I have a maintenance loan but can't get tuition fees. Help please!

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HeyItsEms
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Hi,

So, I'm currently at university, my mum helped do my application and I just found out (8 months down the line) that I haven't been accepted for a tuition fee loan but I've got the full maintenance loan. My mum doesn't earn a lot and I'm not working and haven't since before covid so I definitely can't afford to pay it. Anyone have any advice on what to do? My friend got both, I don't understand how I got one but not the other and now I'm worried I'm going to be kicked out of uni because I can't afford to pay for it. I've been on the phone to student finance stuck in a queue for the past 45 minutes and would really like advice. Has anyone else gone though this and what happened?

Kind regards,

Emily
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ZARUK2021
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Did you apply for both? Maybe you forgot to tick the box for both? Only SFE will be able to help. Relax & just keep holding as there is nothing else you can do.
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HeyItsEms
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I just finished on the call and they said that because I got help with maintenance at college I can't get tuition fees for my first year of uni but I'll be accepted for the rest of the years. it really sucks. I don't know what else to do as I can't afford it, I'm going to email my tutor and see what he suggests as well.
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artful_lounger
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First of all, check with SFE whether you applied for a maintenance loan AND tuition fee loan, and were denied the tuition fee loan, or if you only applied for the maintenance loan. If the latter, I believe you may still be able to apply for it. You need to do this though because a) the account and application is in your name and it's going to be much more complicated letting them know you have consented for them to release your information to someone else (your mum) and b) you will need to apply every single year of your undergrad degree for SFE and you're going to need to start doing that yourself sooner or later.

Finding out whether it was simply your mum didn't apply for the tuition fee loan as well as maintenance loan in error, or if you have been denied funding, is important because if you have applied for a tuition fee loan and got rejected, there are some considerations to make. First of all, you can appeal the decision from SFE. It takes at least 20 days, and you need to submit evidence supporting your appeal (specifically, why you think it's wrong; including e.g. policy documents, any information that you believe they didn't consider, any relevant medical evidence if applicable). Normally you should be eligible for a tuition fee loan if you are also eligible for a maintenance loan, unless you have prior study in higher education (i.e. at uni level). Note this is study not funded study. Even if your prior HE study was self funded, this still counts against your eligibility for funding from SFE.

Whether your appeal or not, you should also contact your uni to discuss the situation with them as a matter of urgency. I would recommend contacting your student union, student services, and trying to contact any fees/accounts teams in the uni about it; student services and/or your personal tutor may be able to direct you to the right person in the latter case. If it was just the case that you (or your mum) forgot to tick that you wanted to apply for a tuition fee loan and you are still able to apply for one, let them know that is the case and you are currently applying for it and ask if they can suspend payment until that processes. If not then, no matter what they're going to expect you to pay the seems in some capacity at some point, but you may be able to negotiate a payment plan in view of your current circumstances, and they may be able to highlight any scholarships or hardship funds you can apply to in view of your situation.

Also check to see what fees you would be liable for if you temporarily interrupted your studies now, or withdrew from the programme entirely. As it's quite late in the year, you may be liable for all of them anyway; however it might be for example if you interrupt your studies before the exam term, you will need to pay a slightly smaller proportion of the fees. You could then use the interruption period (either just the remainder of this academic year, or extending to also next academic year) to look for work to save up to pay the fees (either from this year or in future).

If you do find you aren't eligible for a full time tuition fee loan, then you do have some options. First of all, if it was due to prior study then you may only not be eligible for a tuition fee loan for the first year of your course. You could then try and arrange a payment plan with or without an interruption of study as above. You may still be eligible for a tuition fee loan in later years of the course then. You will also still be eligible for a maintenance loan even if you aren't eligible for a tuition fee loan, so if you can find a way to support yourself in terms of living costs, you can potentially use the maintenance loan to pay your tuition fees. Due to the timing for the disbursement of the maintenance loan you would probably need to arrange a payment plan each year with the uni (in advance).

Finally, normally part-time funding is calculated separately to full time funding, and prior study at FT intensity doesn't affect you entitlement to PT funding (normally), so you could potentially still be eligible for a tuition fee loan and, for in-person courses, maintenance loan, for a PT degree instead. You could ask your uni if they offer PT study options for your current programme, or look at similar courses offered as PT at other unis.
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