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Durham University

Student Finance

Common Issues

It's the start of the academic year and my Maintenance Loan/Grant hasn't been paid.

In the first instance you should ring Student Finance England / Student Finance Northern Ireland / Student Finance Wales / the Student Awards Agency for Scotland using the contact details below.

Student Finance England

Student Finance Northern Ireland

Student Finance Wales

Student Awards Agency for Scotland

If you are told to contact your university, contact the Undergraduate Team in the Scholarships and Student Funding Office on financialsupport.undergraduate@durham.ac.uk or 0191 334 6063.

I've been assessed by Student Finance England (or equivalent) but I don't think my Maintenance Loan/Grant is right.

In the first instance you should ring Student Finance England / Student Finance Northern Ireland / Student Finance Wales / the Student Awards Agency for Scotland using the contact details below.

Student Finance England

Student Finance Northern Ireland

Student Finance Wales

Student Awards Agency for Scotland

If you are told to contact your university, or if you're confused about what Student Finance England (or equivalent) says to you, contact the Undergraduate Team in the Scholarships and Student Funding Office on financialsupport.undergraduate@durham.ac.uk or 0191 334 6063.

Durham Grant Problems

I think I'm eligible for the Durham Grant but I've not heard anything about it.

Contact the Undergraduate Team in the Scholarships and Student Funding Office on financialsupport.undergraduate@durham.ac.uk or 0191 334 6063.

Not Enough Money To Live On

I haven't got enough money to live on.

If you're sure that you're receiving the correct amount of Maintenance Loan/Grant and Durham Grant and you've accessed all other reasonable sources of income, and you've still not got enough money to live on you may be able to apply for support from the University Hardship Fund.

Suspension of Study

Sometimes students need to suspend their studies due to health or other problems. If you suspend your studies it will affect your student finance.

Your Tuition Fees

If you suspend your studies you are likey to be charged a tuition fee as set out below.

First Year Students who have a Tuition Fee Loan from Student Finance England (or equivalent)

Date of Suspension Tuition Fee Charged
Before 1st December 0%
1st December to last day of Christmas Vacation 25%
First day of Epiphany Term to last day of Easter Vacation 50%
First day of Easter Term to end of academic year 100%

Non-first-year Students who have a Tuition Fee Loan from Student Finance England (or equivalent)

Date of Suspension Tuition Fee Charged
First day of academic year to last day of Christmas Vacation 25%
First day of Epiphany Term to last day of Easter Vacation 50%
First day of Easter Term to end of academic year 100%

Students who do not have a Tuition Fee Loan from Student Finance England (or equivalent) will be charged differently. Please see here for further information.

When you resume your studies you are likely to be charged the balance of one full year's tuition fee. For example if you suspend your studies between the first day of the Epiphany Term and the last day of the Easter Vacation and are charged 50% of the full tuition fee you are likely be charged the remaining 50% when you resume your studies.

Please note that this information is provided for information purposes only. It is not exhaustive and may not reflect what happens in your individual case. University policy on tuition fee charging may be found here.

If you have a Tuition Fee Loan from Student Finance England (or equivalent) the University will notify Student Finance England (or equivalent) that you have suspended your studies and tell them how much your tuition fee you have been charged. The correct amount will then be paid to the University (if any extra has been paid, it will be clawed back and removed from the amount you owe).

Your Maintenance Loan/Grant

It can take Student Finance England (or equivalent) 4 - 6 weeks to process the University's notification that you have suspended your studies. Student Finance England (or equivalent) will not pay you any further Maintenance Loan/Grant instalments after they have processed the notification that you have suspended your studies. However you may receive a payment while your the notification is awaiting processing. You may have to repay some or all of this payment.

Students who suspend their studies are entitled to Maintenance Loan/Grant pro-rata to the number of days from the start of the academic year to the date on which they suspended their studies, plus 60 extra days' worth if the suspension was due to health reasons. Student Finance England (or equivalent) will calculate your Maintenance Loan/Grant entitlement and ask you to repay any overpayment.

Managing Financially Through Suspension

Students whose studies are suspended are still considered by the Department for Work and Pensions to be full-time students, so are not usually entitled to any benefits over and above those available to full-time students.

If you suspended your studies due to what Student Finance England (or equivalent) call "compelling personal reasons" - these include serious illness, pregnancy, caring responsibilities and other circumstances beyond your control - and if you will have financial committments during your period of suspension which you won't be able to meet without your Maintenance Loan/Grant it is possible to ask Student Finance England (or equivalent) to pay your Maintenance Loan/Grant through your period of suspension. They have the discretion to pay you out or not. The request process is a complex one, and students are advised to seek help from the Scholarships and Student Funding Office rather than submit requests themselves. To contact the Scholarships and Student Funding Office e-mail us on financialsupport.undergraduate@durham.ac.uk.

If Student Finance England (or equivalent) do not agree to pay your Maintenance Loan/Grant you can apply for financial support from the University Hardship Fund via the Student Support Office in your College.

Disregarding Study

Under normal circumstances, students are entitled to full funding from Student Finance England (or equivalent) for the length of their course plus one year. Most students who have to suspend their studies use their extra year of full funding for their repeat year. However, students who have studied on another course in higher education before, or who have suspended and repeated before, have already used up their repeat year. These students can only get partial funding for their repeat year (partial funding = Maintenance Loan and Parents Learning Allowance/Childcare Grant/Adult Dependants Grant/Disabled Students Allowanced only, no Tuition Fee Loan).

It is possible to ask Student Finance England (or equivalent) to "disregard" the year of study during which you suspended. This means that they don't take it into account when calculating your entitlement to funding for future years. Again Student Finance England (or equivalent) have the discretion to disregard study or not, and the request process is complex. Students are advised to seek help from the Scholarships and Student Funding Office rather than submit requests themselves. To contact the Scholarships and Student Funding Office e-mail us on financialsupport.undergraduate@durham.ac.uk.

Withdrawal from Study

Your Tuition Fees

If you withdraw from your studies you are likey to be charged a tuition fee as set out below.

First Year Students who have a Tuition Fee Loan from Student Finance England (or equivalent)

Date of Suspension Tuition Fee Charged
Before 1st December 0%
1st December to last day of Christmas Vacation 25%
First day of Epiphany Term to last day of Easter Vacation 50%
First day of Easter Term to end of academic year 100%

Non-first-year Students who have a Tuition Fee Loan from Student Finance England (or equivalent)

Date of Suspension Tuition Fee Charged
First day of academic year to last day of Christmas Vacation 25%
First day of Epiphany Term to last day of Easter Vacation 50%
First day of Easter Term to end of academic year 100%

Students who do not have a Tuition Fee Loan from Student Finance England (or equivalent) will be charged differently. Please see here for further information.

Please note that this information is provided for information purposes only. It is not exhaustive and may not reflect what happens in your individual case. University policy on tuition fee charging may be found here.

If you have a Tuition Fee Loan from Student Finance England (or equivalent) the University will notify Student Finance England (or equivalent) that you have withdrawn from your studies and tell them how much your tuition fee you have been charged. The correct amount will then be paid to the University (if any extra has been paid, it will be clawed back and removed from the amount you owe).

Your Maintenance Loan/Grant

It can take Student Finance England (or equivalent) 4 - 6 weeks to process the University's notification that you have withdrawn from your studies. Student Finance England (or equivalent) will not pay you any further Maintenance Loan/Grant instalments after they have processed the notification that you have withdrawn from your studies. However you may receive a payment while your the notification is awaiting processing. You may have to repay some or all of this payment.

Money Worries

I'm so worried about money it's starting to affect my academic progress/health.

These web pages will hopefully enable you to take practical steps to improve your financial circumstances. However, if your money worries are affecting your academic progress or your health/wellbeing, or if you just want a chat about money, you should contact the Student Support Office in your College.

The Counselling Service is also available to students whose money worries are affecting their academic progress/health.

This leaflet is produced by the Counselling Service, and may be of help to you.

Debts

I've got debts that I can't manage.

We recommend that you discuss your debts with an organisation such as Stepchange or the Citizens' Advice Bureau.

This Money Advice Service webpage also provides information for those struggling with debt.

The Student Support Office in your College is also there to support you if you're having problems.

You may also be eligible for some support from the University Hardship Fund, but please note that it can only support debt repayments if you have stopped using the source of credit and if you have negotiated token minimum repayments with Stepchange, Citizens' Advice Bureau or similar.

Gambling

I'm Worried Amount Gambling

If you are concerned about the amount of time and money you spend gambling, but are not yet ready to seek professional support, you can try self-excluding. This means that you can ask a company to stop you gambling with them for a specified period of time. To self-exclude go to Gamstop Online. You can also install software onto your phone to block certain websites using gamban.

You can also call the National Gambling Helpline on Freephone 0808 8020 133 or try these self-help exercises.

However, we would always recommend that you seek professional support. Organisations such as Gamblers Anonymous or Gamcare offer support and you can also find information and sources of support via BeGambleAware and the NHS.

There is also information specifically for students available from the Gambling Commission. Start here.

The Student Support Office in your College is also there to support you if you're having problems.

You Are Not Alone

See the statistics on students and gambling below.

Resources

Family Breakdown

My relationship with my parents has broken down and it means I can't get means-tested funding from Student Finance England (or equivalent).

It's possible to ask Student Finance England to assess you as an independent student on the grounds of estrangement. The Student Finance England definition of estrangement is not having had any contact with your parents for over a year or your relationship with your parents has broken down irretrievably and there is likely to be no reconciliation in the foreseeable future. This has to be confirmed in writing by "a professional person" who can be a member of staff at the University or the Students' Union, a counsellor, doctor etc.

If this applies to you contact the Scholarships and Student Funding Office on financialsupport.undergraduate@durham.ac.uk or 0191 334 6063 for help submitting a request.

You may also find useful information/support through Stand Alone, which supports estranged adults.

The Student Support Office in your College is also there to support you if you're having problems with family estrangement, as is the Counselling Service.

Money and Mental Health

Having a mental illness can make it more difficult to manage your money. These websites provide helpful information and sources of support.

The Money and Mental Health Policy Institute

Mental Health UK

MIND

Phishing

Fraud