If you’re a student in the UK, you may be wondering if it’s possible to get your student loan early. While it’s understandable to want to access your funds as soon as possible, there are certain limitations and guidelines that must be followed. Let’s take a closer look at the UK student loan system and what options you have for accessing your funds.

The UK Student Loan System

can you get your student loan early?

The UK student loan system is administered by the Student Loans Company (SLC), which is a government-owned organisation. The amount of student loan you can receive depends on various factors, such as your household income, where you live and study, and whether you are a full-time or part-time student.

In general, student loans are paid directly to your university or college in three instalments over the academic year, with the first payment being made at the start of the term. The payment dates are set by the SLC and are typically in September, January, and April.

Can You Get Your Student Loan Early?

students want student loan early to help with living costs

In most cases, it is not possible to receive your student loan early. The SLC pays student loans directly to your university or college, and they will only release the funds to you once you have enrolled and started your course. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. If you have experienced unforeseen circumstances that have affected your ability to pay for your living costs or tuition fees, you may be able to apply for a short-term loan or a payment plan. These options are typically only available in exceptional circumstances and are subject to approval by the SLC. It’s important to note that getting a short-term loan or payment plan may not be the best solution for everyone. While it may provide temporary relief, it could also increase your overall debt and make it harder to manage your finances in the long term.

One option is to open a Monzo account, which allows you to get your student load one day earlier. It’s part of their service called Get Paid Early, which we all appreciate! Once you have your Monzo account, you just need to change your bank details on Student Finance. 

You could also apply for a hardship fund, which is money allocated to help struggling students. It’s usually only available to students who meet certain criteria (such as parents, carers, students from low-income families or students with disabilities). However, it’s worth getting in contact with your university regardless. The amount of money you can receive is determined by your university.

How to apply to a hardship fund?

studying parents can apply for a hardship fund

If you want to apply for a hardship fund, you’ll need to meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • You must be an undergraduate student, although some universities may provide assistance to postgraduate students through a separate fund.
  • Your household income must fall below a certain amount, although some universities may not have a specific threshold. If your household income exceeds the threshold, there may be a separate fund available for you.
  • You must hold home fee status and not be considered an international student. If you are an international student, your university may have a separate hardship fund for you, but you will still need to show that you were financially prepared before coming to the UK (similar to when applying for a Student visa).
  • You must have applied for the maximum Maintenance Loan available to you and any other student bursaries you’re eligible for.
  • You must be unable to cover essential living costs, such as food and rent.
  • The cause of your financial difficulty must be short-term and fixable with a one-off payment.

Alternative options

part-time job can help with student loan

If you’re struggling to make ends meet while waiting for your student loan payment, there are some alternative options you can explore. For example, you could consider taking on a part-time job, freelancing, or doing some freelance work to earn extra income.

You could also look into other forms of financial support, such as bursaries, grants, or scholarships. These options are typically awarded based on academic achievement or financial need and do not have to be repaid.

Another option is to seek financial advice from your university’s student finance office or a professional financial advisor. They may be able to provide you with guidance on budgeting, managing your debt, and accessing other forms of support. For more tips on what to do if you’ve ran out of money, check out our guide.

While it may not be possible to get your student loan early in most cases, there are other options available to help you manage your finances while studying in the UK. It’s important to explore all of your options and seek advice if you’re struggling to make ends meet. By being proactive and informed, you can ensure that you make the most of your student loan and set yourself up for financial success in the future.