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How to apply for student loans and grants in the UK

If you’re off to university in the next academic year, you should apply for your student loan as soon as you’ve selected your course and had your place confirmed. Finding out how to apply for student loans isn’t difficult because there’s so much info on the net but there are a few vagaries you should be aware of.

How to apply for student loans

The main application form is available online through gov.uk/apply-online-for-student-finance. This is a simple step-by-step form and it’s the quickest way to apply. If you’d rather complete a paper form, you can download and print off student loan application forms and guidance notes from the same website. There isn’t one form that fits all students across the UK as the application process differs if you’re a student from Scotland, Northern Ireland or Wales. There are also different forms to complete depending on whether you are studying full time, part time or if you’re taking a healthcare, teaching training, social work or Open University course.

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Bursaries and scholarships

As well as student loans and grants, you may be able to apply for a bursary or scholarship. Loans and grants are applied for through the government while you must contact your university or college for bursaries. These additional sources of income may be necessary to support you during your studies, and with bursaries there’s no need to repay them. Aside from contacting your chosen university, you should also check out the UCAS website for further information on scholarships and bursaries.

Final word

In recent years, as many as 27,000 undergraduates have dropped out after the first year. As the number is so high, the Office for Fair Access recently completed a report that showed that although £1.3bn had been spent on bursaries over a 5 year period, drop outs continue to be high because of the financial burden attached to studying. Finding out how to apply for student loans and what financial support is out there is now more important than ever.

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