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Frequently Asked Questions


Applying online

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Application Queries

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Information for parents and partners

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Families with more than one student

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Getting your payment

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Changing course before you begin your studies

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Changing course - after your first year

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Repayments and interest

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Additional information

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Applying Online

I don’t know my Customer Reference Number (CRN). Can I still log into my account?

Yes, you can also log into your account using your registered email address.

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I don’t know my Customer Reference Number (CRN) or the email address that’s registered to my account. What can I do?

You can get a reminder of either your Customer Reference Number or email address.

On the login page, follow the link 'Forgotten your email address or CRN?'.

You will be asked to confirm your:

  • Surname
  • Date of birth
  • Postcode

After confirming these, you'll be shown a reminder of your email address. Some characters will be hidden for security.

You can use this email address to log in. If you prefer, you can also request your Customer Reference Number be sent to your email address.

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I have forgotten my password. What can I do?

Follow the link 'Forgotten your password?' to create a new password. You will be asked to confirm your:

  • Surname
  • Date of birth
  • Postcode

After confirming these, a reset email will be sent to your email address. Don't forget to check your spam and junk folders for this email.

When you get the email it will contain a web address. Copy and paste the web address into your browser. You will be directed back to our login screens where you'll need to confirm some characters from your secret answer before you can create a new password and log into your account.

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I have forgotten my secret answer. What can I do?

Follow the link 'Forgotten secret answer?' to create a new secret answer. You will be asked to confirm your:

  • Surname
  • Date of birth
  • Postcode

After confirming these, a reset email will be sent to your email address. Don't forget to check your spam and junk folders for this email.

When you get the email it will contain a web address. Copy and paste the web address into your browser. You will be directed back to our login screens where you'll need to confirm some characters from your secret answer before you can create a new password and log into your account.

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I have forgotten both my password and my secret answer. What can I do?

speak with one of our customer advisers, who will issue you with a temporary password and secret answer by email.

When you get the email
it will contain your temporary password and secret answer.
Log in again by following these steps:

  1. At the first login screen, use your Customer Reference Number or email address and the temporary password from the email.
  2. You’ll then need to confirm some characters from the temporary secret answer in the email.
  3. After successfully confirming these you can change your password to something more memorable.
  4. You’ll also be asked to choose a new secret question and answer.
  5. After doing that, you can log into your account.

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I don’t recognise the email address that displays when I try to reset my password or secret answer. What can I do?

You should speak with one of our customer advisers. They will be able to update your account with a new email address.

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I don’t recognise the email address that displays when I try to reset my password or secret answer. What can I do?

You should speak with one of our customer advisers; they will be able to update your account with a new email address.

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When I try to reset my password or secret answer I am told that you can’t verify me. Why has this happened?

There could be a number of reasons; the most common are:

  1. There is more than one account with your email address registered on it.
    Often the other account belongs to a parent or partner who has provided information in support of your application.
  2. You have a twin whose personal details are similar to your own and we can’t determine which account details to reset.

If you see this message you should speak with one of our customer advisers. They will be able to update your account and reset your passwords for you.

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Application Queries

Do you live outside Northern Ireland because a parent or partner is in the armed forces?

If you don’t normally live in Northern Ireland because you, your parents or partner are Armed Forces personnel, you can still apply for financial support.

You can apply through Student Finance ni if your or their enlistment to the armed forces happened while you were living in Northern Ireland

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I have applied late, will I get my financial support on time?

Please refer to the relevant deadlines.

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Do I need to apply for financial support for each academic year?

Yes, you need to complete an application form for each year you are in attendance or on placement. If you decide to take a leave of absence during your course please complete a CO1 form.

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Does the application form (PN1/PR1) cover tuition fee loan, maintenance loan and maintenance grant?

Yes, but you may be asked to complete additional forms if you have indicated that you wish to apply for additional grants ie Childcare, DSA and Travel.

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I have returned my application form but have had no response. What should I do?

We will acknowledge receipt of your application within 10 working days. If you have had no correspondence regarding your application contact your ELB.

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My parents are divorced/separated. Who should support my application?

We use only the income of the parent you normally live with. Where parents have divorced/separated and remarried or are now living with a partner, we will use the household income of both your natural parent and their partner or your step-parent.

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My parents refuse to support my application, what would I be entitled to?

If your parents refuse to support your application, you will only be able to access the Tuition Fee Loan and the non-income assessed Maintenance Loan.

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I do not live with my parents. Will my support be assessed on their household income?

Yes, unless you can provide proof of independent student status. What is an independent student?

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My family are moving house and won't be living in my current Board's area in the future, which ELB should I apply to?

You should apply to the ELB where you are living at the time for the initial application. That Board then continues to administer support for the duration of your course.

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If I work part-time during the academic year will this affect my support?

No, we do not take earnings from part-time work into consideration.

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Information for parents and partners

I want to provide my financial details in support of a student’s application online, how do I do this?

When the student completes their application, they're asked to give the name and email address of their parents or partner. Student Finance England send an email with log in details to the parents or partner so they can complete their part of the application. If a parent or partner is unable to submit their financial details online they should contact Student Finance ni.

Once parents or partners submit their details they can log back in and check the progress of the student's application - or check on any evidence they need to send in.

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How do I inform SLC that a student or former student has passed away?

If you need to let us know that a student or former student has passed away, you can do so by calling our Customer Support Centre or your local ELB, or alternatively in writing to our offices in Glasgow.

You will need to provide us with the original death certificate or coroners’ report which you can send for the attention of the following:

Douglas Gould
Student Loans Company Limited
100 Bothwell Street
Glasgow
G2 7JD

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Families with more than one student

How may the amount of my financial support change if another member of my family is also in receipt of student finance?

We will reassess your parents' contribution to student finance, based on the circumstances for your family. In most cases, where two or more students from the same family are receiving student finance, the parental contribution will be divided equally between them.

However, if any of you are attending for part of the year only, we may divide the contribution between students according to how much time each student spends at university or college during the year.

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Will my brother’s or sister’s own income be taken into account?

No. If you are a dependent student, only your parents' and your own incomes are taken into account. If you have some income of your own you may have to contribute to your own student finance, but you do not contribute to your brothers' or sisters' student finance.

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I am a student and the parent of another student. Will my partner be assessed for a parental contribution and another contribution as my partner?

No. If there is both a student parent and a student child in a family, only one parental contribution is calculated.

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How will you know when other members of my family become eligible to receive student finance?

When applying for student finance, they will be asked to provide the full name and details of any other member of the family who is in receipt of student finance. We will then assess the parental contribution for the family as a whole and divide this between all the students from that family who are receiving student finance.

So if you have a family member who will be at university or college at the same time as you, and who has not yet been assessed for student finance, your own entitlement may change when we deal with their application. If the circumstances of your family member change during the year, your entitlement may also change.

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How will I know if my entitlement has changed and how much my revised financial support will be?

We will send you a letter to advise you of any new entitlement as soon as we have reassessed your financial support.

If you have applied for an income assessed Maintenance Loan and are entitled to borrow more as a result of the reassessment, the letter will tell you how much more you can now borrow.

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What happens if one of us leaves college?

You must advise us immediately if you or another member of your family stops studying part way through the academic year so we can adjust the parental contribution to the remaining student or students. If a member of your family leaves university or college during the year, your financial support may also change

We will notify you of any reassessment of your financial support. Do not assume that a reassessment has been carried out until we have told you. Sometimes there may be a delay in us advising you about any change to your financial support, this is because we may require more information from the university or college.

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Getting your payment

How do I update my contact details?

You can update your personal details, including your preferred contact address, permanent home address, email address, and contact phone numbers by logging into your online account and selecting ‘Update My Profile’.

You can also update these details by contacting the Customer Support Centre (phone 0300 100 0077, Monday to Friday, 8.00am to 8.00pm and Saturday & Sunday, 9.00am to 5.30pm).

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What is the difference between my ‘preferred contact address’ and ‘permanent home address’?

Your preferred contact address (or correspondence address) is where you will normally live during your studies, such as a hall of residence. We will send most letters to you at this address. Your permanent home address is where you normally live outside of term time, such as your parents’ home. This is the address which is used to assign your case to the appropriate ELB.

You can update your contact and home address from the ‘Update My Profile’ section of your online account. You can also update these details by contacting the Customer Support Centre (phone 0300 100 0077, Monday to Friday, 8.00am to 8.00pm and Saturday & Sunday, 9.00am to 5.30pm), or by completing a Change of Circumstance form.

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Can I change the payment dates of my loan instalments?

No, you can’t change the payment dates for your loan instalments. The payments are always made at the start of each term. These are the dates specified by your university or college.

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I have checked my account online, under the view payments section it says "Awaiting Confirmation" or "blocked", what does this mean?

Awaiting Confirmation means that we are still waiting for confirmation of your course attendance from your university or college. In order to get this, you will need to take your Payment Schedule Letter to your university or college. Once your attendance has been confirmed you will be able to receive the first instalment of your loan.

Loan payments may be blocked while Student Finance NI confirms your National Insurance Number (NINO) with the Department for Work and Pensions. The block is automatically removed as soon as your NINO is confirmed. This can take up to one week.

Payments may also be blocked if you haven’t provided your bank details.

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How do I update my bank details?

You can update your bank details from the ‘Update My Bank Details’ link in your online account.

You can also update your bank details by contacting the Customer Support Centre (phone 0300 100 0077, Monday to Friday, 8.00am to 8.00pm and Saturday & Sunday, 9.00am to 5.30pm).

Your local Education and Library Board can’t update bank details.

Note: there may be a limit on how close to the payment of your loan instalments you are able to change your bank details. Any time restrictions will be announced on the Student Finance ni website.

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I have decided not to continue with my course, will I be eligible for financial support in the future?

Leaving your course early could affect your eligibility for financial support if you decide to take another course in the future. How your eligibility is affected will depend on your personal circumstances. Contact your ELB for further details.

You will also be asked to repay any overpayment.

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Changing course – before you begin your studies

Should I wait until I know which course I’m going to study before I apply for finance?

No. Apply now.

You need to choose a course you intend to study when you apply online or using a paper form. However, it’s common for people to change the course they’re planning to do after getting their A level or other exam results.

If you’ve changed course since applying for student finance, there’s no need to worry: you’ll still get paid and you don’t need to re-apply. Even if your Offer Letter has details of your old course or university, you should still take it with you when you register for your new course.

But you’ll need to report the change – just complete form CO1 and send it to your Education and Library Board (ELB). They will then work out whether there’s any effect on the student finance you’re entitled to, and make any necessary adjustments to your payments.

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HND students - I am on an HND course and I want to transfer to a degree course. Can I do this?

Yes. The process is the same as if you were transferring from one degree course to another. For example – if after finishing your HND you decide to transfer to the final year of a three year degree course, you would be eligible to apply for a Tuition Fee Loan. As this is a complex area please read the Fact Sheet on Previous Study Rules.

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Changing course - after your first year

Will I receive student finance for all the years of my new course?

We will reassess your entitlement to a Maintenance Loan and a Tuition Fee Loan for the whole of your new course, but only If:

  • you change courses before the start of the second year of your course; and
  • you have not changed course before

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I’m changing course after the start of the second year - or if you are changing course for the second (or third, etc.) time

You may have to pay your own tuition fees for part of the new course. This depends on the duration of your new course and the number of years of previous study you have been financially supported for.

Provided you do not already have a UK Honours degree, you will be able to receive a Maintenance Loan for as long as you are studying a course of higher education.

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I want to transfer but I must go through ‘Clearing’ to obtain a place on a new course. Can you still transfer my student finance?

Yes. Your existing university or college must confirm the change to us, and you must inform them once you have been accepted onto a new course. Your new university or college will then confirm that you are in attendance at your new course.

We will suspend your student finance until you are attending your new course, and reinstate it when they receive confirmation of attendance from your new university or college.

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Repayments and interest

Will I receive a statement of my student loan balance?

The Student Loans Company (SLC) will send you an annual statement of your student loan balance in September each year until you begin to repay your loan. Your loan balance is calculated from the previous tax year after we have received notification of your loan amount from HM Revenue & Customs (previously known as Inland Revenue).

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What is the current interest rate for student loans?

Details of the new interest rates taking effect from 1 September 2012 can be found on the Student Loan Repayment Interest Rates page.

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When does the interest on my student loan start?

Interest will accrue on the amount you have borrowed from the date you receive your first loan instalment, or when the payment is made to your college or university on your behalf.

If you have been identified as a PAYE or Self-Assessment repayer, interest accrual will be suspended from the start of the tax year until the end-of-year repayment details are received from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) (formerly the Inland Revenue). Interest for the previous year will then be calculated and applied to your account retrospectively upon receipt of your repayment details.

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Where can I find more information on repaying my student loan?

The repayment section of this website gives further information on repaying ICR and Mortgage Style loans.

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Additional information

I am an EU national, how can I find out about financial support to study in Northern Ireland?

If you are an EU national (or a child of an EU national) and wish to study in The UK, you may get a tuition fee loan on a similar basis to UK students. If you are an EU student, and applying through UCAS, they will send you an application form when you are offered a place on a course. If you do not apply through UCAS, you will be able to get an application form and further details about the support available from the EU Team:

Student Finance Services European Team
Student Loans Company
PO Box 89
Darlington
County Durham
England
United Kingdom
DL1 9AZ
United Kingdom

Phone: 0141 243 3570 (Monday to Friday - 9am to 5:30pm)
Website: https://www.gov.uk/student-finance

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I want to study part-time, what support can I get?

Part-time students are entitled to a fee grant and help with course costs.

More information on the support available for part-time students

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I will be entering postgraduate study, am I entitled to support?

In general, there is no mandatory support for postgraduate study. An exception to this is PGCE studies for those wishing to become teachers. Postgraduate students may be able to apply for help through the college or university they will be attending under the Access to Learning Fund and the Additional Fee Support Scheme. Help is available if you are a student who has a disability or specific learning difficulty

Can I apply for a student loan if I have previously studied in higher education?

If you have previously studied in higher education, you may be eligible to apply for a loan for general maintenance but not to cover tuition fees for your course. Your ELB will tell you if you are eligible to apply for a loan again.

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I am going to study nursing at Queen's University Belfast or the University of Ulster, what support can I get?

Support for Nursing at Queen’s University or the University of Ulster is NOT provided through Student Finance NI. When you enrol on the course you will be sent an application form by email from the funding provider.

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What support can I get if I start studying at an Institution in the Republic of Ireland?

If you’re going to study in the Republic of Ireland, then your university or college will charge you an annual fee contribution.

The maximum amount for 2014/15 is €2,750 (the average annual exchange rate used is 0.8486 Euro to the pound).

To cover this upfront cost, you can get a Student Contribution Loan to help pay up to the full amount of the fee contribution. This is an interest bearing repayable loan.

We’ll send you a separate application form for the Student Contribution Loan, after you’ve applied online or through the PN1 application form. See the steps below so you know when to expect this:

  1. Apply online or on the PN1 application form
  2. We’ll identify if you’re studying in the Republic of Ireland based on your application
  3. You’ll be assessed for support and receive your Student Finance Entitlement letter
  4. After approximately four weeks you should receive your Student Contribution Loan request form.
  5. Complete the form and return it to your ELB if you wish to take out the Student Contribution Loan.

If you don’t take the Student Contribution Loan or you take less than the full amount you’re entitled to, you’ll need to pay all or the difference directly to the university or college you are attending.

If you need to change the amount of Student Contribution Loan you are taking out, then contact your ELB for a new application form.

You may also be entitled to a Maintenance Loan to help with living costs.

Tuition fees - studying overseas, work placements & ERASMUS

The tuition fee rates for studying overseas, on placement and ERASMUS can be complex. The following tuition fee rates are based on you:

  • Studying at a publicly funded university in Northern Ireland;
  • having started your course on or after 1st September 2012; and
  • applying through Student Financeni (or Student Finance Services if you're an EU student).
You’ll be: Tuition fee charged up to: Tuition Fee Loan available will be up to:
On ERASMUS and:
  • studying abroad
  • on a work placement abroad for a full year
No tuition fee charged No tuition fee charged
Studying abroad* £1,835 £1,835
On a work placement year of a sandwich course* £1,835 £1,835

*with less than 10 weeks at your Nothern Irish university.

Speak to your university about the tuition fees charged if you’re unsure or if your course:

  • is at a university in Scotland, England or Wales;
  • started before 1st September 2012.

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