Spotlight on key topics

Our spotlight page provides blogs, interviews and updates focusing on various topics relating to higher education and the University of Leeds.

We will update this page with new content regularly so we encourage you to bookmark it.

Spotlight on Student Finance

A message from Student Finance England:

At Student Finance England, we appreciate that as parents or carers, you will inevitably have your own questions, worries and concerns. We want to make sure that we are doing everything we can to support you and your child through the student finance system and provide information, resources, and answers to any questions that you may have. 

If you are brand new to student finance, as a starting point, why not have a read of our Student Finance for Parents guide? It contains introductory advice and key facts to get you started. Then, you may feel that you want to learn a little bit more and find out how your income can affect the amount of support that your child can access. For information about the application process and evidence requirements, visit the Parents and Partners section of The Student Room when you feel ready. 

A student loan is unique, different to any bank loan or mortgage loan that you may have experience of.Because of this, there are a few things that all parents should know.   

Firstly, the loan is only ever that of the student.  It will never pass to anyone else, is not inherited by anyone else and nobody is asked to be guarantor for a student loan. The only reason that we need parental involvement is for information – we will ask you for your income details for tax year ending April 2020 – and use that information to award your child the right amount of money – doing what we call a ‘means tested financial assessment’. And that’s it – there is nothing else we need from you! 

Secondly, we know that during the COVID lockdown period that parents may have been furloughed, had working hours reduced or maybe have lost their job entirely. Don’t worry.  We can account for this situation when we run a financial assessment. If this applies to you and there has been a significant drop in household income since April 2020, we can use up to date, current income figures. This ensures that financial assessments are as accurate as they can be. For more information about this process, take a look at the Current Year Income Assessment page – and download a form if required.  

Finally, repayment of the loan is an obvious and understandable concern for parents. The key principle that underpins the entire student finance system – repayment is based on what you earn, not what you owe. Students will make repayments through the tax system based on 9% of any salary over the repayment threshold – set this year at £27,295. If you’re not earning over this amount, you don’t repay. As the student loan repayment is directly linked to salary, if one rises or falls then the other must also have risen or fallen. Anything that is not repaid at the end of a 30-year window is written off. So, it is important to remember that students are not committing to repaying all of their loan. The terms and conditions are that they will make repayments based on their salary level – not necessarily to repaying the full loan. 

For more information and guides on repayment of student loans, see the Student Loans Company website

Remember to do your own research. Speak to students, friends or colleagues and gather information about supporting a child through the student loan process. Ask questions, get familiar and comfortable with the facts. If you still have questions or need some reassurance, please contact us at 0300 100 0607 or visit our social media channels

Spotlight on Access to Leeds

The Access to Leeds programme is for students wishing to study an undergraduate degree with us, but their background means they are less likely to attend university. It could offer them the chance to study an undergraduate degree with reduced entry requirements than those listed on our course pages, for example, ABB instead of AAA. You can check if your child is eligible for the Access to Leeds scheme on the Am I eligible? page.

If you believe your child is eligible and they want to apply, applications will open in late September 2021 for 2022 entry. We recommend that your child applies around the same time as they submit their UCAS application. If their application is successful, it will be passed on to the relevant admissions team who will consider any supporting information alongside their UCAS application. More information about applying can be found on the How to apply page.

You will see that we ask our Access to Leeds applicants to complete an online module and your child will need to successfully complete both parts to remain eligible. This is nothing to be worried about

The online module is designed to support students in the transition to undergraduate study, rather than being an entry “test”. It has an incredibly high pass rate.

By engaging with the module, your child will be getting a head-start on using the systems specific to the University of Leeds that they will use as an undergraduate, helping them become familiar with accessing material and content in a higher education setting. 

All Access to Leeds students will receive ongoing support throughout their time as an undergraduate via the Plus Programme.