Birmingham & Black Country

Student Emily Hughes denied loan due to namesake

Emily Hughes Image copyright Emily Hughes
Image caption Emily Hughes said she is "appalled" at the way Student Finance England functions

A student has been unable to get a loan for university because someone with the same name, birthday and born in the same area has already applied for one.

Emily Hughes, from Smethwick, West Midlands, was told by the Student Loans Company in April she could not be registered on its system.

She has now sent them her passport in the hope of being recognised in time to study medicine in Birmingham.

Miss Hughes, 18, said she was fed up with the way she had been treated.

"It's been chaos," she said.

"Just so much unnecessary stress and it's quite embarrassing as all my friends are sorted with their loans, but not me."

'Living with fear'

When she applied for a loan in April, Miss Hughes was told she could not get a customer reference number because there was someone with the same name registered on the system.

Although her name is not that unusual, Miss Hughes said she was surprised to discover there was someone who was also born in Birmingham on the same date as her.

"I don't know anything about her," she said.

"I'd love to meet her, but at the same time I wouldn't."

Image copyright PA
Image caption Student Loans Company said once her passport arrives her application will be processed

Miss Hughes finds out if she has got her place at the University of Birmingham on 17 August, depending on her A level grades, and then she would need to enrol in September and pay £9,250.

"I am now currently living with the fear of not having the means to finance my prospective degree.

"I am appalled with the way this organisation functions."

Student Loans Company said once her passport arrives her application will be processed.

"We apologise to Miss Hughes for any distress caused as a result of the delay in processing her student finance application.

"This was the result of a human error when transferring Miss Hughes' paper application to her online account."

One man, who asked not to be named, contacted the BBC to say he fell victim to the same situation when trying to help his son get a loan last year.

"I had to go on the website and put in my income details so that he could be means tested," he said.

"It wouldn't let me register on the website. I rang them up and apparently there was already an account in my name. Same name, including middle name, same date of birth and same place of birth.

"The only thing is I have never been to university and so never set up an account. It took many phone calls and a letter to prove who I was. Eventually it got put right but you do wonder."

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