Parents and Partners – Supporting a Student’s Application

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In This Guide

  • Types of Loan
  • Other Bursaries
  • How Parents and Partners are Affected
  • The Income You’ll Declare
  • What to Expect Next
  • Deadlines for Applying
  • More on Applications
  • Why Support?

When it comes to funding the costs of studying at college or university, you may be able to apply for and receive a certain amount of money to help cover both living and tuition expenses. Finding such funding and remaining eligible will depend upon a number of factors, and when it comes to applying for certain loans, you may have to take into account what is known as your household income.

If you live with your parents or with a partner, this means that certain data from their income will need to be taken into account so that a certain amount of money can be fairly allocated to you.

Types of Loan

All UK students are eligible to apply for two types of loan – both of which can be paid back at a later date based on future income – and it is worth bearing in mind that these are classed as separate to various grants available, which are non-repayable. The two main types of loan available for students are:

  • Tuition Fee Loans – Which are applied for to ensure that the cost of courses are covered
  • Maintenance Loans – Which are applied for to ensure that the student’s cost of living is effectively taken care of while they are in full-time education.  These types of loan cover basic faculties such as rent and utility bills, for example.

You’ll need to pay these loans back at a later date and not until you’ve finished your course in question – this is usually based on how much you are set to earn, as a certain deduction will be made from your monthly wage. The repayment threshold is the watershed by which you will be deemed eligible to start paying back your loan amount in regular intervals – and you will also be subject to interest as years go by.

Other Bursaries

As mentioned, loans aren’t the only form of financial support which you can gain before heading to college or university. You may be able to obtain certain grants or bursaries based upon your living situation, if you have dependent children, if you are disabled, or if you are entitled to a scholarship.

There are various different parameters involved and options available, meaning that it is always worthwhile consulting the institution you are hoping to study with if you require a certain amount of money to be able to fund your living and learning.

How Parents and Partners are Affected

When it comes to applying for certain loans, parents or partners may need to supply certain information about their income where necessary. This is to ascertain whether or not they need additional financial support from the government based upon finance that may be available to them at home.

Therefore, as a parent or as a partner of a future student, you may be required to provide certain information on how much you have earned during the previous tax year. This means that – for example – if your child or partner is due to start studying in the academic year of 2018 (starting September), you will need to give income details pertaining to the tax year 2016/17.

This information is used to work out how much – if anything – can be applied in terms of an additional maintenance loan on top of tuition fee coverage. This service is income-based and means-tested, meaning that the information you provide will need to be accurate and backed up by paper or digital evidence.

The Income You’ll Declare

The income you need to declare for your household – whether you are a parent or a partner – will need to cover the whole of the household involved. This means that you need to take into account your income, your partner’s income and your child’s income – however much your household receives on an annual basis, you will need to advise so that your child or partner can receive the full loan they are entitled to based on means testing.

For divorced parents, or those who are separated, only the income of the parent upon which the student is dependent will be taken into account.

Should you be supporting the application of your partner, you will need to declare your overall income for the household – in a similar fashion to above.

What to Expect Next

From here, you will receive an email confirmation once your partner or child has submitted their application – and with this you will need to go online to register an account so that your income details can be submitted securely for HM Revenue and Customs to investigate further and make an informed decision. You’ll need to supply certain details such as your National Insurance number and your income for the household for the tax year leading up to the academic year in which the student is set to enrol.

From here, you may be contacted further if more evidence is needed from you – or if HMRC are concerned that the details you have provided don’t fit their records. Once all details have been accepted, the student will receive confirmation on bursaries they are set to receive for the year ahead.

Deadlines for Applying

Any student wishing to apply for funding, regardless of whether or not they are receiving application support from a parent or guardian, will need to make sure that they have all the relevant information handed in by a certain date depending on when their course(s) are set to start.

Depending upon where you live in the UK, you will sometimes be able to apply for finance even before your grades have been confirmed for you to move on to university or similar – but in any case, you will need to make sure that you apply far ahead of time, and that if you are supporting an application, that your details and confirmation(s) are supplied by certain deadlines so that the student in question can benefit as soon as possible.

While deadlines may be subject to change, and while some sources may suggest that signing up for student finance around nine months in advance is the best way to go, there are a few general deadlines which you can pay attention to if you wish to make sure that the full possible coverage is there for when the courses in question start.

If the course in question starts between 1st August and 31st December – which is generally common for university courses – applications for student finance will need to be finalised and handed in by the 31st May of the year that the application is being made – so it pays to get everything in ahead of time.

If the course in question is deferred or starts later, i.e. between 1st January and 31st March the next year, you will need to make sure that all financial applications are present and filed by the 30th September of the year before.

If the course doesn’t start until between 1st April and 30th June, you’ll need to have all finance data in and filed by the end of the current year, 31st December.

Finally, do make sure that you have all data filed by 31st March if the course is set to begin during the month of July. Under some circumstances, you may be able to apply for funding after your course has started – though this will likely vary from institution to institution and from course to course – and it is always a good idea to file this information early where possible.

More on Applications

The student will need to apply for student finance each and every year they enrol if they wish to benefit from a maintenance loan – meaning that yearly income will always need to be advised should they wish to forward such an application. This process is designed so that those students who come from households where they may not have much financial ability to fund themselves for the year ahead can effectively cover their expenses while studying. This type of assistance is available from year to year, meaning that it is always worth forwarding the next application well in advance should you feel that financial support is necessary.

Do also be aware that, as a parent or partner of a student applying for such loans – you will not be held responsible for repaying such finance yourself – this is always the responsibility of the student.

Why Support?

As a parent or partner of a student, you will likely want to ensure that you are able to support them in any way you can – and while maintenance loans are based on your income, it is calculated in this fashion as it is judged to be a fair basis.  Supporting your child or partner’s application by submitting income details allows them to gain access to a wealth of financial support that they may otherwise not be able to achieve. Don’t worry – because, as stated, you won’t be expected to be held personally liable for any fees that need to be paid back – the student will be liable.