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Budgeting & Banking

How to survive if your Student Loan is late

Still waiting on your Student Loan and starting to panic? Don't sweat! Here are some tips to get you through.

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Waiting for money to appear in your bank account is never easy. Unfortunately, checking it every five minutes won't make your cash come any quicker.

Maintenance Loans are there to help with your living costs. Not having these all-important pennies to live off can be extremely stressful, especially when students already students have to stump up an additional £582 every month to make ends meet.

So, what happens if Student Finance is late? Let's take a look at the reasons why your Student Loan hasn't arrived yet and how you can deal with it.

Learn these important skills and you'll survive uni (relatively) unscathed.

Why is your Student Loan late?

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First things first: you should probably find out exactly why your Student Loan hasn't arrived yet. That way, you can go about solving the problem.

There are a few common issues that crop up every year, so check to see whether any of the following is why your Student Finance is late:

  1. Did you miss the Student Finance application deadline?

    Every year Student Finance applications must be submitted by the deadline for your loan to be processed and sent to you on time (see the 2023/24 Student Finance deadlines).

    If you make a late Student Finance application, it doesn't mean you won't ever receive any Student Loan money. But, you might have to wait a little bit longer for it.

  2. When should you get your Student Loan?

    You've probably got this one covered already. But make sure you take the time to see when your Student Loan should come in.

    The date you're supposed to get it might not be right at the very start of term (as annoying as that is). It's best to double-check the due date before you ring up Student Finance and start demanding answers.

  3. Is there an issue with your Student Finance application?

    Often a delay in receiving your money means there's an issue with your Student Finance application.

    Remember that Maintenance Loans are based on your household income, and you often have to submit evidence to verify this. If you're late in submitting your evidence, or it gets lost somewhere on its journey, this can cause delays.

    Call up Student Finance or check your application status online to see if there's a problem.

  4. Are you officially registered at your university?

    If you're a fresher (or starting a new degree) then you'll need to be officially registered as a student before you can receive any money.

    This is why, if possible, you should try and get registered as soon as you arrive at university so you can ensure your loan arrives ASAP. However, some universities might give you an allotted registration time.

Student Finance contact numbers

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If you do need to call Student Finance to sort your situation out, these are the numbers you'll need to know:

  • Student Finance England – 0300 100 0607
  • Student Finance Northern Ireland – 0300 100 0077
  • SAAS (Scotland) – 0300 555 0505
  • Student Finance Wales – 0300 200 4050.
Here are some useful student websites for legal advice, mental health support and saving money on food.

8 top tips if your Student Finance hasn't come through

Once you've established why your loan is late, here are a few sources of money to tide you over:

  1. Use your student overdraft

    A perk of having a student bank account is that you get a 0% interest overdraft of potentially up to £3,000.

    Remember, you will have to start paying it all back when your account changes to a graduate bank account so try not to treat it as free money.

    If you can, avoid going into your overdraft too heavily, precisely so you can bail yourself out during emergencies like this. If your rent is due but your loan hasn't appeared, 'borrow' it from your overdraft and it'll be replaced when your Student Loan comes through.

    Our guide to making the most of your student overdraft will show you the ropes.

    Not sure if you're getting the best deal with your student bank account? Find out which banks our readers voted top in our Student Banking Survey.
  2. Borrow money from your parents

    As controversial as this is, the government generally 'expects' your parents to help you out financially while you study.

    This is why Maintenance Loans are usually calculated depending on how much money your folks earn, even if you don't actually see any of it. If you're struggling because your loan is late, now could be the time to ask for help.

    Here's our guide on how to ask your parents for money (and how much you should be asking for). It doesn't have to be as painful as you think.

  3. Make quick money online to tide you over

    money in a purse

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    Maybe you don't have the time for a part-time job at uni, or maybe you just don't have the time to wait around for your monthly wages and need to pay a bill ASAP.

    You could look into ways to make money online.

    Note that some options take a while for payment to actually come through, so make sure you do your research first.

  4. Borrow cash from friends

    This is a tough one, as there's a strong chance your mates are all in a similarly tough financial situation.

    But if you do have a friend who you know is quite well off, or particularly good at looking after their money, you could maybe ask if they can help you out while you wait for your cash to come through.

    You can also split it between two friends if you're worried about asking too much of them.

    However, it's extremely important that you only use this method if you're 100% sure you will repay them as soon as your loan comes through. Lending money to friends as a student isn't an easy thing to do, so you should be really grateful. Don't let your friend down by not sticking to your promise.

    On the flip side, if you have lent a friend some cash when they needed it in the past, now's the time to ask for it back.

  5. Apply for a bridging loan with your uni

    Many universities have a scheme in place to cover their students if their Student Finance doesn't arrive on time. They call these 'bridging loans' as they're essentially short-term loans to 'bridge' you through to your next cash instalment.

    Contact your university to find out more about this, including how much money you could receive.

  6. Know where to ask for help

    line of paper people

    Credit: Lijphoto - Shutterstock

    The worst thing you can do at times like this is to keep quiet.

    As well as approaching your university for help, it's also worth calling your landlord, or visiting your student accommodation office if you live in halls, to let them know your situation and that your rent will be late.

    If you have bills due, call your mobile provider or anyone else you think you'll be late paying and explain what's going on. It's unlikely that you'll be in this situation frequently, so they should hopefully be understanding and appreciate you getting in touch to let them know.

    If you're close to your overdraft limit and have a bill payment due to leave your account, call your bank and see if they'll waive the fee for exceeding your limit when the bill is deducted.

  7. Make an emergency budget plan

    If you're low on funds, but you're not completely flat-out broke yet, now's the time to enter extreme survival student budget mode.

    We've got a great student budgeting guide to help you manage your money.

    You could also try using budgeting apps or calculators to do some of the legwork for you.

    We have loads of tips to help you save money at the supermarket, as well as a guide on how to (legally) get free food.
  8. Start a mini business

    What better way to secure yourself some instant emergency cash than starting your own business at uni?

    This can involve anything from selling stuff on eBay to offering a delivery service to other students in your halls for a small fee.

    In fact, we've got dozens of small enterprise ideas to get your entrepreneurial juices flowing.

If you need some extra tools and tips, these money-saving resources will help you cut down your costs and give your bank balance a boost.

Katie Paterson

WRITTEN BY Katie Paterson

Katie Paterson is an accomplished writer from Glasgow. She studied English Literature at the University of Strathclyde, then went on to do a Research Masters in Literature at the University of Amsterdam. As Lead Editor for Save the Student, Katie has covered topics from career tips to ways to make money go further as a student.
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