Issue 1

Student finance facts for parents
To help you support the parents of your students, we’ve tackled the most common misconceptions they might have about student loans.

Reassuring parents of students can be challenging. They’ve often heard horror stories about sky-rocketing tuition fees and student loans and are worried about their child being saddled with debt or even having to take on the debt themselves.

One of the most common concerns is that going to university is just too expensive. But, university is very affordable – and good value for money.

Most students can get a Tuition Fee Loan so they won’t have to pay any tuition fees up front and they can also get loans to help with their living costs.

[It’s a challenge] getting parents ...to agree to and understand the need to fill out their own application forms in support of the students and their willingness to disclose financial ... information.

Physics and Maths teacher, Greenwich

These loans have to be paid back once the student has left university or college. Loan repayments are based on their income, not what they borrowed – and a recent study found that graduates go on to earn more than employees without degrees.

But, some parents are still worried that the repayments will be a burden on their child, which will affect their credit score and chances of getting on the property ladder. In fact, taking out a student loan does not affect credit rating. If they apply for a mortgage, loan or credit card in the future their student loan repayments might be taken into consideration but it will be used to better calculate their net earnings.

Many students won’t even have to pay back the full amount of student loan they borrow – meaning university or college could cost them a lot less than the fees suggest.

What parents need to know

If their child is applying for student finance that depends on their household income, they’ll need to create an online account at www.gov.uk/studentfinance to support their application. But reassure them that when the time comes we’ll send them instructions on how to do this.

Once they’ve registered they can tell us about any other children they have who will be at university or college at the same time and depending on their circumstances they could get more funding.

Often we can change the perception of students but some parents are very set in their ideas that university is just too expensive.

Information, Advice and Guidance Officer, Altrincham

We use the household income from the previous tax year to work out how much student finance a student can get. So tell them not to worry if their income drops, we’ll assess their household income based on their estimates for the current tax year.

Usually, they can provide evidence of their household income online. But if they are asked for additional evidence, make sure they know to send photocopies – we’ll destroy these securely once they’ve been checked. It’s also worth reminding them that their income details will ONLY be used to work out their child’s student finance entitlement, we won’t use it for anything else or share it with anyone.

2015 All rights reserved. Created by Student Loans Company.

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