Page last updated at 15:44 GMT, Thursday, 3 December 2009

Student loans: your comments

Students are still emailing the BBC News Website to complain they have not received their student loans or grants. Here is a selection of the e-mails received in the past week:

I've had to quit uni as my loan still hasn't come through and my rent for halls of residence was due. I was asked to pay £770 at the start of term to get a place on the course as my loan confirmation had not yet come through. I come from a unemployed single-parent family and am entitled to the full loan and grant and any relevant bursaries from my college.

Living frugally is all part of being an art student, but I have reached my overdraft limit and have been struggling to feed myself! I knew there was nothing more I could do than to pull out of the course altogether. Now I'm happy to be out of uni and back home working so I can afford to er, live! Hopefully I will start again next year and won't have such a bad time with student finance.Shelly, ex- Central Saint Martin's student.
Shelly, Colchester, Essex

I started my university in October and still have not received any funding. I live in private accommodation and I have not paid the rent for the last 3 months i am afraid I am going to get out of the flat if I don't come up with the rent I don't know who to turn to because I have been borrowing money for the last 3 months. Student finance is the biggest joke in England at the moment it should get an award to be publicly recognised.

Hamid, Uxbridge

Compensation should be made as I have now been charged £125 for withdrawing money 5 times, because i have had no choice, food and rent!

This is ridiculous and I have still not received any money, not even a letter telling me how much I'm entitled to! Whatever it is , they should "expletive deletive" double it!!! How am I meant to pay rent, buy food, live? This student finance England is an absolute shambles!

All the ministers should resign and find jobs as something where it wont screw thousands of lives up! especially not a job in finance!

I have been living of literally £0 for 2+ months! I owe housemates considerable amounts of money, due to bills and some food because i am at the limit of a £1250 overdraft! absolutely ridiculous!

These ministers should take a long look in their expensive mirrors in their second homes and get a grip and do something about it!
Brooke Butler, Bristol UWE

I started university in September and as I have a young infant I felt it was important to get the finance side organised in time for my start date. I originally sent the required information off in May, however it was not until September that I was told they needed additional information. I get told something different every time I ring the student finance 'helpline', they seem to like the phrase- 'just a few more weeks Miss Hamilton'. I have received a student loan which has gone on my childcare fees. I have now run out of money and I am unsure how long I will be waiting for the additional support. This is another government run organization that is a completely unreliable and unorganised. If the correct information was available, and the correspondence was efficient then I am certain the majority still waiting would be more satisfied with the service.
Sophia, Bury St Edmunds

I applied on 3rd March. I started my PGCE on 14th September. Still no money. I have 2 young children and am struggling despite being entitled to maximum support as a single parent. I have borrowed money from uni to cover childcare but they wont lend me anymore. My overdraft and credit card are on their limits and student finance have said today at least another 2 weeks to wait having promised I would have the letter by today. They lost my passport and then denied all knowledge of it! I don't have friends or family to help me and am now dreading Christmas! What am I going to tell my children if SFE don't pay up?
K Mackie, Plymouth, Devon

I started at Greenwich University mid September. I have just found out from SLC that I probably wont receive any money until January! I can't afford to eat or travel let alone socialise with people at university or buy Christmas presents. I have been forced to support myself with a private loan - this is going to have catastrophic impacts on my financial situation. I am not confident that any compensation will be offered to remedy this.

I rarely get a full night sleep, I have been forced to work as many shifts as possible at my part time job, and my university work is suffering. Someone needs to accept responsibility for this appalling system!
Anon, London

My son also has no loan yet but on Monday I emailed our MP and guess what? By Tuesday his assessment had been made. That's only taken since April. Now though we have to wait 2 more weeks minimum for SLC to verify his National Insurance number. If he gets his money by Christmas it'll be a shock. Desperate, desperate lack of organisation and interest by SLC. The CEO needs a rocket somewhere, not the bonus I bet he will get in his Christmas stocking. So parents - get your MP onto it! It's the only way to make a difference it seems. PS The MPs have a direct email connection to the CEO.
Amanda Randall, Cambridge

I am still waiting to hear back from student finance and it's now December, I am now faced with the possibility of having to leave my course as I have no proof that I will receive anything and my uni keeps sending me invoices. It is an absolute joke, I was told 3 weeks ago I'd have money in December and yesterday told it would be Jan at the earliest! I'm stuck :(
Charlotte , Grimsby

Student finance is extremely disorganised, I applied in May, it was first approved in August, then rejected first in week in Sept then approved again in Oct and then just got a letter that I am not eligible! What is going on!!!!!
Joana Mboso Riley, London

Still awaiting money, they gave me my grant but had to wait for confirmation of my National Insurance number (it hasn't changed since I took out a loan for my first degree). I have 2 young children and I'm a single mother doing a teacher training course. How can they expect people to live? After all the funding that was put up to increase the number of teachers, they'll let us freeze to death!

Absolutely disgusting the way we've been treated. Will we be reimbursed for bank charges?

I was told last week that they're currently working on paperwork received on 17th October so anything I sent them won't be looked at until Christmas. I bet they'll get long holidays too...........

R, Rochester

I am a mature student & single parent, in my final year at uni. I have always achieved high marks & attendance. This term has been a nightmare. Every phone call has been a waste of time, unhelpful & incompetent staff. I have had to apply for extensions on my deadlines as I am unable to pay for childcare, as well as basic course materials, core text books, and having had my phone & internet cut off (borrowed from friends to get it back on). I have had to apply to college hardship funds to pay for basic travel costs to college. All this stress & anxiety due to complete incompetence, in a failing system, in which bosses get £1.9millon bonuses - a reward for WHAT???, while we contemplate giving up the chance of a better future by gaining a degree, because of the SLC's inadequacies.
JP, Plymouth

My son is a first year university student, he received his tuition loan which is paid direct to the university, he received his student loan which covers his accommodation, he had about £100 left, we applied for a maintenance grant in June due to the fact my husband was made redundant in April, we sent all the correct paperwork, then just before my son went to university in September they asked for my husband's P45 which was sent immediately, we still have not received the maintenance grant, having rang several times and told the same thing that they have a backlog. I last rang 2 weeks ago and was told they are dealing with post received on the 16th September, so therefore it will be another 6 weeks at least, it seems to me that when they ask for more information you go to the back of the queue, so it is irrelevant when you send your application. We are very worried at present, my husband is not working, I work part time and our son is in his first year at university with very little money. This is totally unacceptable.
Mrs P Boughen, Kettering, Northants

I have a wife and three children and applied for funding for my PGCE course 5 MONTHS ago. I still haven't received a penny. I have been told that they can't accept an out of date passport. It takes SEVEN weeks at least, to confirm a birth certificate, and now I have just received another letter telling me my passport is out of date(I took birth certificate and forms into their DARLINGTON offices weeks ago!) (very heavy security there, I wonder why). I just happened to notice that my student ID (unique reference number) has changed. Rang up to ask why? What's going on? They hung up! Fed up with their lies, sorry kids no Santa this year! Hope that guy who got the bonus can sleep at night, I cant!

Allan Hale, Rothbury Northumberland

My partner and daughter applied for Student Finance back in May, we are now in December and still NOTHING!!. They keep using stalling tactics so that they can buy themselves more time. We sent all the paperwork it asked for with the application, then all of a sudden they needed my daughters birth certificate (which they'd never asked for before or requested). Now that they have received this, they need my partner's P60, even though he has sent them his "usual" payslip to show his earnings. They say now that she won't get her loan until the New Year 2010. Myself and her father are helping all we can, but it is an immense strain emotionally and financially. My daughter is worried sick and has no money to live on and we're helping all we can but its a struggle.

The call centres won't help at all, they just advise to "look online" at the progress. They won't tell you whether they've received paperwork or not. Everytime they ask for more paperwork it delays it another 4 weeks!!! The whole system and the staff that work there are useless. I could do a better job myself!

Samantha , West Midlands, UK

I sent my finance form in, in July and my student finance is sorted. But when I rang about my childcare grants they said the had all the information they need but now they have sent me a letter asking for more information when can they get it right. Do they not know that with no money you can not send anything in as everything costs? I think this is stupid and they should of expected this number of applications.
Lorraine Hayes, Preston

The statement that the company has maintained its promise to assess means tested students by the 31st of October is a complete lie. My dad has been very ill for the past year and has been unable to work, and as such I sent in a change of circumstances form with evidence from my family back in June. It is now the end of November, yet I still haven't had the grant approval that I so desperately need. All requested documents have been sent in TWICE because they were lost the first time.

Unfortunately I am not the only one in this situation, several of my friends here at university who also applied to be means tested still do not have their money. The whole system is a joke, and all these statements and pledges that the company is making don't bear any reality to the actual situation.
Adam Lynch, Preston

It's a disgrace! I have a 7 month old son, and it is hard enough juggling university stress with being a new mum, let alone all this worry! I have been to uni for 10 weeks, and still have not received any payment. I have been asked for my date of birth 6 times, and had to submit my paperwork twice, including my son's birth certificate. When I phone (if I can get through!) they have no knowledge of my income assessed application, and usually quote that their system is down. It seems to be down more that working. What kind of system is this? They are cowboys and nothing more! Making it difficult when its already difficult as it is.
Claire, Wolverhampton

I applied for my student loan back in July. I forgot to sign the declaration at the end of the form. I was never contacted regarding this until i rang up in September when my loan hadn't arrived, they said I must sign a certain form and return it to them. I have since sent fours forms, which all seemed to have 'not arrived'. I then sent a letter by recorded delivery which arrived over 6 weeks ago (i checked online). The company have still claimed i have not sent in the forms. So it looks like i will not get my loan until next year and i have had to get a credit card, it cannot take 5 month to process!? I don't know what more i can do to help myself!
Fabienne, Oxford, England

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