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Student finance and Ucas Clearing – what you need to know

How does student finance work if you go through Clearing? What if you’ve not even applied for finance yet?

We asked Student Finance England (SFE) some of the common finance-related questions that crop up during results day and Clearing. Here’s what we found out...

Student finance and Clearing questions, answered

If I go through Clearing, what do I need to think about when it comes to my student finance? 

Student Finance England (SFE): There are a few key things we would normally remind students of when they’re going through Clearing and weighing up their options.

Firstly, it’s important to remember that Maintenance Loans are linked to the student’s living situation. This means if a student is living at home with their parents while studying, they’ll generally be entitled to less student finance than if they lived in their own accommodation (ie campus or private halls, a private rental). 

Therefore, if a student is changing uni or college (in Clearing) and needs to re-evaluate where they’ll be living, they’ll need to consider the impact this will have on what financial support they’ll get. They can use the Gov.uk student finance calculator to help do this.

Anything else to consider when making a Clearing decision, from a finance point of view?

SFE: It’s also worthwhile to think about how day-to-day living costs for things such as transport might be affected by a change of uni. For example, a train/bus pass could be a lot cheaper in the city of their new course than the city of their original course, or vice versa. 

Get a feel for student life in different cities with our city guides, including rough costs and things to do.

Students should think about the amount of Maintenance Loan they’ll get each term and how that fits in with the cost of living at potential universities.

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See how much you'll need to live on at your chosen university, with our student budget calculator.
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If I’ve already applied for student finance and then find a new course through Clearing, what do I need to do? 

SFE: If a student finds a new course through Clearing, it’s vital that they log into their student finance account and update their application straight away. Ucas doesn’t tell us if a student changes their uni or college selection, so the student needs to do this themselves.

First and foremost, the student will need to make sure they update their uni/college and course details. 

However, one thing that many people often forget is that they might need to update us on their living situation. Perhaps they were planning to live at home at first but will now be moving into student halls – this might be the case if they find a course they’re happy with but it’s much further away. 

In this case they could be entitled to more Maintenance Loan, but they need to tell us on the application so we can give them this extra money! Students can change this in the same place as they update their course information.

Are you a parent of a child applying to university? This is everything you need to know about their student finance.

If I find a university place in Clearing but haven't applied for student finance yet, what should I do?

SFE: Anyone who finds a course through Clearing but hasn’t yet made an application for student finance should apply as quickly as possible.

As courses will be starting so soon after Clearing opens, we can’t guarantee that anyone applying at this time will have all of their student finance ready in time for the start of their course – especially if their application is based on their household income. 

We will try to have their Tuition Fee Loan approved and some Maintenance Loan ready for starting their course, but this isn’t guaranteed. 

We’ll then get the rest of the student’s money approved as soon as possible and pay anything else they are entitled to.

What if my student finance isn't ready for the start of my course?

SFE: If a student is struggling to get by on the amount they’ve got at the start of their course, we’d recommend they speak to their uni/college. Many of them offer additional funding that can be used to top up the money received from Student Finance England (or the equivalent finance body in their country).

Again, it’s important to apply early. The sooner the student applies, the sooner their student finance will be ready.

What extra funding is available to help you at university? Learn more about scholarships, bursaries and more...

How does student finance work if I find a new university place through Ucas Adjustment?

SFE: As far as student finance is concerned, Ucas Clearing and Ucas Adjustment work in exactly the same way.

If a student exceeds the conditions of the offer from their firm choice on Ucas and goes on to accept an offer from a different university, they need to update their application as soon as possible – see why and how, above.

Looking for an alternative course in Clearing or Adjustment? Search and compare courses, including student satisfaction and graduate stats.


If I can’t find another course via Clearing and decide to reapply next year, do I need to apply for student finance again too?

SFE: If a student’s plans change and they decide that they’re not going to go to uni/college this year and will apply again next year instead, there are a couple of things they’ll need to do – this will be the case whether they didn’t get the grades they needed and couldn’t find an alternative uni place in Clearing, or if they simply change their mind about going to university altogether this year.

First, they should cancel their current application for student finance. Applications are only valid for one academic year, so if the student is not attending in 2019/20 it’s important that they cancel their application. Otherwise, they may have trouble applying for student finance next year. 

If the student plans to apply again next year, they should submit a student finance application as soon as the application service opens for that year. Although they might not have a confirmed place at uni/college yet at this point, it’s still recommended that they apply early on (and they can change their application later if they need to).

Student Finance England have lots more advice on how going through Clearing can impact your student finance.

Otherwise check out our dedicated results day and Clearing area, including how to prepare and how to call universities in Clearing.


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