Student Finance

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Some words of advice from a fellow coursemate, Immy…

When it comes to intercalation, we have all been warned by the staff that getting student finance to understand what is going on is always a pain, so here are some words of advice from Immy’s experience of applying for funding. Do comment below with anything else important you think we may have missed!

“Originally I rang up student finance to ask about funding for an intercalation year, with regards to filling out a form that had been mentioned by Bristol staff to make the application process ‘easier’ and their team said that I shouldn’t need one. However, the staff at Bristol continued to emphasise the importance of sending the form made by the university’s fees and funding office to ensure SFE gave me the correct funding, so I filled this out. It took a little while as I had to fill out all my personal details again and the details of the course I was applying for (including its code which I didn’t know, as most intercalation courses have a more informal application process compared to something like UCAS). So I rang student finance again and they said they could work out the code (should I have believed them? Not really!).”

“The form is also confusing as because it is for an intercalated year, I wasn’t sure whether to put if it would be my first year or fourth year of study”.

Getting funding for the intercalation year is awkward in itself because it may be classed as a second or postgraduate degree (in the case of an MSc), which can also add complication for when you return to the vet course so it is very important to make sure you apply properly to ensure funding for your return (this has happened to students in the past according to staff!) and the university will not be able to do anything if this happens.

“Another complication I faced was the fact that student finance will ‘reassess’ student applications even after they have authorised them; last week I heard from the University of Liverpool (where I’m doing my intercalated year) that I hadn’t had my tuition fees paid. This was because student finance had ‘reassessed’ me and decided I wasn’t eligible for tuition fees yet had doubled my maintenance loan which was odd. SFE hadn’t even communicated this to me myself. Needless to say I had an angry phone call with them afterwards telling them I had sent a form stating exactly what I was doing and that they should refer back to that.”

“My advice would be to keep logging into your student finance account to check things when you start the course to make sure you’re getting the correct loans that you applied for!”

Thanks to Immy for helping me with this information, if you’d like any questions answered you can email her at ia16489@bristol.ac.uk.

Please check with your university if you are not at the University of Bristol for their advice on applying for funding for an intercalation year and whether they have any specific forms to help you with the slightly awkward process. (Bristol students can contact student-fees@bristol.ac.uk)