Applying for student finance can be complicated. It comes at a time when you’ve got a lot going on, and one thing that can easily be forgotten is sending evidence. This can have a huge impact on the amount of loan you get.

So what is it?

Means testing is where Student Finance use your parent’s, partners, or your own household income to work out how much loan you’re entitled to. Which income they use depends on your age and individual circumstances.

Why is it important?

If you didn’t send any evidence to Student Finance, you’ll get your tuition fee loan and the non-means tested part of the maintenance loan, which is £4524 for students living away from home, and £3597 for students living at home.

When you send evidence, they assess how much extra you’re entitled to based on your household income. This is the means tested element. The maximum maintenance loan is £9706, so if your household income is less than £25,000 and you’re not means tested, you could be missing out on over £5000!

As the household income goes up, the amount of maintenance loan goes down. Most students will receive more than the minimum loan if they’re means tested.

How do I know if I’ve been means tested?

To check if you’ve been means tested, simply log in to your Student Finance account and start a live chat. If you’re not, it’s a straightforward process that could make a big difference to how much you get.

What if I’m with a different Student Finance company?

The information above is based on Student Finance England. All Student Finance companies operate differently, but all have a means tested element. Student Finance Scotland offer certain bursaries based on household income, and in Wales it dictates how much of your loan you pay back. In NI, 25% of the maintenance loan is means tested.

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