Student Finance Overpayments Being Deducted From Future Payments

So, I've run into a bit of a pickle. Me and my partner are both looking to transfer to different Universities, I'm looking to transfer to one with a later intake as I've unfortunately gotten quite unwell and need time to get better as I've had to be signed off a lot of the term so far, my partner wants to change because the course he's doing at his uni isn't really what he was told it was by course advisors before he joined. We called Student Finance up to ask them if this would impact out entitlement or any of our loans, and the woman we spoke to said that it wouldn't. My partner's Student Finance was also late as he applied after the deadline, and we had been prepared to make mine (plus a little dip into our overdraft) work for the whole term as Student Finance initially said his loan had been declined by mistake and we were told we wouldn't get it until basically the end of the term :undecided We'd also already prepaid some rent so we figured it was the best time for this issue to come up.

Anyway, that's vital information because once we complained about that, they fast tracked his application so we got the money. Since we'd been told there would be no issues with our entitlement and we now had both of our money, we rather wrongly believed we had spending money, and started allowing ourself to buy things or go out, we even bought Christmas presents early.

Last night I called to ask how we went about changing our application as our (hopefully) new unis have been in contact with us, and that's when they dropped it on us that actually, our maintenance loan would change, as we've been overpaid now. Their plan is to deduct it from us for the next year as now, since we thought we were safe having spending money, we can't afford to pay it back in total and still get by this term (and I definitely can't pay back mine in total). Over the next year this is going to bring me and my partner about £6,000 down, and whilst we do have jobs, it isn't going to cut it. We rent privately and are tied into a 12 month contract, our parents will not help us, so we're in the situation so that after the new year, if we pay for rent/bills we can't afford to eat, and if we pay for food we can't afford rent/bills!

My uni had advised that student finance may be able to help me with extra funding as I've had to take a break in my studies due to ill health, but whenever I mention it to Student Finance they say there's no such thing, so I'm not sure which one has the information wrong there. Basically, at the end of this long post, I'm asking if anyone has any advice? Is there anyway we can get student finance to make the overpayments come out over a longer time, or add it on to what we'll owe at the end? Is there any support at all for students in financial hardships due to issues like this?


  • sheramber
    sheramber Posts: 19,332 Forumite
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    Which of you is overpaid and why?

    Was it their mistake or your mistake or a change of circumstances?
  • Teapots
    Not sure if I've replied correctly here! Not really a mistake persay on anyone's part in terms of the finance, as I said I've become unwell and have needed a lot of time off, therefore I need somewhere with a later intake so I can get better and won't have missed so much, so mine I believe would be a change of circumstances. His, on the other hand, they're probably more inclined to say was his mistake. His course advisor mislead him a bit with what the course was about, he was interested in animation and was told this course focused a lot on it, turns out it doesn't really, but at the route of it he wants to change because he doesn't like his course.

    So, unfortunately we're in the position where if we do both change unis, which we both want to, we're going to be £6,000 (approx) down over the year. If it had of been just one of us, we could have accounted for that, but the pair of us having our loans reduced is what's causing the issue.
  • sheramber
    sheramber Posts: 19,332 Forumite
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    But both situations are of your own doing not the fault of Student Finance.

    Neither scenario explains why the maintenance loan is overpaid unless you have received money for a period when you were not entitled to it.

    Have Student Finance explained why you are overpaid?

    A simple question of will my loan change if I change university may not have explained the full picture.
  • silvercar
    silvercar Posts: 47,084 Ambassador
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    I'm guessing that you have dropped out of your current courses for this year and the official leaving dates are before the end of term. Therefore the loan given to you at the beginning of this term is subject to some claw back because you are not staying as a registered student for the whole of this term. The loan payment would be calculated on the basis that you were a student for the whole term. But now, having decided to start a new course next year, you are in no-mans land this year ie not a registered student. hence the slc want some of the loan back. Is that right?

    If that is the case then you may be able to claim income support or universal credit if you are not a student and you could seek work.

    Also remember that your council tax exemptions end when you are not a student.
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  • Teapots
    Yes, that's pretty much correct. We've been overpayed because I've been unable to go in due to being ill and he's left before the end of the term, so they want the money back for when we weren't attending, but they'll be deducting it from the next year's worth of Student Finance payments which is what's causing the issue. Over the course of the next year they'll be taking about £2,000 a term from us (combined) starting in January, which over the course of a year is going to amount to about £6,000 over the three terms. We're fine until when my partner and I start at new Universities as we only got his loan fairly recently and planned to have to go into about mid January with it anyway, the issue is when we're becoming students again, we can't afford for Student Finance to be taking that much money from our loans every term, no matter what we cut back on or how we calculate it, it just will not work and we'll be left at the end of the term either unable to buy food or unable to make rent. We have jobs, but even with jobs we can't cut it, because we've budgeted our rent and bills on the bases of having our loans as well, and being set back £6,000 is quite a lot.

    There wasn't really much I could do about getting ill and being told not to go in by doctors, and my Uni had said if I had to take a break or temporarily leave studies to get better Student Finance had schemes to help as it was a personal issue outside of my control, but the two people I've spoken to at Student Finance have denied any such support existing.

    Really, my main question is does anyone know of any help, either from Student Finance or otherwise, that can help either one of us? Has anybody ever got help from Student Finance for being ill and having to stop studies for a period of time? We can deal with one of us having the deductions, the issue is that it's happening to us both. I've seen people online say they were able to make a repayment plan where they paid back a certain amount every month, but that's mostly been from people who were told afterwards that they had overpayments, the closest I've found to my situation is someone who left Uni a few weeks into the term and had to pay it back after as they never went back, and they then had a repayment plan put in place because they couldn't afford it. I can't find anybody else who's asked about overpayments being deducted from their next three installments.
  • [Deleted User]
    It was your responsibility to let student finance know you were not at university and return any payments they sent to you even if you was ill. If you'd have kept the money sent that you were not entitled to instead of spending it you wouldn't have this problem.
  • sheramber
    sheramber Posts: 19,332 Forumite
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    When you owe money for overpaid amounts it is payable in full immediately. So, by taking it back in instalments from your future finance you are getting a repayment plan.

    If you suspend your studies due to illness you may get an additional 60 days funding for the date you suspend but it appears you left rather than suspend.

    They can also consider extending the number of years you can claim funding for.

    Some universities have schemes to help students in financial hardship but these are not connected to Student Finance.

    Why did you think you were entitled funding for a period when you were no longer a student?

    You may need to consider delaying your courses for a year to allow you to pay back the overpayment
  • Teapots
    I think people are getting their wires crossed a bit here. I have never, and still am not, 'not a student'. I'm still enrolled in my course and up until about 2 weeks ago, was fully prepared to be returning to my course. However, after speaking to both my doctor and the university, I was advised it would be best to take a gap in my studies whilst my illness is under investigation. My university suggested I interrupt my studies and come back next year, my doctor doesn't think I need that much, therefore I'm planning to transfer universities. I'll be going straight from being enrolled in one to another, the start date is just in the new year which gives me a bit of time to recover.

    I have only been spending the money because I needed to pay for rent, bills, and food, this I explained in the original post. The amount we spent once my partner got his on spending money has made very little difference on the outcome, we couldn't have given his back either way as we need it to pay for necessities. Since we asked and explained the situation, and was told that it wouldn't make a difference to our eligibility, I didn't dream that they were wrong and actually it would.

    If I went back tomorrow and waited until the end of the term to transfer elsewhere then they wouldn't have an issue and would let me keep the money no questions asked (but it would count as my 'gift year's), but I can't go back because I'm signed off and the other university would have closed their applications by then. So, I have never not been entitled to this money and am still entitled to it as longs as I stay in that university and go back this term, but as I've already explained, I can't do that. It's only an issue once I leave where I am now without having attended.

    As soon as I found out I may have to leave and go elsewhere, I contacted Student Finance and that's when I was told originally it wouldn't make a difference.

    But anyway, I've spoken to Student Finance today and they do offer repayment plans where you pay a certain amount a month, or they said it can be delayed until the end of my course, so I got there in the end :)
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