Clearing a path to higher education

Ahead of the release of A-Level results on Thursday 18th August 2022, the Student Loans Company (SLC) is sharing its top tips for prospective students going through Clearing this year.

It’s predicted that this year’s Clearing window will be busier than ever, due to a range of factors, including an increase in the number of 18-year-olds heading to university or college as well as a return to a more normal academic year following Covid. SLC is encouraging students not to wait to apply for student finance, even if they don’t have a confirmed course place yet.

With a processing time of up to six to eight weeks, eligible students who are applying for higher rates of maintenance loans or for additional grants may not receive their full funding entitlement at the start of term. However, in these circumstances SLC will award the Tuition Fee Loan and the minimum amount of Maintenance Loan before the start of the course, while it confirms household income and any other relevant details. Students will get the remainder of their maintenance and any other funding entitlement as a top up payment as soon as possible once those details are confirmed.

Chris Larmer, Operations Director at SLC, said: “We have around 1.5 million students expected to start or return to education this autumn and my advice to students this week is not to wait for your exams results – submit an application as soon as possible as it can always be changed and updated online at a later date.”

SLC’s Clearing Top Tips

  • The easiest way to apply is online:Students in England can apply at: https://studentfinance.campaign.gov.uk/ Students in Wales can apply at: https://www.studentfinancewales.co.uk/discover-student-finance
  • For most students, it’s straightforward to apply and should only take around 30 minutes.This year SLC has improved the service to make it easier to use, which means that the majority can complete their application digitally – submitting evidence, updating personal details and checking on next steps via their online accounts.  If they need any help, there is plenty of information available online. Students in England can apply at: https://studentfinance.campaign.gov.uk/ Students in Wales can apply at: https://www.studentfinancewales.co.uk/discover-student-finance
  • Once submitted, applications take up to six to eight weeks to process and we will get in touch if we need more information.Students can use the application tracker in their online account to view their application’s status, at a time that is convenient for them– so they don’t have to worry or get in touch with us for an update on progress. Read more about the process: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/how-to-get-your-first-payment-if-youre-applying-late
  • You won’t need to do anything unless your university, college or course details change.If you accept a place at university or college through Clearing, you’ll need to sign in to your student finance account and let us know of any changes. You must do this even if your UCAS application has changed – your student finance application is not linked to UCAS. You’ll need to change the university or college on the application as well as your course. You should also tell us the correct tuition fee being charged for your new course.
  • If your exam results are different from what you expected and your course choice if different from when you initially applied for your student finance, make sure that you update your course and university details in your online account right away.
  • To help students in England who are applying for student finance during Clearing.SLC has  a guide containing useful information including steps they can take to ensure their application can be processed quickly.

Chris added: “Last year, we paid out £22bn in Tuition Fees and Maintenance Loans and this year we are expecting similar numbers. Our absolute priority is to ensure that we have as many student finance applications as possible processed and ready to pay at the start of term, including those that applied during Clearing. Our team is ready for a busy few weeks ahead and we wish students all the best on Thursday.” 

SLC opened its application window in February this year and students were encouraged to apply before the deadline (20 May 2022 for new students and 24 June 2022 for returning students) to ensure they had their finance in place for the start of term. Students whose applications are currently being processed but whose course, university or college haven’t changed after results day, do not need to take any action unless they are asked to provide evidence. In that situation, SLC will be in touch. Students can keep track of their application status via the online tracker.

PAYadvice.UK 16/8/2022

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