FROM PARENTS' GUIDE: AN INDEPENDENT PUBLISHING MAGAZINE

Student Finance: It pays to be prepared

Finance is central to student life, so you need to get it right.

When a student is setting about the process of getting a university place, he or she is confronted by an alarming number of administrative issues to deal with. Not only that, but the focus of their keenest attention is more likely to be on those aspects of their first major life-change that are instinctively more important to them; finding out more about their course and life at their new place of study. They can be forgiven for thinking that routine matters such as fixing up finance for their study are the kind of thing that just slots easily into place and can be left until after all the other important things have been attended to. Many people, as a consequence, leave the whole thing a bit longer than they should.

You should start applying for your student finance as soon as possible, usually during the February of the year in which funding will be required for the start of the autumn term.

The time-honoured method of paying student maintenance loans at the start of each term (and any grants to which people are entitled) was based on the expectation that these are the points in the year when a student's main expenses will occur, such as paying rent for a hall of residence and buying books.

But it is quite usual for people to move off-campus into private term-time accommodation in the second or third year and be faced with the prospect of monthly rental. Budgeting for these known requirements is essential and many people, looking back on their time at university or college, realise what a valuable experience it has been for life after university to be forced into a regime of managing your personal finance. Working out a weekly budget so that you know in advance what you will have to spend on food, travel, rent, study expenses and social life is an absolute must.

Help and guidance are always available at school for those unsure of what lies ahead. While at university, students can get excellent financial advice from the National Association of Student Money Advisers (NASMA) and the Student Loans Company (SLC) can always help those who need advice after leaving university.

The fact that students don't have to waste any of their time worrying about the repayment of their loan can only be a good thing - that and the fact that it is the cheapest form of finance they will ever have access to. But the day does dawn when that obligation has to be faced. Most people are aware that they have a "repayment holiday" between their last day of study and the beginning of April the year after. There is also an earnings threshold, whereby you won't have to start repaying until you are earning £15,000 per year. You only make repayments when you can afford to, in other words.

HM Revenue & Customs will deduct 9 per cent of any earnings above the £15,000 per annum rate, but will deduct nothing if the monthly or weekly pay falls below the threshold. This makes the repayment system remarkably simple for the person with the student loan. There are still people repaying the old-style loan which was phased out in 1998 and they are fully responsible for ensuring that they keep up payments (usually by direct debit) but may apply for annual deferment if their earnings fall below the threshold for that loan.

For everyone on the current loan scheme who has entered repayment status, it is always advisable to check each pay slip to ensure the right amount has been deducted, or that no deduction has been made, and keep all pay slips.

The collection system is dependent on the UK tax system, whereby employers are obliged to file an annual report of deductions, meaning the information on a person's loan repayments will not be collected until the end of the tax year. Keeping pay slips and tracking deductions is the best way of knowing what is outstanding.

People who think they will have fully repaid in a few months' time should contact the SLC, if they haven't already sent a letter to inform the borrower that they are about to finish repaying. The SLC will help calculate the remainder, and at the appropriate time, will notify HM Revenue & Customs to stop deducting loan repayments. If anyone ends up overpaying, there is always a final reconciliation where overpayments are fully refunded, which is good to know!

Ian McLaren Thomson is a press officer at the Student Loans Company. For more information visit www.slc.co.uk and www.nasma.org.uk

Voices
The Sumatran tiger, endemic to the Indonesian island of Sumatra, is an endangered species
voicesJonathon Porritt: The wild tiger population is thought to have dropped by 97 per cent since 1900
Arts and Entertainment
Beast would strip to his underpants and take to the stage with a slogan scrawled on his bare chest whilst fans shouted “you fat bastard” at him
musicIndie music promoter was was a feature at Carter gigs
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Story line: Susanoo slays the Yamata no Orochi serpent in the Japanese version of a myth dating back 40,000 years
arts + entsApplying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Performers dressed as Tunnocks chocolate teacakes, a renowned Scottish confectionary, perform during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park in Glasgow on July 23, 2014.
news
Life and Style
Popular plonk: Lambrusco is selling strong
Food + drinkNaff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
News
Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
News
Shake down: Michelle and Barack Obama bump knuckles before an election night rally in Minnesota in 2008, the 'Washington Post' called it 'the fist bump heard round the world'
newsThe pound, a.k.a. the dap, greatly improves hygiene
Arts and Entertainment
La Roux
music
Arts and Entertainment
Graham Fellows as John Shuttleworth
comedySean O'Grady joins Graham Fellows down his local Spar
News
people
News
Ross Burden pictured in 2002
people
News
Elisabeth Murdoch: The 44-year-old said she felt a responsibility to 'stand up and be counted’'
media... says Rupert Murdoch
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Extras
indybest
Sport
Arsenal signing Calum Chambers
sportGunners complete £16m transfer of Southampton youngster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

Junior / Graduate Application Support Engineer

£26000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful international media organ...

Year 1 Teacher

£12 - £90 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Randstad Education require a year ...

Primary Teacher - Hull

£90 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Are you a flexible and inspiratio...

SEN Teaching Assistant Runcorn

£50 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: SEN Teaching Assistant EBD , Septemb...

Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on