The Student Room Group

Student Loan Eligibility

Hello,

I'm a British citizen who will have been living in Japan for 4.5 years by the time I return in August. I am currently applying to teacher training providers for courses starting in September 2024. From what I've been reading it seems that in order to be eligible for student finance you need to have been living in the UK for the last 3 years (before the course starts), therefore ruling me out.

However, I've been seeing some mentions about how if your absence from the UK was temporary then you may still be eligible for the support. Could you possibly outline some more of the conditions around this?

I realise 4.5 years seems like a long time for a "temporary" absence, but the programme I have been working on is very much a temporary arrangement. It's the Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme (the JET Programme). Every working visa that I've had has been for one year at a time, so I've been renewing it yearly, and the Programme itself allows you to re-contract a maximum of five times, so it has a 5 year limit. I've also kept all my home bank accounts open through this and I've been using my parents address as a permanent address to have things delivered to.

I fear this is really make or break for my application, because the teacher training bursary, that I am otherwise eligible for, is tied to my eligibility for student finance. To pay for the course myself would be very difficult, especially as I could potentially be facing international student fees from the universities, although this still needs to be determined.

Any help you can give will be much appreciated.
(edited 1 month ago)
Hi there,

To be eligible you normally need to have lived in the UK for 3 years prior to the start of your course. However, time spent abroad is fine so long as it's temporary. For example, do you have a temporary visa or contract for your time abroad?

Thanks, Drew
Reply 2
Original post by Drew SLC
Hi there,
To be eligible you normally need to have lived in the UK for 3 years prior to the start of your course. However, time spent abroad is fine so long as it's temporary. For example, do you have a temporary visa or contract for your time abroad?
Thanks, Drew

Hello Drew, thank you for your reply.

During my time here I have been working on a 1-year "instructor" visa, teaching in schools in Japan. If the JET Programme determines that you have performed your duties well, then they may offer another contract when the previous one finishes. As such, I have had to apply for another 1-year visa extension each year to continue working. I am now looking to return home and start a career in teaching. And as mentioned earlier, the JET Programme has a 5-year limit and my intention was always to return home.

I initially came out here with a different teaching company called Interac, but this was also on a 1-year "instructor" visa.

As far as evidence goes, I have stamps and the initial 1 year visa that I arrived on in my old passport (I had to renew it whilst out here). I also have a photocopy of that initial visa. I have a document from my employer on the JET Programme called 任免通知書 which translates to "letter of employment and dismissal" that shows that each of my working periods lasted until the August of that year. Unfortunately the previously mentioned documents are in Japanese. However, I have also asked my employer for a 在職証明書 which translates to certificate of employment, and this will be in English. This will outline the years that I have been employed by them, conditions of my employment, and my salary.

I hear its also good to be able to provide evidence of correspondence going to your permanent address in the UK, and I'll be able to provide statements from my bank account that I have kept open whilst I've been away.

If there is anything else that you can think of that could help me prove that this was a temporary stay in Japan then please let me know so that I can try to gather all evidence necessary before returning to the UK.

And sorry for such a long message!
Hi there,

If you are able to show that your visas are temporary or that your employment contracts were temporary we can use this as evidence. We can also accept evidence that shows you still had links to the UK such as bank accounts or you can show that you still paid for bills in the UK as this would should show that you did plan to return. This would be the only type of evidence that you can submit.

Thanks, Drew
Reply 4
Original post by Drew SLC
Hi there,
If you are able to show that your visas are temporary or that your employment contracts were temporary we can use this as evidence. We can also accept evidence that shows you still had links to the UK such as bank accounts or you can show that you still paid for bills in the UK as this would should show that you did plan to return. This would be the only type of evidence that you can submit.
Thanks, Drew

Hi again Drew,

I'll get to work gathering things that will help to prove these points. Thank you for your help
You're welcome. If you have any further questions you can contact us again on this platform.

Thanks, Drew
Reply 6
Original post by Drew SLC
You're welcome. If you have any further questions you can contact us again on this platform.
Thanks, Drew

Hello again Drew,

I've finally submitted my application. I'm a little concerned as to how long it will take because the 6-8 week timeline would be cutting it rather fine as it is, and my application is a little more complicated than most so I imagine will take some extra time. I realise this is my own doing, so I'm not complaining at all.

But my question is, is there a way that I could submit a letter to outline my situation or provide evidence in advance? I would at least like to write up a cover letter outlining the details of my employment and living situation over the last 3 years so that they know why I believe that I am eligible for student finance support.

Under my application there is an upload digital copies button, which states that it is for uploading documents or forms that have been requested. Could I pre-emptively submit something like a cover letter (or even the evidence we discussed above) in the hopes of expediting the process?
Original post by JDJ7144
Hello again Drew,
I've finally submitted my application. I'm a little concerned as to how long it will take because the 6-8 week timeline would be cutting it rather fine as it is, and my application is a little more complicated than most so I imagine will take some extra time. I realise this is my own doing, so I'm not complaining at all.
But my question is, is there a way that I could submit a letter to outline my situation or provide evidence in advance? I would at least like to write up a cover letter outlining the details of my employment and living situation over the last 3 years so that they know why I believe that I am eligible for student finance support.
Under my application there is an upload digital copies button, which states that it is for uploading documents or forms that have been requested. Could I pre-emptively submit something like a cover letter (or even the evidence we discussed above) in the hopes of expediting the process?

Hi there,

Yes you can send a detailed cover letter/further evidence. You can upload this online in your account. Application take 6-8 weeks to process once we have everything. If the team need anything else hey will email you, it may go to junk folder.

Thanks,
Claire
Reply 8
Original post by Claire SFE
Hi there,
Yes you can send a detailed cover letter/further evidence. You can upload this online in your account. Application take 6-8 weeks to process once we have everything. If the team need anything else hey will email you, it may go to junk folder.
Thanks,
Claire

Great! I'll get working on it then. Thank you for the information Claire
Original post by JDJ7144
Great! I'll get working on it then. Thank you for the information Claire

You're welcome!
Have a nice day!
Thanks,
Claire

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