Student Loans: how to apply

With tuition fees, accommodation costs and living expenses, it's never been tougher to be a student. To make sure you can get by as the academic year begins, it's best be sure that you have arranged your student loans. Apply straight away.

The first place to look is the Government's Student Finance pages at direct.gov.uk, which will explain the different kinds of loan available to cover tuition costs and maintenance expenses.

For the 2011-12 academic year, the applications should already have been filed. This does not necessarily mean it is too late, as you can still file an application up to 9 months after your course has begun for full-time students, and up to 6 months for part-time students.

There is a set procedure for applying for finance. Initially you must set up an online student finance account. Once this is established you can complete the online application form. You may be asked to provide documentary evidence of your identity or household income, often a passport or tax statement.

Student Finance England administers the finance arrangements for English students. They can be contacted by partners or parents if support is needed with an application.

Returning students who are already in receipt of finance will need to contact Student Finance England if their circumstances change, for example if they move from full-time study to part-time study, or their requirements alter.

The website at studentloans.co.uk can offer advice and expert guidance on all aspects of student loans before you apply, or after your application has been submitted.

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