Student finance question(11 Posts)
As student finance has opened for our DCs who will be starting Uni (hopefully) in September I thought I would pick the brains of you old timers who have already done this. I know that for a new application for the academic year 2014-2015 they base it on the household income of 2012-2013 (am I right?) and it says it can use a current years income if there has been a drop in your income but what if your income has gone up compared to that year ?? Based on our income 2012-2013 I have calculated my DD1 will get a bit more than the lowest level of maintenance loan but I know for 2013-2014 our income may take us over the threshold for her getting anything above the lowest amount (ie the non means tested bit). Do we declare this now or do we submit the figures as requested and then next year will it complicate things if we don't apply for the means tested bit ?? Sorry for the complicated post - I hope you understand what I am getting at !!
I hope by kicking this off you will get someone along with good knowledge of this. We were well over so knew it was the minimum both times!
For first year, she'll get the bit of extra money - if they've asked for the figures for 2012-13, that's all you need to give them. However, next year, you can just apply for the non-income assessed SF, which is actually simpler as there's no buggering around with P60s etc.
I just wondered if declaring income in the first year would mean we were automatically asked for them the year after or whether each year is almost like a new application and you can opt in subsequent years not to apply for the means tested bit ??
snowy they will base 2014/15 finance on your 2012/13 household income household,15/16 finance on 2013/14 income and 2016/17 finance on 2014/15 income. So the amount of your DC's loan will fluctuate each year in accordance with your income. If you anticipate that your income will drop by more than 15% this year, you can apply to use this figure instead of your 2012/13 income.
However, if your income has risen in 13/14 it will not affect your DC's loan for this year...it just means they will get a lower loan next year.
Doing a current year assesment can get messy so avoid it if you're not expecting much of a fluctuation.
If you do it you will be asked to fill in the forms again as the year progresses. SFE can alter the award part way through the year if your predicted income alters so this causes budget variations for the student part way through the year.
Then you have to submit the actual figures after the end of the tax year and SFE might adjust the award again so you won't know whether you're coming or going!
Our income dropped considerably on retirement so it was worth doing a current income assessment but it is quite difficult to make an accurate prediction of the current year's income when there are variables. It's relatively easy if you're on PAYE only though.
On the whole it's better to declare your income retrospectively if it isn't going to make an overall difference to the student's grant and loan award over 3-4 years.
Whatever you decide to do always keep really good records of income that you can lay your hands on whenever you need them - bank interest, P60, etc etc., also of pension cotributions. These are tax deductable and so reduce your taxable income for SF purposes.
If you do a CYA they will automatically use that year's actual income for the following year's award unless you continue to want to do a CYA and tell them so.
As I said, it can get messy.
unitarian (or anyone else that might know) could you give more detail about the pension contributions playing a part in the SF. DH is self employed and pays a private personal pension (not linked to his self employment) I am PAYE and pay into a monthly company pension. I did not take either of these into account for DD SF application last year and did not see anywhere that asked about these. Thank you
Once you're in the CYA system, they use those same figures till they become the figures they'd actually use. In DD1s first year we did CYA, and they've used the same figures for years 2 and 3, we've been told there's no way of changing that, despite the fact that our income is significantly better than in the year they used initially.
However, don't expect the helpline people to know what they are talking about - we had to point them to the page on their own site which explained it (badly), and the downloadable form was for about 5 years previously, so they refused to accept it.
I've been given so much contradictory information from the helpline people!
amumthatcares Does your DH have an accountant?
The SF form is much the same as the tax declaration form so his private pension contributions should be being set against his income for tax purposes. His SF form should end up with the same end figure.
You will be expected to provide proof that these contributions are being made along with all the other evidence of income.
The section about this on the SFE form is, if I remember last year's correctly, right at the end.
By the way, they have taken to detroying the evidence papers you submit instead of returning them like they used to so DO NOT SEND ORIGINAL COPIES!!
'Original copies'! Disregard that.
Send copies, keep originals.
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