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Son only entitled to 2 years student finance

(19 Posts)
Beebearjo Sun 10-Jun-18 15:45:39

My son left a his uni course a few days into his second year last October due to anxiety/depression and realising the course was not right for him. He had purposely not applied for funding for the second year as he had been unsure about continuing for some time and did not want to 'use up' a year of student finance when there was a possibility of needing it for a different degree course.
He has since got a place on another degree course far more suited to him which he is due to start this September. However student finance have contacted him to say he is only entitled funding for two years of the three year course. This will mean us finding £9250 for the fees for his first year. We have no savings, have very modest bus wages and two other children, so a loan for us would be the only option.
We really thought that having only received 1 year of student finance, there would be no problem in our son being eligible for the full loan for the upcoming degree course.
Does anyone know if anything can be done?

PlumsGalore Sun 10-Jun-18 15:55:42

Did he ever get billed for the first semester of last year? I don't understand how he didn't apply for SF for the second year but didn't get billed for at least the first term. Maybe someone who works in a university can confirm, have you queried it with SF?

walnutwood Sun 10-Jun-18 15:57:44

That's very odd, I am sure it used to be that you were eligible for four years - the standard 3 years and then an extra year, specifically for those who had made a 'false start,'

tonsil Sun 10-Jun-18 15:58:15

It shouldn't be an issue. You are usually entitled to funding for the duration of a normal undergraduate degree plus one extra year as a "false start". I'd get in touch with the uni- perhaps there's some admin confusion listing him as having done the second year with them? Then get back on to SF. Any proof that he didn't do the 2nd year/didn't receive funding for it would be helpful.

walnutwood Sun 10-Jun-18 15:59:19

You are normally entitled to funding for the standard length of your course plus one extra year. Student Finance England often refer to it as a gift year. The gift year can be used to fund a repeat year of study. During this year you continue to be eligible for all the SFE loans and grants you usually receive.

However, if you repeat a year of your course more than once or you’ve previously studied on a higher education course in the past - even if you only attended for one day or studied outside of the UK - you may have used your gift year of funding already. This means that you will not be entitled to receive a Tuition Fee Loan for your repeat year and will have to pay your own tuition fee. If you started your course before September 2016 and usually receive the Maintenance/Special Support Grant, you won’t be entitled to receive this either. You will continue to be eligible for the Maintenance Loan, and grants for dependants and disabilities, if applicable.

There is an exception to this rule: If you are repeating the year because Compelling Personal Circumstances (CPR) affected your study, for example, illness or bereavement (other circumstances can be considered), Student Finance England may, at their discretion, award an extra year of funding to you. This extra year of funding would include the Tuition Fee Loan and where relevant, the Maintenance/Special Support Grant. It is known as a CPR year of funding.

To be considered for this extra year, you will need to provide SFE with evidence of the circumstances that caused you to repeat and ask them to consider this. You should do this once you have made your funding application for the next year of your course.

You can even apply for a CPR year retrospectively. For example, if you have already used your gift year to fund a repeat year but CPR issues caused the repeat, you can ask SFE to backdate a CPR year. If agreed, this would release your gift year. Your gift year can then be used to fund your current repeat year instead. This is very useful especially if you cannot provide CPR evidence for your current repeat year.

walnutwood Sun 10-Jun-18 15:59:38

from www.westminster.ac.uk/study/fees-and-funding/funding/undergraduate-student-funding/funding-for-repeat-years

walnutwood Sun 10-Jun-18 16:00:04

Are you SURE he didn't get funding for the second year?

Fairenuff Sun 10-Jun-18 16:10:02

He should get funding for 3 years.

He did the first year.

He has two years left.

What's the confusion?

walnutwood Sun 10-Jun-18 18:37:20

Incorrect @Fairenuff

Why do people comment on threads when they have no actual expertise or knowledge in the topic at hand?!

UghAgh Sun 10-Jun-18 18:57:01

Did he officially cancel his second year?

donajimena Sun 10-Jun-18 18:59:37

You get four years funding.

MyDcAreMarvel Sun 10-Jun-18 18:59:39

There is no problem either an error has been made or your ds received second year funding.

Beebearjo Sun 10-Jun-18 19:29:03

Thank you for all the messages so far.
Walnutwood...he hasn't received any funding for the part of the second year. But when I called the Student Finance phone line they said it didn't matter if he had applied for/received any funding for the second year, if he attended uni even for one day of the second year then that is enough to make you ineligible for a full 3 years of future funding. Effectively, by him setting foot back in the uni for the second year, without any funding, he will not be loaned £9250 for his new first year of study this September and we will have to find the money from somewhere, or tell him he can't do his course.
I'm amazed that this is correct, but it really is the way it seems to be. Any furthur expert info or any tips on how to get around this most welcome.

Beebearjo Sun 10-Jun-18 19:30:49

Oh, and yes, he did officially cancel his second year.

MyDcAreMarvel Sun 10-Jun-18 20:20:16

Well if he started the first year then at least the first terms fees will have been paid.

unweavedrainbow Sun 10-Jun-18 20:27:14

As @walnutwood says, he needs to apply for Compelling Personal Reasons (CPR) due to his anxiety/depression. As he left his previous course due to illness, his second year of "funding" doesn't count and he should receive all the years of funding for his new course. He needs to contact the Student Finance advisor at his university who will support him through the process. He will also need some sort of evidence of his ill health- a doctor's note is the most useful. Applying for CPR is generally fairly straightforward and he shouldn't have any issues.

LivingMyBestLife Sun 10-Jun-18 20:38:43

I've just had a look on the NUS site which says

If you’ve studied for part of a year already, you’re treated as if you studied for the whole year.

www.nus.org.uk/en/advice/money-and-funding/im-changing-my-course--how-does-this-affect-my-higher-education-funding/?load=47&top=10975

So I think the student finance are correct, but that previous posters have given good advice about the CPR route.

Beebearjo Sun 10-Jun-18 21:17:14

Thank you everyone.
He does have a doctor's letter from last May regarding his anxiety/ depression but as he didn't end up leaving his course until the October I'm not sure that it will do. He has contacted the doctor but she has said she can't write a further letter as, although his mental health problems were on going, he didn't continue to seek the support of his GP.
I'll ask him to contact the Student Finance advisor at his new uni.

titchy Sun 10-Jun-18 23:33:21

He may not have applied for maintenance funding but the uni will have applied and received fees form him from sfe. However I think you only become liable for fees on day 12 of the start of the year so if he formally told his uni he was withdrawing within that time then the error is probably with them for not informing sfe quickly enough. Did he do this and does he have proof? If so he needs to get onto his old uni and see what fees they have claimed and received, and get them to correct things with sfe.

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