That’s why the Student Advice and Support Service (SASS), want to share some useful guidance on eligibility for additional funding, how to plan ahead, knowing your rights, and how to access University support services.
Make sure you get your full funding entitlement, whether it’s from Student Finance, University scholarships or elsewhere. You might be surprised at what you are eligible to receive, or may be unaware of some of the different types of funding available.
You may previously have chosen to take only the basic maintenance loan but you can ask student finance to consider you for a further maintenance loan through a household income assessment. Unless you qualify as an independent student, it is likely that the assessment will be based on the income of the parent/s you normally live with and this could increase the amount of maintenance loan you receive.
If you have previously been income assessed and not awarded the maximum maintenance loan, you could be eligible for further funding if there has been a recent drop in household income. Ordinarily, Student Finance England (SFE) use a previous tax year to assess entitlement and for this academic year (20/21), the assessment is based on the 18/19 tax year.
If it is anticipated that the current household income will be at least 15% lower than 18/19 (5% in Northern Ireland), you can apply for a Current Year Income assessment. If accepted by SFE, this should result in a higher award (maintenance loan). (Please note that household income will be checked with HMRC at the end of the tax year and any necessary adjustments made to your award. This can result in an under or overpayment).A household income assessment of £25,000 or below means you qualify for the Loughborough Scholarship Program (LSP).
The Student Advice and Support Service (SASS) can provide further advice on your application for further student funding as well as guidance on the bursary process. You can book a remote appointment here.
If you have a job, it is also worth checking that your wages are in line with wage laws and any tax or National Insurance deductions are correct.
Understanding your rights
Ensure that you know your rights as a tenant and check your contract with SASS before you sign up. Government guidance for landlords and tenants during the Covid-19 pandemic hasn’t changed tenants’ liability for rent, but there are some temporary protections from eviction.
If you’ve had a recent change of circumstances that has left you without enough money for essential expenses, you may be able to receive an award of up to £2,500 from the University’s Hardship Fund. The Emergency Hardship Loan can also provide you with up to £250 for essential needs such as travel and food. It is a short-term loan with no interest or charges. The University will agree a repayment date with you when you agree the loan. Book an appointment with an adviser if you’re unsure whether you fit the criteria or need support to complete the application.
If you want to return to University halls, make sure you apply by the deadline. Even if you secure a place, your place in halls can be cancelled, subject to a fee, until 1 June 2021.
Remember that a private tenancy agreement is legally binding and you won’t usually be able to cancel this agreement. Think about whether you really need somewhere for the summer and look for accommodation that fits your budget. The SASS’s house hunting resources should help you in your search.
Feeling stressed and anxious?
A difficult financial situation can contribute towards making you feel overwhelmed, stressed or anxious, but there are a range of mental wellbeing support services available to you at the University.
If you are unsure of who to contact, complete the wellbeing appointment referral form and you will get a response with details of the best sources of support for you. You can also download the LU Wellbeing app (which has a library of podcasts, articles and external resources), and register with Togetherall.
If you have any academic concerns, you can talk to your personal tutor or Student Services who will be able to provide support or direct you to the right service.