Thousands wait on student loans

09/10/09

Students graduating

Up to 175,000 students may still be waiting for loans and grants weeks after most university courses have started.

The company responsible blames record student numbers, technical problems and late applications this year.

First year students in England appear to be hardest hit with up to 135,000 still on the waiting list.

Universities say they are noticing serious problems.

Many are allowing students to delay accommodation payments and some have asked private landlords to defer rent demands until the backlog can be cleared.

Last month the Student Loans Company promised that all those who applied before the mid-August deadline would receive some payment shortly after starting their courses.

It says it has now processed and approved the "vast majority" of the applications it has received.

But Newsbeat has spoken to students across the UK who say they are still waiting for grants and loans to pay for food and accommodation.

Have Your Say: Are you still waiting for your student loan?

HOLLY, FIRST YEAR STUDENT

Holly

"I haven't got my loan or my grant. I'm living off money my parents are giving me but I cannot keep doing that, obviously.

"I ring and they just put the phone down on me. I think it's disgusting really.

"I applied really early and had no problem with my application. I keep going to check my account but nothing.

"I literally have £70 left and I don't know what I'm going to do then."

TORY, FOUNDATION YEAR STUDENT

Tory

"I applied back in April and I've been waiting since then.

"I've now been told the maintenance loan might not go through until February next year.

I'm really worried about it. I am not going out and I have to think hard about how I pay for things like food as well."

NIC, THIRD YEAR STUDENT

Nic

"I have got my loan and full grant but my little brother has got nothing.

"We both applied at the same time so I guess they must treat him differently because he is a first year.

"I would say it is a bit of a mess. I am sure they are sincerely trying to deal with it but they clearly have administrative problems.

"People are paying a lot of money trying to sort this out when it is not their responsibility."

EMILY, FIRST YEAR STUDENT

Emily

"I applied last February and finally got my loan through this week.

"It is now the next lot of financial aid I am worried about. The process is horrible.

"They don't communicate with you and are very difficult to get hold of.

"The phone lines are always busy and the website is often down. It is very hard to find out what stage your application is at."

HELEN, SECOND YEAR STUDENT

Helen

"I finally got my loan a couple of days ago. I applied online and they were meant to mail me a form to sign.

"They sent it to my old house so I called and asked for another one. That never turned up.

"It has been really hard. I've had to get some extra work to pay the bills. This happened last year to me as well. It's ridiculous."