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Serious Student Finance issues

Discussion in 'Trainee and student teachers' started by anon2145, Jun 15, 2011.

  1. From having a search on here I have learnt that Student Finance seem to have caused major problems for people over the years and I was wondering if anyone could suggest any further steps I could take in my quest to get them to listen to me. Here is an abridged version of my problems:-
    Applied on-line 31st March this year. Am a mature student, husband is supporting me. Only want a maintenance grant. Ticked the box that said I had a student loan whilst doing my degree 16 years ago. Sent off birth and wedding certificates.
    April 7th - SF returned the above certificates. Then wrote to me to tell me I needed to send them back to them with a form signed by someone of professional standing to confirm my identity.
    April 26th (I went on holiday inbetween) - sent form and certificate countersigned by teacher-friend back to them.
    Beginning May SF wrote to me to tell me about two other grants that I hadn't applied for - childcare grant and Parents Learning allowance and would I like to apply for these ? Sent off form, together with child birth certificates, tax credit info, proof of outgoings.
    May 31st - checked on-line to find SF had cancelled my application - "as I had informed them I no longer needed finance". ?? phoned them to be told they had cancelled the application as apparently I should have used my old reference number from 16 years ago - as if I would have kept that all these years, and despite the fact that I told them on-line when I applied that I used to have a student loan. Complained. Waited almost a week for a manager to call me back.
    June 6th - manager called and agreed to reinstate application. Verbally told me that I was successful in applying for the maintenance grant but not the others.
    June 9th - phoned them as on-line the application was still saying it hadn't been processed. Was told it hadn't been processed and would take another week. Sent an e-mail to complain.
    June 13th - phoned them as no written confirmation had arrived. Was told that a "discrepancy" had arisen in the amount of income my husband had declared when we applied on-line in March and what HMRC were saying. Was told that they had written to us to tell us last week. Complained and was told we could e-mail them husband's tax return. Did so and received confirmation that day that it was all correct and had been passed to the assessment team.
    Today - phoned them to be told that because I had sent a complaint the complaints team had taken over the application and that it would be handled by them now and that I have to wait til 28th June for a decision.
    The whole process (assuming I get a decision by 28th June) will have taken 12 weeks - in contrast to their promise on their website of processing applications in 6 weeks. They are refusing to speak to me on the phone anymore and don't reply to e-mails.
    I need to know if I have got this grant because I have to hand my notice in at work this week. If I haven't got it I don't think I can do my PGCE in September. Despite explaining this numerous times, the manager I spoke to today refused to do anything more than repeat that it was in the hands of the complaints team. She put the phone down on me in the end.
    Does anyone have any experience of SF and can anyone suggest how I can take this further. I honestly don't know what to do anymore.
    Thank you for reading
  2. dairymilkqueen

    dairymilkqueen New commenter

    OMG that is awful! Sorry to hear you're having so much trouble Jamiesmum. I have hadpoor experiences with SF before, but nothing this bad, they certainly shouldn't be hanging up on you, especially at management level!
    They're a government run company, perhaps you could go to your local council or education authority, I know they have something (or used to last time around I applied for a loan) to do withloan applications.
    Good luck, hope you get everything sorted.
  3. likejesus

    likejesus New commenter

    Write to your MP and ask them to contact Student Finance on your behalf. That ought to set a fire under them.
  4. I totally agree with the above - it was the very next thing that I was going to do if I couldn't get my problems with SF sorted once and for all.
    Fortunately it didn't come to this, but I was on the phone every day for over a week following all sorts of incompetencies dating back to the middle of March. Received my letter yesterday - finally- stating what I would receive.
    It really is infuriating and I can only sympathise and say hang on in there - and get writing that letter to your MP. Good luck!

  5. Thanks everyone - I have emailed my MP. Have also found a telephone number for their Executive Office but am loathe to ring it in case whoever answers is as rude as the person I spoke to yesterday.
    Loobyloo - thanks, it is encouraging to hear that they did at least sort you out in the end.
    Mug - that's terrible about your son. I hope you can get them to listen to you.
  6. This struck a chord with me. I am also a mature student with kids, childcare, a self employed partner and generally complex student finance app.

    For the 1st 2 years of my degree I had to write a letter of complaint copied to my MP and the finance section of a national newspaper before I got any joy.

    I would try this. That said, for this year (my 3rd) they actually seem to have sorted it out straight away (i should probably touch wood until the money is in my bank account :).

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