How to survive if your Student Loan is late
Student Loans Company late in sending you your dough? Don’t sweat! Here’s some tips to get you through.
Waiting for money to appear in your bank account should be recognised as a form of torture, and unfortunately checking it every five minutes won’t make your cash come any quicker.
As it’s called a ‘Maintenance Loan’ in order to, you know... maintain... life, not having these monthly pennies to live off can be extremely stressful.
This is on top of the fact that with living costs on the rise, student loans are barely enough to cover rent these days and students are having to stump up an additional £170 every month to make ends meet.
So if your student coffers are looking a little bit dry at the start of term, let's take a look at the reasons why this could be happening, and how you can deal with it.
Why is your Student Loan late?
First things first, you should probably find out why exactly your Student Loan hasn't arrived yet so you can go about solving the problem.
There are a couple of common issues that crop up every year, so check to see whether any of the following apply to you:
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 (2018/19 deadlines listed here).
Missing the deadline doesn't mean you won't receive any Student Loan money ever - it just means you might have to wait a little bit longer for it.
Check the Student Finance payment schedule
Ok ok, so you've probably got this one covered already, but make sure you do check to see when your Student Loan is actually due to arrive.
The date you're supposed to get it might not be right at the very start of term (as annoying as that is), so double check it's due date before you ring up Student Finance and start demanding answers.
Check your Student Finance application
Often a hold up in receiving your money means there's a hold up 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, then this can cause delays.
Call up Student Finance or check your application status online to see if there's any problems.
You need to be registered first
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 registration done as soon as you arrive at university so you can ensure your loan arrives ASAP (although some universities might give you an allotted registration time).
Student Finance contact numbers
If you do need to call up student finance to sort your situation out, these are the numbers you'll need to know:
- Student Finance England: 0300 100 0607
- Student Finance Wales: 0300 200 4050
- Student Finance Northern Ireland: 0300 100 0077
- SAAS (Scotland): 0300 555 0505
8 things you can do if your Student Loan is late
Once you've established why your loan is late, here are a few back-up tips you can employ to tide you over...
Use your student overdraft
The beauty of having a student bank account is that you get a 0% interest overdraft of up to £3,000, meaning it’s essentially free money! Well, not really – you'll have to start paying it all back when your account changes to a graduate bank account, but until then...
We’d advise that you don't go into your overdraft too heavily, precisely so you can bail yourself out during emergencies like this. If your rent is due but your loan’s not appeared, ‘borrow’ it from your overdraft and it’ll be replaced when the SLC cash comes through.
Borrow from the bank of mum and dad
As controversial as this is, the government actually expects your parents to help you out financially while you study (if you have a household income of more than £25,000).
This is why Maintenance Loans are 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’s 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!
Make some quick cash online to tide you over
We’ve got a few quick ways to make money online for you to check out (40 to be exact).
Note that some of these options take a while for payment to actually come through, so make sure you do your research first!
Borrow from friends
This is a tough one, as there’s a strong chance your mates are all in a similarly tough financial situation as you are.
But if you do have a friend who always tends to be quite flash with the cash, or who you know is particularly good with looking after their money, there’s no harm in asking if they could help you out while you wait for your cash to come through (maybe even 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 leant a friend some cash when they needed it in the past, now's the time to ask for it back.
Apply for a bridging loan with your uni
Most universities will have a scheme in place to cover their students if their Student Loan doesn't arrive on time. They call these ‘bridging loans’ as they’re essentially a short-term loan to ‘bridge’ you through to your next cash instalment.
A bridging loan is normally around the £50 mark (paid weekly until your cash appears) so will only be suitable for costs like feeding yourself, or paying bills, and won't be enough to cover rent.
To arrange your bridging loan, contact your university’s student advice service and bring along a bank statement (you might have to go into a branch to get an up-to-date one) to prove your loan hasn’t come through.
The worst thing you can do at times like this is keep quiet.
We'd recommend 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 be understanding and appreciate you getting in touch to let them know.
If you're close to your overdraft limit and have a bill due to come off your account, call up your bank and see if they'll waiver the fee for exceeding your limit when the bill is deducted.
Go into emergency budget mode
So you're dangerously low on funds, but you're not completely flat out broke yet? Now's the time to enter extreme survival student budget mode!
As depressing as this might sound, budgeting ain't all that bad. We've got a great student budgeting guide to help you get your daily rations in order.
Start a mini business
What better way to secure yourself some instant emergency cash than starting your own mini 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 50 small enterprise ideas to get your entrepreneurial juices flowing.
Hopefully these tips will provide at least a little bit of respite from your loan stress. If you have any personal tips of your own, let us know about them!