Issue: Financial Hardship
"I approached the Advice Centre in a panic, upset and wondering if I should give up my studies. I was due to pay my rent in a couple of days and had no money to pay it. I hadn’t received the student finance I had applied for due to delays receiving paperwork, I was about to run out of money to travel to university and on top of all this I am a single mother with two children and was struggling to buy food to feed them.
The Students’ Union Advice Centre staff sat me down, listened to my issues and set about resolving them; firstly they printed off the relevant paperwork and ensured it was posted to Student Finance by recorded delivery. An adviser spoke to my landlord and explained the situation regarding my student loan and the Landlord agreed to cancel the direct debit and accept payment when my loan arrived. The advisers also gave me an emergency loan of £20 for travel costs and a shopping voucher to enable me to buy some food. Next, an adviser sat with me and helped me fill out Student Harship Fund form which would, if successful, provide me with a grant to help me continue my studies. Finally, the advice centre referred me to the Finance desk at the University to apply for a small bridging loan to tide me over while I waited for my Student Finance to arrive. Whilst at the University Finance Desk I explained that my campus card had been damaged and although I couldn’t afford to have it replaced at a cost of £10. The finance desk arranged for me to get a replacement free of charge.
In the space of a few hours the Advice Centre and the University Finance desk had sorted out my student finance application, supplied me with a food voucher, given me a small amount of money to help me travel to work and live on, helped me apply for a grant to continue my studies and lastly managed to get me a new campus card."
Issue: Troubles with Student Finance England
"I approached the Advice Centre at the end of September; as I was having problems with Student Finance (SFE) due to a change of circumstances (COC).
The University let SFE know about this in early September and SFE confirmed receipt of the COC task. This sat in a processing queue for 30 days. When it was due to have been processed an adviser contacted them with Jeremy, only to be informed that the COC had been passed for processing but was now in a further 30 day queue.
By this time my landlord was making demands for rent which was overdue. The adviser helped me to submit an application for the Student Hardship Fund and sent them an email (with my consent) confirming the information we had received from SFE. The Student Hardship Fund gave me an award of a month’s rent.
A month later the COC had been processed but it had been done so incorrectly. SFE had made a part payment but the I was still in arrears with my rent and under pressure again from the landlord. The SFE situation was not likely to be resolved before the January payment date so with my consent the adviser got back in touch with the Student Hardship Fund team and explained my situation in detail. They re-assessed my application and made a further award of a month’s rent and a month’s composite living costs.
This made a total Student Hardship Fund award of £1020.
*Disclaimer: All names have been changed to ensure the confidentiality of clients.