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What happens to your student finance application - after your first year of study

Student finance applications you make after your first year follow a similar route to before. Your local Student Finance NI office decides how much financial help you will get, then forwards details to Student Finance NI for payment.

Checking the progress of your application

Your student finance application will follow six main steps, as outlined below. Once you have registered for student finance online, you can check the progress of your application online at any stage by logging into your account.

Step one: submit your application for student finance

You must submit an application for student finance for every year you are in higher education. You should be sure to indicate on the online application or on the form PR1 if there has been a change to your circumstances, for example, to your household income or your marital status. If there has been a change to your circumstances, you may need to supply documentary evidence.

Step two: your parent, partner or spouse supports your application

If you are receiving financial support from a parent, spouse or partner, they will need to confirm whether their income or other circumstances have changed since you last submitted an application. If it has, they may need to provide evidence to your local Student Finance NI office. This will be explained to them when they complete their part of the application online or on paper.

Step three: your application is assessed

Your Student Finance NI office will review the information that you and others have provided, and decide the amount of student loans and other financial support you are entitled to. Once your local Student Finance NI office has reached a decision regarding your entitlement to financial help, they forward this information to Student Finance NI. They will also send you a Financial Assessment letter containing this information.

Step four: your support is confirmed and prepared for payment

Student Finance NI will send you a Payment Schedule Letter to confirm what will be paid to you and when. These payment dates are dependent upon you registering on your course in time and ensuring that Student Finance NI has your most up to date bank account details. If you have changed your banking details and not advised Student Finance NI, money that you rely on could be paid into the wrong bank account, resulting in delays in it reaching you.

If you have supplied all necessary information with your application, you can expect to be advised of your support entitlement between six and eight weeks after you have submitted it.

Step five: register on your course

When you register on your course, you should take with you:

  • your Financial Assessment letter (sent to you by your local Student Finance NI office)
  • your Payment Schedule Letter (sent to you by Student Finance NI)

Your place of study will send a message to Student Finance NI on the same day confirming your attendance.

Step six: your financial help is paid  

As soon as Student Finance NI receive confirmation of your registration, payment is released automatically. Payment usually clears in your bank account within three to five working days.

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