Applying for your student loan

You can apply for both a Maintenance Loan to help pay for living costs while studying abroad or on a work placement and a reduced Tuition Fee Loan.

Find out how to submit your loan application, the information you'll need to provide, and what to do if you're starting your study abroad or work placement early, or if you're only going to be overseas for one term.

Complete your student loan application

You should apply to your national student loan provider. Their websites will tell you when the application process opens:

You can apply via the online form. However, the online form does not allow for multiple study abroad or work placement details. If you are attending more than one University, or have more than one work placement, or have a year split between study abroad and work placement, you may find it easier to complete a paper form so that you can write in all the details. SFE students can download a paper form from the website. SFW, SFNI, and SAAS students can download a form from their loan provider's website.

Take extra care to complete your application correctly, with all the details of where you will be and whether you will be on a placement year studying abroad or working (UK or abroad). The funding you will receive is based on the information you provide in your loan application. 

Information you’ll need

To complete your student loan application, you'll need to provide:

  • course year (the year you are applying for, not the current year);
  • new course end date (if you have transferred from a three-year to a four-year course);
  • new course title (if you have transferred course);
  • tuition fee;
  • where you will live for each term;
  • name of the University or company, and the country (if abroad);
  • whether you will be part of an Erasmus programme;
  • paid or unpaid, and, if unpaid, the type of placement (work placements only);
  • name and address of the company (work placements only).

Our guidance below shows you how to fill in the parts of the student loan application:

Register with the University

You still need to register with the University of Leeds. You can register online through the Portal from 1 August. We'll then confirm your registration to your loan provider. If you do not register with the University you will not be covered by the University insurance policy.

Return the Declaration form

The Student Loans Company will send you:

  • your Financial Notification letter (informing you of the loan you will be receiving)
  • Declaration form

You should sign and return the Declaration form as soon as possible. In signing the Declaration you are not confirming you agree with the loan amount, you are just accepting its terms and conditions for that year (this is stated on the form). Even if you think you have been incorrectly assessed, you must return the Declaration as you will not receive any funding until you have done this. If the initial assessment is wrong this can be corrected. You can return the Declaration and still dispute the amount of funding.

Your student loan provider will only pay your loan when they've received the signed Declaration form from you.

Evidence required by Student Loans Company

Student Finance England students

SFE do not need any evidence that you will be abroad or on a work placement when you initially apply for your funding.

Evidence will only be required after you have applied if:

  • SFE specifically write to you and ask to see evidence;
  • You subsequently apply for a Travel Grant – in which case they will need your Course Abroad Form authorised by the University. If you are eligible for the Travel Grant, SFE will automatically send you the Course Abroad Form;
  • You are on an unpaid work placement that is one of five specified special case work placements listed on the application form for students who are not studying on a Social Work or Medicine course. If you do tick one of these categories, you should also email with your name, student ID number, name and address of employer, charity number if applicable, placement dates, and a note of which category they are. We will then write to your loan provider to confirm your placement details. You may receive a higher level of funding if your loan provider approves this.

When you apply for your student loan online, you may be asked if you can provide evidence and you should indicate that you cannot. This may prompt a warning on the evidence tracker, which you can ignore.

The Student Loans Company will only ask for written confirmation from the University in exceptional circumstances and always in writing.

If you are on an unpaid placement that is not a special case, you will be only be eligible for reduced funding. Your loan provider will write to you to inform you of this, and the letter will also say that they cannot complete an assessment for full funding unless the University writes to them with details of your placement. This is a standard letter sent to every student. The University will only need to write to your loan provider if your placement is a special case and therefore attracts full funding. If it is not, you can ignore the letter.

Students from Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland

We will send letters of confirmation on request. In those cases where evidence is required, the University will inform your student loan provider that you are on study abroad or a work placement and will confirm the following information:

  • Course details – e.g. BSC Food Studies & Nutrition (IND);
  • Course year – e.g. 2nd or 3rd;
  • Academic year – 2016/17
  • Work placement or study abroad;
  • Whether you are on an Erasmus programme;
  • The country your placement is in;
  • The name of the university you are attending abroad or details of your work placement;
  • The start and end date of your study period or work placement;
  • Your tuition fee.

If you're already on a course that includes study abroad or work placement (UK or abroad)

If you're already on a course which includes a study year abroad or a work placement, you just need to make sure you complete your student loan application with the details of where you'll be studying or working. Your student loan provider should already expect details of your year away from the University and should assess you accordingly.

If you've changed course to include study abroad or work placement (UK or abroad)

If you transfer from a three-year to a four-year course, you must complete and sign a Change of Programme form with your department. Your department then will change your University record to the new course code, and will add the letter (A) to your course year to indicate you are away for the year. If possible, complete your Change of Programme form before you submit your student loan application form, so that your student record at the University of Leeds matches the information on your loan application should you loan provider ask us for confirmation of your course details.

Early starters and loan instalments

Study abroad early starter

If you start your study year abroad before 29th August 2016, the University will request an early release of the first instalment of your maintenance loan. The Study Abroad Office sends a spreadsheet of all students with an early start date to the Funding team and we forward this the loan provider to request they release the first instalment of your loan early. If you start after 29th August 2016, you will still be paid around the end of August (i.e. earlier than a standard year).

Study abroad loan instalments

If you are on a study year abroad in USA, Canada, Australia, or New Zealand (countries with 2 semesters), we can ask that your loan is realised in 2 instalments (i.e. ? in August, ? in January).

If you are going to Japan, China, Russia, or other countries where you need to show you have funds for the year to get a Visa, we can ask that your total loan is released in 1 instalment.

You will need to email with your name and student ID number to request this.

We will not assume that do you want 1 or 2 instalments if you are going to these countries, and, unless you email us to make a request, you will receive 3 instalments.

Work placement abroad early starter

If you will be on a work placement abroad with an early start date, you can contact us with the following details and we will request an early release of your loan:

  • Your name, Leeds student ID number, and course
  • Name and address of the University or the company you'll be working for
  • Whether or not your placement is part of the Erasmus scheme
  • Start date and end date (if exact dates are not known, please provide approximate dates – exact dates can be confirmed later)

Work placement UK early starter

If you are on a UK work placement that starts earlier than the standard academic year and you want to request an early release of the first instalment of your loan, you will need to send a letter to your loan provider to request this. You will need to explain, and provide evidence, that you will suffer financial hardship. For Student Finance England, contact:

Discretionary Payments Team, PO Box 210, Darlington, DL1 9HJ

For other loan providers, contact them for details of where to write to.

The decision to release payments early lies solely with the loan provider.

Going abroad for one term

  • Students who go abroad for one term are not confirmed as having a definite place until January/February 2016.
  • We advise you to apply for your student loan as though you will be at Leeds for the whole year and then tell your loan company about the term abroad when your school confirms it. (This advice is approved by SFE.)
  • All schools who have students going on a term abroad will also send a list of these students to Funding, and we will write a letter to the loan provider for every student, informing them of the term abroad details. Once your loan provider is advised of your term abroad, they will reassess your maintenance loan: you may get a small increase for the term you are away and you may be eligible to apply for a Travel Grant.
  • Don’t worry if you have already sent in an application indicating that you will be abroad – SFE have confirmed that this should not stop your assessment being completed.

Asking us to talk to your loan provider while you're away

Set up a Professional Password

If you have an issue with your student loan, the University can only speak to your loan provider if you have set up a Professional Password. It is much easier to do this before you go abroad or on placement, even though you might not need to use it.

We strongly advise that every student spending a year abroad or on placement sets up a password.

To do this, call your student loan provider:

  • Ask to set up a Professional Password.
  • The password is for the Student Funding team (who are student advisers at the University of Leeds).
  • The University's address is University of Leeds, Woodhouse Lane, Leeds, LS2 9JT.
  • Give your student loan provider a password and keep a note of this for yourself.
  • If you do experience problems, you can contact the Student Funding team at the University and give us the password, and we'll be able to talk with your loan provider to help in resolving the issue for you.