Democracy
 

 

MONEY

We're help to support you with your Money. We understand that whilst in Higher Education you might suffer from anxiety about your finances, and need some support through our Hardship Fund.

Check out the information down below.

 

 

STUDENT FUNDING LINKS AND RESOURCES

ARC Directory to all useful student funding links and resources. Links to information for undergraduate, postgraduate, student parents, students with disabilities, repeating, suspending, EU, NHS and Social Work students.

 

ARE YOU IN FINANCIAL EMERGENCY?

Fill out our inquiry form to find out if you're eligible for the Union's Financial Hardship Fund.

 

UNIVERSITY HARDSHIP FUND (UHF)

University  administers a non-repayable discretionary fund which gives students facing acute and unexpected financial  hardship extra support to access and remain in higher education. More specifically the fund can be used to:

  • meet specific course and living costs which are not already met from other sources
  • assist if students are in financial hardship
  • provide emergency payments for unexpected financial crises
  • help students who may be considering giving up their course because of financial problems

A full guide to UHF can be found here

 

BEST STUDENT BANK ACCOUNTS

Save the Student have just updated their table of the best student bank accounts for 2020, which uniquely factors in student satisfaction scores based on their own survey.

 

MONEY AND MENTAL HEALTH

MIND has produced a fantastic online resource. They say: "Personal finances and mental health often have a strong impact on each other. If you are struggling to keep control of your money, you may find that your mental health is affected. Likewise, if you find that you cannot cope with your feelings or behaviour, you may find that you get into financial difficulties."


CREDIT UNION

Download our Guide to Credit Unions and find out more about Hillingdon Credit Union 


COMPELLING PERSONAL REASONS

Download our Guide to Compelling Personal Reasons - This document summarises what you will need to do to submit a request to Student Finance England to have your previous study disregarded on the grounds of compelling personal reasons, OR to keep receiving funding whilst you are not in attendance.

 

CHANGE OF PLAN?

Thinking about taking a break from your studies or repeating a year and worried about the impact on your student funding? Please read our Change of Plan Guide

 

STUDENT PARENTS

BrightsideUNIAID Trust have launched a new website to help students with children prepare for university life. This project has developed as a result of the research into the experiences of student parents 'Meet the Parents' - the first UK-wide research into the experience of this student group. The studentparents.org website is a practical response to this, developed by a consortium of organisations, led by education charity BrightsideUNIAID and funded by the Nuffield Foundation.

Studentparents.org provides a range of online information and tools including; a jargon buster to provide clear information about student support, a budget calculator with information about financial support and tools, tips on preparing for higher education, including time management, childcare options and study skills, and case studies from students already balancing higher education with parenthood.

 

LOCAL CHILDCARE

Please visit University's Directory of Childcare Information  for information on local childcare nurseries offering discounted rates to Brunel Staff and Students

 

FUNDING FOR STUDENT PARENTS

Childcare Grant - The Student Room

Childcare Grant- full guide

 

DISABLED STUDENTS' ALLOWANCE (DSA)

If you have a disability, ongoing health condition, mental health condition or learning difficulty, you may well be entitled to receive DSA.

Visit Your DSA pages for more information

 

POSTGRADUATE STUDENTS

Postgraduate Loans -government provides a loan for postgraduate Masters study. You can find more information here.

SLC has created two films to explain the Postgraduate Master’s Loan and the new Postgraduate Doctoral Loan to students thinking about starting either of these course types.

Both films explain what’s available and how it’s repaid.

Postgraduate Doctoral – https://youtu.be/n9mO-RpLNTE

Postgraduate Master’s film – https://youtu.be/bJr1SjwKneI

 

PostgraduateFunding.com, is a comprehensive database of grants available to postgraduate students from all over the world.

Find A Masters website provides a set of excellent guides to Masters and PhD funding in UK and abroad. You can also apply for a Scholarship worth £5,000

Future Finance -private loan provider for undergraduate and postgraduate students in UK

Career Development Loans - commercial bank loans for educations, with lower interest rates than a standard loan.

Funding for Teaching - information on funding and bursaries directly from the Department for Education.

 

STUDENT FINANCE AFTER YOUR GRADUATION

 

Money-Saving Experts' new guide analyses Student Loans. Read Martin Lewis's must-read guide to student loans
 

 

STUDENT FINANCE AFTER YOUR GRADUATION

Summary

 

Student Finance England (SFE) refers to the term Compelling Personal Reasons (CPR) as a type of extenuating circumstance which would explain why you would have changed your course, need to repeat a previous year or have not managed to complete the academic year, requiring a student to go on abeyance.

 

This would include severe illness or disability, caring for a close relative, relationship breakdown, and severe financial difficulties.

 

It is important to show that without these challenges, you would have been fine and able to cope.

 

This guide summarises what you will need to do to submit a request to Student Finance England (SFE):

  • To have your previous study disregarded in order for you to start your studies again or retake a period of your studies, allowing you to have extra years of funding to complete your course.

OR

  •  To keep receiving funding whilst you are on abeyance (a break from your studies). More information about abeyance can be found in our change of plan guide.

 

 

Student Funding Package

 

Student is given funding for: duration of course (usually 3 years) + additional gift year (safety net year) = 4 years of funding

 

 

How to submit a “Compelling Personal Reasons” Request

 

  • Write your own statement letter
  • Gather evidence
  • Print and send all documents to SFE by recorded delivery (The ARC can also send this on your behalf). Send to:

Student Finance England

PO Box 210

Darlington

DL1 9HJ

 

For more in-depth information please see below

 

About this guide

If your studies have been interrupted by compelling personal reasons and you require further funding in order for you to complete your studies (extra year of funding/ during your abeyance) Student Finance England (SFE) can choose to discretionally award you this were otherwise ineligible.

 

Student funding package

Student funding package works in the following way:

  • You are given a package that covers the duration of your course (normally 3 years)
  • One year is added to that package, as a safety net, in case of repeats/retakes (that's 3 + 1 = 4)
  • Previous study is then taken away from this sum.
  • For example, for a student who studied for 2 years on another course, and wants to start a new 3 year course + gift year, the calculation will be 4 (new course)- 2 (old course) = 2 years remaining in the funding package.
  • If there is not enough left in a funding package to cover all the remaining years of the course, only the most senior years would be funded.
  • In the above example, as there are 2 years remaining in the package and the new course is 3 years long, only years 2 and 3 will be funded

 

  • PLEASE NOTE: social work, courses which attract an NHS bursary and Initial Teacher Training (ITT) courses are exempt from previous study limitations

 

  • PLEASE NOTE: Previous study counts as a full year even though this student may have self- funded or attended for just one day.


 

What shall I do if I studied previously and now I can’t be funded for my new course?

 

If due to your previous studies SFE decided that you are not entitled to further full funding, there are few options

 

  • Self-Funding
  • Taking a break from studies (abeyance) in order to save money for tuition fees
  • Thinking carefully whether any years of your previous studies were interrupted by compelling personal reasons (CPR)

 

If SFE accepts the CPR, one year would be removed from your previous study and added to your current study funding package.

 

Going back to the above example; this would mean that this student now would have enough in the funding package to cover their new 3-year course.

To reiterate 4 years (new course)- 2 years (old course) = 2 years remaining in the funding package. Now with accepted CPR year, the student has 3 years of funding remaining which can go towards paying for their 1st year of study which wasn’t previously covered before student applied for CPR. As previously, there were 2 years remaining in the package and the new course is 3 years long, only years 2 and 3 would have been funded.


 

What should I do if I need to take a break from my course but I will not cope without my student loan?

 

If you have to interrupt your studies and are going into abeyance, your funding will stop.

 

Students who need to take a break from their studies, but who want to return — i.e. ‘intercalate’ or suspend their studies — often fall through the net of both the student support and benefits systems and may find it difficult to get financial support. It is important therefore to seek proper advice from your department and the ARC before making a decision.

 

If it has been agreed by the University that you can suspend temporarily, SFE will normally suspend your financial support for up to one year and reinstate it when you return.

 

The University has a duty to inform SFE about your suspension. SFE may request that you repay any parts of the loan you have received for periods when you were not actually in attendance at university.

 

These rules are complex and students who suspend due to medical reasons are treated differently.

 

  • Students who suspend due to health problems are entitled by law to further funding for 60 days after the date of suspension (i.e. SFE has to pay you your funding), providing that the University knows that student suspended due to poor health.

 

Those students who suspend on non-medical grounds are not entitled to any further funding from the day of their suspension.

 

However, SFE may agree to pay loan instalments on a discretionary basis i.e. they don’t have to pay you but they may, depending on your reasons for the suspension.

 

Discretionary extension of student funding (i.e. for more than 60 days for ill students and throughout the abeyance for non-ill students) can be requested via the CPR letter.

 

PLEASE NOTE; discretionary support is not available to ‘external students’ who are not in attendance (i.e. attend only for resits or at the end of their course), as opposed to students who are ‘suspending study’ (or intercalating) with the agreement of their institution. The latter category can be considered for discretionary support.


 

How to submit a “Compelling Personal Reasons” Request

  1. Compose a letter:

Letter head:

  • Address letter to Student Finance, include the sending address and return address.
  • Include Customer Reference Number (CRN)

 

Introduction

  • Introduce yourself, mention who you are, what type of student you are (year of study, course name, UG or PG student and which university). 
  • Mention what funding you are requesting from SFE

 

Timeline

  • Academic breakdown of what previous funding you have had (if any) up to the end of your current courses funding.

 

EG:

  • 2017-2018- 1st year Psychology- Brunel University- received tuition fee and maintenance loan
  • 2018-2019- 2nd year Psychology- Brunel University- received tuition fee’s and maintenance loan 
  • 2019-2020- 1st year History- Brunel University –requesting CPR for tuition and maintenance loan.
  • And so on till the end of your current course  

 

Following Paragraphs

  • Mention your situation in depth in chronological order
  • Include when your difficulties started and how long they affected you
  • How did it affect your studies and personal life, include key dates.
  •  

If asking for funding during abeyance

  • Explain your financial circumstances
  • Mention why you will be unable to support yourself without discretionary help from SFE.
  • PLEASE NOTE Just stating so will not be enough; you really need to convince SFE about your financial hardship.
     

 

Gather evidence

Find evidence which supports statements which you make in your CPR letter

  • Financial commitments (income, if any, housing costs, childcare, debt).
  • Describe the evidence in your CPR letter- don’t assume SFE will try to guess, or that they have any prior knowledge or that they will read between the lines.

Types of evidence can include:

  • If in contact with the university’s Student Support and Welfare Team, you can request a letter which includes a breakdown of your academic journey.
  • If studied somewhere else previously, possibly evidence of attendee dates from there as well.
  • Medical evidence from a medical professional which includes dates of when your situation affected you and your studies.
  • Death Certificate
  • Accepted EC’s emails/documents
  • Previous time taken out of your studies (abeyance) email/documents

Please note this list is not exhaustive.

 

Send draft letter with evidence to ARC to be reviewed before sending off

Once agreed on the final version with your ARC Adviser, the Adviser can send the letter to SFE on your behalf. The Adviser may also attach their own letter of support if this is what they have agreed with you.


What happens next?

 

It usually takes between four and six weeks for Student Finance England to consider the CPR request.  You should keep checking your emails and ask SFE for updates if it exceeds this time.

 

Student Finance England don’t always write to you to say that your request has been considered and to let you know the outcome.  Sometimes they just send you a Student Finance Breakdown like you would get if you’d applied for statutory support according to the usual process.  If the request has been unsuccessful the Student Finance Breakdown will say £0.00 against Maintenance Loan/ Grant.


 

If you are experiencing financial hardship now

 

If you are experiencing financial hardship now, or expect to experience it while waiting for Student Finance England to consider your request, you should contact the ARC.

 

The ARC can advise you on applications to Students Union hardship fund and take you through the process of applying to the University’s own hardship fund. You can find more information about hardship funding here

 

You can also use the following resource – Blackbullion – to assist you with money management:   https://intra.brunel.ac.uk/s/moneyandbudgeting/blackbullion

 

What advice and help can I expect to receive from the Advice & Representation Centre?

We are able to assist with the following:

 

  • Help you to understand the process
  • Discuss how you can demonstrate your situation to SFE and what evidence should be submitted
  • Check draft letters before you submit them
  • Talk through realistic outcomes and what you could expect
  • Help you decide whether appealing is a realistic option