridge when it comes to it. At the moment I'm more concerned how I'm going to pay for food etc this semester!
    Part-time students only get the Tuition Fee Loan and won't get any Maintenance Loan/Grant, so it's critical. In addition, if the uni has told SF that you are not attending this semester, that would explain why SF initially agreed to funding and then withdrew it later - the contact with your uni would come after your application and assessment. You can only get Student Finance when you're a student and you may have been wrongly advised in the first place.

    Your situation definitely isn't straightforward, but what the uni has told SF can radically alter the SF support to which you're entitled.
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    Thanks.

    Student finance finally responded to my complaint and have admitted fault for misadvising me and offered £50 compensation if I agree to close the complaint.

    While I get the impression that nothing will ever be done for me, £50 is such a negligible amount it won't affect my homelessness situation at all, so I have nothing to lose by rejecting that and fruitlessly fighting it.
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    Hi,

    As an update to this I won my case with the independent assessor who recommended they paid the amount in full with an additional £100 compensation because of "unacceptable delays and unjustifiable obstructions" they placed in the complaints process.

    This was 3 weeks ago and after initially being told I'd get a response within a week, all I'm being told now is they're "still considering the case and we'll let you know when it's done". Is there a time-frame they have to respond by?
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    (Original post by callum9999)
    Hi,

    As an update to this I won my case with the independent assessor who recommended they paid the amount in full with an additional £100 compensation because of "unacceptable delays and unjustifiable obstructions" they placed in the complaints process.

    This was 3 weeks ago and after initially being told I'd get a response within a week, all I'm being told now is they're "still considering the case and we'll let you know when it's done". Is there a time-frame they have to respond by?
    I'd go back to the independent assessor and ask them. They may have the power to chase SF up for a response.
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    (Original post by Klix88)
    I'd go back to the independent assessor and ask them. They may have the power to chase SF up for a response.
    Thanks, that seemed obvious now you said it!

    I did that and they didn't respond either, and calling Student Finance achieved nothing as they had no idea what I was talking about and they weren't authorised to contact anyone in the relevant department...

    Thankfully they finally replied on Friday though, and I've just been notified that my payment has been submitted to the bank.

    Thanks everyone for advice - I almost didn't bother appealing but I'm very glad I did now!
 
 
 
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