Student Finance – How to apply


If you are not a UK national, but have lived in England for a substantial period of your life you may be eligible for student finance and home fees in England under the new ‘long residence’ category. This blog explains how to apply for a course if you believe you are eligible under this category.

  • To check if you meet the eligibility criteria, see this blog;
  • To get advice about your situation, go here.
  • For information on scholarships, go here.  

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The information in this blog is based primarily on the experiences of students who have contacted Let Us Learn and who have made applications for student finance. We update the blog as soon as we receive new information from the young people we are working with.

 

What We Know

  • The interim policy that was in place for academic year 2015-16 does not apply for courses starting after academic year 2015-16.

 

I meet the eligibility criteria, what do I do next?

If you have looked at the eligibility criteria and believe that you are eligible for student finance, you can follow the steps below to apply for student finance:

 

  • Get in touch. We are always happy to speak with you, whether we have done so before or not. Please feel free to get in touch to discuss your case at any time. At particularly busy times, we may have to get back to you but will do so as quickly as possible;

 

Let Us Learn new inquiry team taking calls from young people unable to access university due to their immigration status

Members of the Let Us Learn new inquiry team

 

  • Previously, you had to apply with a paper copy of the application form, as there was no option for ‘limited leave to remain’;

 

Student finance now available for students with limited or discretionary leave to remain in the UK

Screen shot of SFE online application system options sent by student attempting to apply for finance for academic year 2016-17, prior to updates.

 

  • The online application system has now been updated so you can now apply for the long residence eligibility route via the online system. You will first be asked a series of questions relating to your nationality and immigration status;

 

Student Finance England online application for people with limited or discretionary leave to remain in the UK

SFE online application question 1

 

Student Finance England online application for people with limited or discretionary leave to remain in the UK

SFE online application question 2

 

Student Finance England online application for people with limited or discretionary leave to remain in the UK

SFE online application question 3 – limited leave to remain

 

Student Finance England online application for people with limited or discretionary leave to remain in the UK

SFE online application question 4

 

Student Finance England online application for people with limited or discretionary leave to remain in the UK

SFE online application question 5 – this is to check for the three year ordinary residence criteria

 

 

  • You will then be asked a series of other questions about your personal circumstances not related to your nationality or immigration status. When you have answered these you will see the following:

 

Student Finance England online application for people with limited or discretionary leave to remain in the UK

You will eventually see this. You will still have to complete the rest of the application

 

  • You will then have to complete the rest of the application as normal

 

Request for evidence

 

Celene letter 1

Celene letter 2

Two page letter received by student in July 2016 requesting supporting evidence for eligibility under long residence category

 

Problems

 

– Grounds for grant of leave to remain

  • Several young people have been asked to provide letters from the Home Office clarifying the reason they were granted their limited or discretionary leave to remain (the grounds for the decision). They have been told that their application cannot proceed if they do not provide this information;
  • This is not relevant information and this could delay your application;
image1-2

Screenshot of letter received by student finance applicant asking for reason for grant of leave to remain

 

  • We have been in contact with the Student Loans Company (SLC) about this issue. SFE assessors were told to request this information to make sure that nobody who was trying to apply under the long residence category was eligible under another route eg. as someone with refugee status. We have explained that people applying under the long residence category know they are not eligible via any other route and in many cases have had years out of education until this eligibility category was created;
  • SLC have stated that they will address this issue and have also been able to assist on a case by case basis. If you have been asked to provide this information and you do not have access to the relevant documentation, please get in touch.

 

– No reference to long residence category

  • If you contacted Student Finance England (SFE) before 6th June 2016 and possibly for a while after 6th June 2016, they are unlikely to have been able to tell you about this new policy and may still tell you that you are ineligible, even if you do meet the new criteria;

(17/6/16 – We have been informed by two separate young people who contacted the SFE telephone advice line this week that they were told they would be ineligible for student finance as they did not have settled status in the UK. This is not correct and does not take into account the new ‘long residence’ category. We will be passing this information to the Student Loans Company. If this happens to you please contact us)

  • If  you applied for student finance before 6th June 2016 and possibly for a while after 6th June 2016, your application will have been refused, even if you do meet the new criteria;
  • If your application has been refused without reference to the long residence category you can appeal this decision;
How to appeal

Guidance on how to appeal to Student Finance England

 

  • State that the reason you are appealing is because you meet the criteria in the long residence category. Below is an anonymised version of an appeal that was made by one young woman;
  • We do not recommend you provide any additional information, documents or arguments at this stage;

 

“I would like to appeal the decision made concerning my student loan application on the basis that I meet the ‘Long Residence criteria’  in The Education (Student Fees, Awards and Support) (Amendment) Regulations 2016,
Thank you for your consideration in this matter, I await your decision.”

 

  • If  your application was refused and you appealed this refusal before 6th June 2016, you will likely have received the following email:

 

SLC email

Email received by a number of students since late April 2016

 

  • If you responded to this email prior to 6th June 2016 and asked for further information/clarification, you will likely have received the following response or similar:

 

"Thank you for your email. The new legislation comes into force on the 6th June and from this date we can assess against it. I can not confirm your eligibility by this date as the Processing Unit will need to assess your eligibility and check all supporting documentation before issuing a response. You will hear from them directly regarding your assessment."

Email response received by young man end of May 2016

 

If you have any updates, news or contradictory information from your own experience of applying for student finance please get in touch so we can share with other young people who may benefit.  I you feel you are not eligible for student finance, have a look at our scholarships blog. 


Leave a comment

10 thoughts on “Student Finance – How to apply

  • Gabriel Quenta Luna

    Hello Staff and Member of Let Us Learn

    I would like to congratulate you on this campaign and the work you have done to help students. It is promising to see individuals that care for humanity and would like to thank you for the information have noted when reading your blogs. Reading your blogs and the website were life changing as It gave me some hope in accomplishing my dream and go to higher education.

    My name is Gabriel Quenta Luna, I arrived in the UK when i was 7 years and 11 months old. i will be going to university this September to study Engineering and I feel ecstatic. I have been living in the UK and London for more than 13 years. I’m currently 21 and I’m on a Limited Leave to Remain Status until January 2017 however it is most likely i will be receiving ILR. To my assumption I think qualify under living half of my life / long residency and I will be applying for Student Finance

    Therefore , I would like to ask you a question. Do you think i should apply online or should I apply by paper application?
    I would like to once again say many thanks for the website and all the information provided. I hope I can hear from you soon.

    Many Thanks

    Gabriel

    • admin Post author

      Hi George,

      They certainly are. We know about 15 young people who have been assessed as eligible under the long residence category this academic year but loads more people are still evidencing.

      Feel free to email me at joelcarter@justforkidslaw.org if you;d like to discuss.

      All the best,

      Joel

  • Hashini Kodithuwakku

    Hi,
    I just wanted to know if I would still be eligible for long residence for the academic year of 2017/18 if I have lived over half my life here and am over the age of 18 by the first day of the course but have spent the last three years in full time education (high school and sixth form). Thank you in advance and I hope to hear from you soon,
    Hashini

      • K.M. Nabiul Alam

        Dear Joel,

        For the interest of students with similar condition, can you explain/define the term ‘half of my life’. Does it need to be exactly half?
        Hashini, can you also explain us from your experience please!!

        Regards,

        Nabiul

  • Yinka

    Hi Goodmorning,

    I am confused about this. If I was granted leave to remain on family route and its says on my biometric card work permit, would student finance refuse my application because it says work permit please?

  • Charmaine Opperman

    Thank you for taking time out to help others. My son got the letters from SFE and they have sent all the letters back from home office.Everything you have outlined was what he got.we have leave to remain.we came into the country on the 23April 2002 and he turned 9 at the end of April.we were here legally for 5 years and overstayed but applied in 2012 so we have leave to remain. My son is 23 now and has been here for 14 years.It is such a shame that they had to go through school and refused to further their studies . To be true I do not know what they want .Student finance had his biometric card and everything else from when his old PP was stamped with leave to remain up to the every letter original from home office.

    It’s a pity we cannot contact you by telephone.Anyway you are amazing to offer your time and help to others .I am a strong believer that whatever good you do unto others God will do unto you.

    Thank you so much my son is working split shifts today and tomorrow ,but we will sit together on Sunday to finish this task .