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Three things teachers should know about student loans

As educators, we always want what’s best for our students. The job of a teacher is a valuable one, and it’s thanks to us that many young people are inspired to pursue their interests in higher education after leaving school.

Besides the subjects that are part of the school curriculum, there are other lessons we can offer our students. One of those is how to manage their finances throughout their time at university. But first, we need to understand how the system works ourselves – in this article, we share three things that teachers should know about student loans.

The eligibility criteria

As teachers, we’re used to talking to our soon-to-be leavers about applying for student loans, but rarely do we get a chance to discuss the options available if a student isn’t eligible. The truth is, not every learner will be entitled to a government loan, so it’s important to know how we can best support students who don’t get the funding they need – such as international students or learners who have previously taken out a student loan.

For the most part, students who are UK nationals should be entitled to an undergraduate student loan so long as it’s their first time enrolling on a higher education course. Those who aren’t eligible can still apply for a private loan, scholarship or degree apprenticeship.

The application process

Applying for student finance is just as important as applying for a place at university, and should be done around the same time (the student loan portal tends to open slightly after the UCAS one). Some students might think they have to wait until their spot at university is confirmed to apply, but this isn’t the case. In fact, there are strict deadlines that need to be met when applying for a student loan to avoid delayed payments.

As it stands currently, students can apply up to six months before the date their course commences. As educators, we should encourage students to get their applications in early – if their plans change, they can amend or cancel their loan application prior to the course start date.

How to repay a student loan

Once your students have graduated from their university courses, they’re on their own. It’s unlikely their university will educate them on the importance of keeping up with their loan repayments, but you can prepare them as best you can before they leave sixth form or college.

Students may not be required to repay their loans at the same rate as their peers, so it’s best to educate them on the five different plans for repaying undergraduate loans. While many students will have their repayment fees taken out of their salary automatically, it’s worth mentioning that those who work for themselves or move abroad will be responsible for making the required repayments themselves.

The importance of preparing students

Almost all educators will have some experience with the way the student loan system works. Because it’s so familiar to us, we may forget that there are students who won’t know the ins and outs of the system. If we want to give our students the best possible start in higher education, we should do our best to prepare them for what to expect, including the financial implications of taking out a student loan.

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Harriet enjoys going on hikes and connecting with nature with her two Labradors. Though she enjoys being vegan, she is adventurous and enjoys trying out new food. Skilled in PR, creative media, and content strategies to assist brands and companies in developing and enhancing their online presence. Primary competency: - Market and audience insight - Campaign planning and strategy - Digital initiatives that result in 'earned' media attention that is organic.

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