Student finance

GOV me your money: 4 tips for student finance during Clearing

First things first: if you haven’t already applied for student finance for September, do it. Right this minute. If you know how. If you don’t, or if you’ve ended up in Clearing and need to change which uni your money is going to, keep reading…

At first, I was on it completely. I knew where I was going I’d filled everything in, I’d done it, I’d applied! And I’d been given the thumbs up that I would be getting my money on time. Happy bunny. Until I wound up in Clearing. I was so stressed out about securing my place that I completely forgot to involve Student Finance England with the whole switchover malarkey, and they’re kind of a big deal for UK students.

My message to you is this: if you end up securing your spot at a different place, SFE need to know so that they don’t end up paying your tuition fees to your previous choice. In most cases, it’s pretty straightforward. All I had to do was contact them and let them know that my circumstances had changed. I still needed money in my bank, but now Coventry needed the other money, rather than the previous university. But if you’re one of the more unfortunate ones you may have to submit a whole new application, which could take weeks. Same process, just repeated. Bearing this in mind, it’s good to never let it slip your mind for long.

Either way, I did this approximately two weeks before my start date and so you can imagine the pickle was in when my money didn’t come until almost three weeks afterwards. And I was one of the lucky ones.

This post is purely to remind any of you who are going through Clearing – and even those of you who aren’t, but are finding the whole process of applying for student finance just nauseating – to make sure that all the nitty gritty details are in order so that you can start hyping yourself up for the all important Freshers’ Week!

Some useful tips to help you with student finance:

- Write down your customer ref. number.

- Keep your secret answer handy. Here’s a tip: don’t make it an embarrassing one. You’ll have to say this out loud over the phone, which can potentially get awkward. I’m not speaking from personal experience, promise.

- Here’s the link to apply for student finance. If you haven’t applied already, remember what I said: do it right this minute!

- Check your online account regularly for any changes to your application. These could be anything from them needing extra info from you, to how much money you’ll be getting. This is v. important, so stay in the loop!

Finally, congratulations on getting into university! There will inevitably be some boring bits, but one of the most important things is to celebrate. You’ve got your place, the next few years of your life are mapped out for you, and you’ve moved from one stage of your life to the next (hopefully) without many hitches. Well done!