STUDENT Finance England is advising new students in the North-East of England to apply for funding early this year, with applications now being accepted.
The Company received over 1.1 m applications last year, including over 53,000 from North East students, and continues to improve the application process to make it as easy as possible for students and their sponsors.
The new application form for this year has been designed with significant input from students, making it quicker and easier to apply for funding, as well as being easier to navigate and understand.
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Derek Ross, director of operations at Student Finance England, said: “There have been a number of improvements to the student finance process over the last few years, and we continue to strive to make it better.
“Working closely with other government departments, we verified over three quarters of new customers’ incomes without the need for students to supply further evidence last year and we also checked identity directly with the passport service, with a 98% success rate.
“However, if evidence is requested it can hold the application up. Students should apply early to ensure their funds are in place at term start.
“The initial application should be quicker this year. It is tailored to the student, with a clearer design and help provided along the way to guide students easily through each stage.
“We will soon be contacting returning students who have applied for finance in previous years, about progressing their funding applications for this year.”
Student Finance England, part of the Student Loans Company, processes all loan and grant applications for students in England.
The company’s plans to transform student finance through digital delivery and work with other government departments to create an efficient, streamlined service has been recognised as part of the joint PCF and Cabinet Office report ‘Efficiency by Design: stories of best practice in public bodies’, which was published recently.
The company has a range of useful advice and guidance for those considering going to university in 2014/15 and regularly answers student queries via social media. Visit facebook.com/SFEngland and twitter.com/sf_england To apply: www.gov.uk/studentfinance