Students about to start the new year at university are having to source emergency funding, due to a back-log in processing student loan applications. A student about to start a course in Birmingham told the BBC she is planning to sell her car to cover her tuition and living costs. University authorities and student welfare officers, however, are advising cash-strapped students to apply for emergency funding from the institutions where they will be studying.
The Student Loans Company has been unable to say how many funding applications will still remain unprocessed when the university term begins next week. Last week Derek Ross, deputy chief executive of the Student Loans Company, said that "everyone who applied on time should be paid on time," yet the organisation says it is unable to put a number to how many applications for funding remain unprocessed. Nor can it say whether the number of unprocessed applications is rising or falling, given record numbers of students applying for last-minute university places through this year's Clearing process.
It is estimated The Student Loans Company is receiving 100,000 calls every day from concerned applicants. The company administers student finance in England on behalf of the government's Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.
A spokeswoman for the department told the BBC that, although the issues are being monitored, there are no plans to intervene.
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