Like the majority of University Students in the UK, you will be spending your first term of 2021 at the University of Northampton working from home. That is unless you’re on an allied health professional course. With so many students now moving back home the Student Loans Company (SLC) have released new guidance.
Throughout this blog post we’ve broken down the information in an easy way to help you understand it quickly. (This information is for those who receive their loan from Student Finance England) The full information in regards to it can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/guidance-for-students-who-have-moved-back-home-in-the-january-term
No matter where you live during your period of study your Tuition Fee loan is exactly the same. However your Maintenance Loan is dependent on where you live during term times. They are the following:
For individuals studying at the University of Northampton, you only need to worry about Living at home or Living away from home, outside of London. The approve image shows the maximum amount of loan an individual can get. Maintenance Loans are means tested dependent on household income.
Take a look at this really useful article by Save The Student which explains Maintenance Loans and how they work: https://www.savethestudent.org/student-finance/maintenance-loans.html
Under normal situations, if you were to move back home during term time you would be reassessed and your loan amount would be reduced to the ‘Living at home’ rate. Currently, the UK Government has made the decision for those students who are still having to pay accommodation costs – both in on and off campus/private accommodation will not be reassessed. This is to provide students who are still paying rent the financial support that they need during these extraordinary circumstances.
Do you need to tell the SLC if you have moved back home?
You only need to do this if you have moved back home properly. By that we mean that you are no longer having to payout for accommodation costs such as rent. If you are still having to pay for accommodation costs, please do NOT update your SLC account as they will re-asses you to the ‘Living at Home’ rate of loan for this January.
However, if you have moved home properly make sure to update you account to reflect your new living situation. This will allow your rate of loan to reflect your living situation and will amend the amount that you will potentially pay back.
To update your information about you living accommodation and to make any changes, visit you SLC online account here.
If you are undecided about your accommodation in the future and plan on moving away from home in the third term, due to the uncertainty of how Covid-19 will affect face to face and remote teaching and learning, the Government advice and guidance will be updated accordingly. As soon an we know anything else, we will update this blog accordingly.
Can you get any extra funding costs to cover the costs of moving back home and studying at home?
For many people working from their ‘home’ home is not as effective as whilst working at University. For many people they have experienced some new costs and unplanned expenditure. For many students who have had their income reduced due to being furloughed or because of their loss of employment this can be an extremely challenging time.
However, you cannot get any extra funding from the SLC to cover the costs of ‘living at home’ For those receiving the Maintenance Loan for living at home, should be able to cover the costs associated with living at home. For those of receiving the ‘living away from home’ rate of Maintenance Loan will continue to do so to cover costs such as accommodation.
The University of Northampton, has received money from the Office for Students (OfS) and is able to provide a Covid Hardship Fund which all students are eligible for provided they meet the requirement criteria. The Covid Hardship Fund, can be used for students to purchase equipment that they may need to work effectively from ‘home’ home or to cover short fallings brought in by the Covid-19 pandemic.
To find out more about the Covid-19 Hardship fund, take a look at our recent blog post here.
If you’re still to apply for Student Finance this year, what should you put on your application for living arrangements for this term?
If you are going to be at home for the majority of this January term – with the current uncertainty surrounding Covid-19, this could be extremely likely. Yet, you’re still having to pay accommodation costs for you accommodation away from home such as rent. You should still put ‘living away from home’ for this term on your application. If you won’t have these costs, then put ‘living at home’.
If you still have accommodation costs, even through you’ve moved back home and don’t want the higher rate of loan?
You must inform the SLC in regards to any changes to your contact address by logging into you account. If you do not want to continue receiving the higher Maintenance Loan of ‘living away from home’, you’ll need to update the extra step when updating your contact address to tell us about your change of living arrangements fo the majority of this January term.
Once that change has been made, they will re-asses your student finance and reduce your entitlement for the January term. If you have already received the higher rate as your January Maintenance Loan payment, the SLC will recover the ‘overpayment’ from future payments.
If you receive your student finance from Student Finance Wales, Student Finance Northern Ireland?
The current information about the ‘living away from home’ loan rate mentioned throughout this blog, focusses on those receiving funding fro Student Finance England. However, the rules are pretty much the same, if you are still having to pay for accommodation costs whilst living at home due to Covid-19 restrictions, you will still be entitled to the ‘living away from home’ Maintenance Loan.
If you have any questions or concerns about your student finance, feel free to contact the University of Northampton Financial Guidance Team by either emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or visiting the Financial Guidance page of the Student Hub.