Is this correct? Independent 24 yr old son and maintenance grant

(13 Posts)
anythingforaquietnight Mon 19-Aug-13 13:25:03

Can anyone offer any advice?

My lovely Ds has got into Uni this year at the ripe old age of 24 (yaaaah, SO pleased for him - its been a long struggle for him to get there).

He left home at 18 and has lived independently since then.

He has been confused by the finance/loans situation and after another phone call to the student finance people ( not sure who he spoke to) has apparently been told that the fact that he has been living independently for 6 years is irrelevant as he is 24 at the start of his course and that any maintenance grant is to be means tested on his parents income for the duration of his degree.

He is (recently) single and childless.

I didn't expect this. He is an independent adult.

Can anyone confirm this or offer any link to anywhere that confirms this definitively? I havent managed to find much online to confirm.

Any help would be much appreciated

https://www.gov.uk/apply-for-student-finance/household-income

This link says:
Your parents’ income is assessed if you’re under 25 and depend on them financially

If he doesnt depend on you financially then the above wouldnt apply (you would have thought)

anythingforaquietnight Mon 19-Aug-13 13:42:21

yes ilove I thought that to, but the phone call this morning contradicted that. Thanks for your reply and the link.

I've spoken to him and he is going to ring again. There must be some miscommunication somewhere. Its is large print on the website, so you'd have thought it was right!

www.sfengland.slc.co.uk/householdincome

the above link says this:

Dependent students
If you're a dependent student your income and your parents' income is assessed. You're classed as a dependent student if you're under 25 years old and depend on your parents' financial support.

Independent students
If you're an independent student your income and your partner's income is assessed.

You're classed as an independent student if:

- you're 25 or older
- you have a child
- you have no living parents
- you are or have been married or in a civil partnership
- you've supported yourself for three years
- you're estranged from your parents

laura2323 Mon 19-Aug-13 13:43:41

This happened to me. They didn't take into account that at the time my mum was unemployed and I earned more than my step dad. I had been independent for 7 years when I started uni at 23. I also had my own house and mortgage. I got the maximum loans n maintenance for dependant students. Then in my third year student loans company agreed they were wrong and back dated the money. My advice is to just send in as much evidence of your son being independent as possible. Then when he starts uni go to the student advice centre/NUS and they will help. I also had letters off my tutors to back me up.

and that last link is to the Student Finance website so they are contradicting their own information!

anythingforaquietnight Mon 19-Aug-13 14:06:48

Thanks for taking the time to wade through all details.

The information is so ambiguous. The definition of an independent student list doesn't specify if you have to tick more than one box to qualify as independent. He had read through the info when he applied and assumed it meant that if he had supported himself for 3 years, even though he was under 25 he was classed as independent under their guidelines.

laura thank you, thats very sound advice. Its good to know that there is the possibility to get it back dated. He is panicking a bit. He had factored in the maintenance grant as being his main food/bills money as the whole of the maintenance loan is going on his accommodation. I'm glad you managed to sort your finances out.

www.sfengland.slc.co.uk/full-time-study/new-students/how-to-apply/evidence-students.aspx - another page telling him how to prove his independence:

Evidence if you're an 'independent' student under 25

If you're under 25 and want to be classed as 'independent' from your parents, you need to give evidence to prove your 'independent' status. You can do this by sending in evidence that proves *one of the following*:

- that you've supported yourself financially for three years (financially independent)
- that you're married, separated or divorced,
- that you have dependent children
- that your parents are dead
- that you're no longer in contact with your parents

anythingforaquietnight Mon 19-Aug-13 14:31:59

ilovepowerhoop brilliant, thank you again. That looks much more hopeful. He has been away travelling for parts of that time, so it may be a struggle to prove. I'm emailing him the links and hopefully he can get it sorted from there.

AnnoyedByAlfieBear Mon 19-Aug-13 15:15:40

I went to uni at 24 and had been working up until then (so financially independent despite living at home) and they did went by my earnings only. Nothing to do with my parents.

This was just before the most recent increases in tuition fees (7 years ago now).

SlowlorisIncognito Mon 19-Aug-13 22:51:11

His best bet is to ring student finance and ask what evidence they would accept. If he is going to uni this September/October he should do this ASAP, as student finance are very slow, and he should get his application in as soon as possible to avoid delays with recieving it in September.

Musicaltheatremum Mon 26-Aug-13 17:57:39

My daughter has a friend who at 22 managed to get finance as he had lived away from home for 6 years and his family had not supported him as they couldn't afford it.

anythingforaquietnight Thu 29-Aug-13 18:50:21

My boy says a huge thank you again for all your advice. I sent him this thread and he's just phoned to say that after following your links and further digging and phone calls he has finally spoken to someone at student finance who has confirmed that he fulflls the criteria for an independent student and has explained how to apply and what evidence they need.

He was concerned that they would have to stop his current application and start again so no money in place for this first term, but they have told him that they will leave everything in place and then juggle the figures when he has submitted the evidence.

It looks like misinformation from the first student finance advisor he spoke to backed up by the 'vagueness' of online definitions of 'independent' as discussed here.

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