Accessibility Statement

This website is run by Student Loans Company Limited (“SLC”) on behalf of UK Government Digital Services. SLC is fully committed to providing a website that is accessible to the widest possible audience, regardless of technology or ability. We’re actively working to increase the accessibility and usability of our website and in doing so adhere to many of the available standards and guidelines. We want as many people as possible to be able to use this website. For example, that means you should be able to:

  • zoom in up to 300% without the text spilling off the screen
  • navigate most of the website using just a keyboard
  • navigate most of the website using speech recognition software
  • listen to most of the website using a screen reader (including the most recent versions of JAWS, NVDA and VoiceOver)

We’ve made the website text as simple as possible to understand. AbilityNet has advice on making your device easier to use if you have a disability.

What to do if you cannot access parts of this website

If you need any of our letters, forms or guides sent to you in Braille or large print, email brailleandlargefonts@slc.co.uk with:

  • your address
  • your Customer Reference Number
  • what you need changing into Braille or large print
  • for large print, include the font size and the font type you need

If there are any other parts of our website which you cannot access, please let us know by contacting us at accessibility@slc.co.uk

Contacting us by phone or visiting us in person

We provide a text relay service for people who are unable to hear or speak on the phone. Our offices have audio induction loops for those with difficulty hearing and are visiting our offices in person. Or, if you contact us before your visit, we can arrange a British Sign Language (BSL) interpreter. Find out how to contact us: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/student-loans-company

Technical information about this website’s accessibility

SLC is committed to making its websites accessible, in accordance with the Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No. 2) Accessibility Regulations 2018 (“the Accessibility Regulations”).  We’re striving to fully adhere to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines version 2.1 (“WCAG 2.1”) AA standards. We acknowledge that this website is currently only partially compliant with those standards. We’ve provided details below of current areas of non-compliance, and details of when we expect those areas to be made compliant .

Non accessible content

Non compliance with the Accessibility Regulations

Ambiguous links that do not make sense out of context

Some of the links throughout the site (see left), such as ‘learn more’, ‘next’, phone numbers and email addresses, are not descriptive enough to help users understand their destinations. Screen reader users who navigate between interactive elements hear only the text of each link. Therefore link text should be meaningful and identify the purpose without visual cues.

Link opens in new browser window without warning

Various links across the site take users to new browser windows without advance warning. Users should be alerted when a link does not open in the current window. Sighted users are able to see the new browser window open, but it can be confusing or disorientating for non-sighted users and they may struggle to navigate back to the main site.

Some content in accordion format not accessible

FAQs, Student finance explained and page contents are all presented to users in accordions on the page. The first item in the accordion receives focus. Keyboard users can access expanded content using the enter key. However, when they tab onwards to the next item in the accordion, using NVDA (Chrome and Firefox) focus goes to the practitioners link in the footer. Using JAWS (IE) focus jumps back up to the top of the page.

Homepage does not have appropriate heading hierarchy

Headings facilitate page navigation for users of many assistive technologies. They provide semantic and visual meaning as well as structure to the document. A first level heading <h1> should be present and the first heading on all pages, containing the most important heading on the page which would generally be the document title.

Colour contrast does not always meet requirements

Colour contrast is at a good level throughout the site. However, there are a couple of examples that fall short of the required level of contrast to meet the level AA standard. Content that’s not within the scope of the Accessibility Regulations

PDFs and other documents

The   Accessibility Regulations (opens in new tab ) do not require us to fix PDFs or other documents published before 23 September 2018 if they’re not essential to providing our services. Many of our older PDFs and Word documents do not meet AA accessibility standards - for example, they may not be structured so they’re accessible to a screen reader. This does not meet WCAG 2.1 success criterion 4.1.2 (name, role value). Some of our PDFs and Word documents areessential to providing our services. For example, we have PDFs with information on how users can access our services, and forms published as Word documents. By September 2020, we plan to either fix these or replace them with accessible HTML pages. Any PDFs or Word documents we publish from September 2019 will meet accessibility standards.

How we tested this website

The last test on this website was run in March 2019 . The test was carried out by User Vision.  We tested:

  • our customer account management areas, available at the following links:

Reporting accessibility problems with this website

We’re always looking to improve the accessibility of this website. If you find any problems that are not listed on this page or think we’re not meeting accessibility requirements, contact: accessibility@slc.co.uk

Enforcement procedure

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (“EHRC”) is responsible for enforcing the Accessibility Regulations. If you’re not happy with how we respond to your complaint, you can contact the Equality Advisory and Support Service (“EASS”) for advice and assistance.

If you’re based in Northern Ireland and are not happy with how we respond to your complaint, you can contact the Equalities Commission for Northern Ireland, instead of the EASS and EHRC.

This statement was prepared on the 10th of September 2019 and published on the 23rd of September 2019