How to sort your student loan if you apply to university through clearing


Hundreds of thousands of students are getting their A-Level results today, and those who have got the necessary grades will be eagerly awaiting their acceptance letters for their chosen university courses.

But for those that didn’t quite get the results they were hoping for, there’s no reason to panic.

More than 47,000 students were accepted onto a university course through clearing last year, over 10,000 of which didn’t even apply to university until they received their A-Level results. 

Thousands of students have received their A-Level results today, and more than 47,000 are expected to get accepted on a university course through clearing this year

Education Secretary James Cleverly warned that some students ‘might get slightly lower grades that perhaps they were expecting and that they were hoping’. 

Grades were expected to drop after exams were reintroduced following the Covid-19 pandemic, and therefore the number of students likely to get accepted on to their course is also expected to drop.

University places are also expected to be some of the most competitive yet, as 40 per cent of students are expected to make use of the clearing system to find a place on a course. 

Financing their degree is also set to be at the front of students’ minds, with the typical student attending this year forecast to graduate with £45,800 of debt.

A new student loan system comes in from 2023, which has a 40-year repayment period, rather than 30, and a lower repayment threshold. 

This will mean many students who decide to reapply next year could end up paying back more overall – potentially making a place obtained this year through clearing more appealing, at least from a financial perspective. 

New research from website provider GoDaddy indicates that almost half of GCSE, AS-level, and A-level students are considering starting their own business instead of attending university, as the cost of higher education is putting many off going altogether. 

For those that are set on starting university this September and are applying through clearing, there is plenty to consider. Should they be worried about getting their maintenance loan ahead of the big move in September? And will it be enough to cover their living and accommodation costs?

This is Money takes a look at everything you need to know about student finance if you decide to follow the higher education route through clearing.

What is university clearing?

Once they get their A-Level results, students who applied through the traditional Ucas route will start to hear back from their universities of choice on whether they got accepted. 

But those who may not have applied, or didn’t the results they were hoping for, can still apply for a university space through clearing.

The Ucas process helps applicants to find vacant spots at on a wide range of university courses across the UK. This could be at the same university and course that they previously applied for, or it could be something completely different.

STUDENT MAINTENANCE LOAN BASED ON HOUSEHOLD INCOME
Household Income Living at home Away from home 
(non-London)
Away from home
(London)
£25,000 or less £8,171 £9,706 £12,667
£30,000 £7,484 £9,012 £11,961
£35,000 £6,796 £8,318 £11,255
£40,000 £6,108 £7,623 £10,549
£45,000 £5,420 £6,929 £9,843
£50,000 £4,733 £6,234 £9,136
£55,000 £4,045 £5,540 £8,430
£58,253 £3,597 £5,088 £7,971
£60,000 £3,597 £4,845 £7,724
£62,311 £3,597 £4,524 £7,398
£65,000 £3,597 £4,524 £7,018
£70,000 £3,597 £4,524 £6,312
£70,022+ £3,597 £4,524 £6,308

What funding is available through student finance?

Student finance is essential for the majority of those attending university, to pay for tuition fees and general living costs. 

All full-time students are able to apply for a tuition fee loan, which usually covers the full amount it costs to attend their chosen university course. This is paid straight to the university, so they don’t need to worry about sorting this once they have applied.

Full-time undergraduates also have the option to apply for a maintenance loan to help cover additional expenses, such as student accommodation or course materials.

A maintenance loan is calculated based on your living situation, age, and your parents’ household income. Undergraduates can apply for up to £12,667 a year if they plan to study in London, or up to £9,706 for courses outside of London.

Those studying for an accelerated degree course could get up to £11,100.

This money is paid directly into their bank account, in three installments at the start of each term. 

Those who have special circumstances, such as dependent children or a disability, you may also be entitled to additional funding.

Can I get student finance if I get in through clearing?

Students applying for university should submit their student finance application as soon as possible, to ensure they have the funds they need to support them once the new term starts

Students applying for university should submit their student finance application as soon as possible, to ensure they have the funds they need to support them once the new term starts

Whether you already knew that university was the route for you, or your results surprised you, you should still be able to apply for student finance – but you will need to act fast.

Even if you’re not sure which university you’re going to yet, apply for your student finance anyway. 

University details can be changed online, so use your first choice university and then amend your application when you know exactly which course you’re studying and which university you’ll be going to.

The application process typically takes around six weeks to complete. Unfortunately, this means that if you have not yet applied for your student finance you may not be able to receive your tuition and maintenance loan in time for the new school year. 

However, the sooner you begin your application, the more likely it is that you will be able to get your loan in time to start the new term. 

If you are a parent or guardian, you can support your child’s application by providing your household income details as soon as possible. If you don’t, this could further delay the progress the application can make before the start of term.  

If you’re from England, you can apply for your university funding through Student Finance England.

If you’re from Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, the Channel Island or Isle of Man, you can apply for student finance through your local Government or education authority.

And finally, don’t forget to check out what bursaries or scholarships are on offer from your chosen university, to see if there is any additional funding available to you.

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