How to Apply for a Student Loan
A student loan is a funding necessity for most university applicants and current students, so it’s important to know how to fill out the paperwork and forms in order to receive your cash on time. Student loans are available to both new students and returning students, and there are two types.
The tuition fee student loan is available to all students, and does not involve means testing, while the maintenance student loan does require financial assessment (this means it takes into account household income - normally this will mean how much your parents earn).
Both types of student loans are initially organised by your Local Education Authority (often abbreviated to LEA) - which is the borough in which you normally live. The LEA will either provide you with student loan paperwork directly, (normally online) or ask you to fill it out to the Student Loans Company, which some LEAs hire to organise student loans. If you are unsure which LEA you come under, phone your local council to find out.
What Form Do I Need?If you are web savvy, it’s easy to apply for a student loan online. The site depends on where you live - a quick search for student loans in England, or Northern Ireland, Wales or Scotland should show you where to go. The English site, for example, is http://www.direct.gov.uk
Each of these national student loans sites will take you through the application process step by step. If you prefer to use paper forms, and you are a new student who is going to university for the first time, then you need form PN1. If, on the other hand, you are a returning student who qualifies as a “home status” student (you live in the UK), then you will need to use form PR1 to apply. Returning students from the EU require form EUPR1.
How Do I Fill in the Student Loan Application Form PN1?PN1 is the student loan application for new university students. It comes with guidance notes that should help you to fill it in, but here are some extra guidelines. All students are obliged to fill in section 1-6, as well as the Loan Request Form, and all applicants must also sign a signature at the end of the form. If you are applying for a maintenance loan, which is means-tested, then you will also need to fill in section 7-13. If your income is being assessed according to your household, i.e. you are not married, or regarded as an independent student.
First, you will be asked for your personal details - name, date of birth, address and so on. If you are confused by a request for your ART ID, don’t worry, this is only relevant if you have previously applied. Section 3, about your residence, means providing information about your nationality as well as proof, via your passport or birth certificate. Section 4 is about the course you’re applying to study for, and section 5 asks if you have previously had a student loans. Section 6 asks for your banking details, in order for the loan company to pay any loans into your account.
The Loan Request Form requires you to tick whether you want to apply for a maintenance loan or tuition fee loan. If you are interested in the former, you will have to complete the rest of the form including information on income. Note that section 9, however, is relevant only if you want to apply for a particular grant, such as the Parents’ Learning Allowance, Adult Dependant’s Grant, or Childcare Grant. By contrast section 10 is relevant for all applications, and requires you to write about your family.