Change of circumstances
The majority of reasons for a change to your circumstances are listed below. This is not a comprehensive list and it is recommended that you speak with your student finance NI regional office about any change to your circumstances.
Your personal circumstances may change for various reasons, such as:
- you get married, or register a civil partnership
- you become separated or divorced
- you have children
- you become sick or disabled
- your household income rises or falls
- your parents have more children
Before you begin your studies
If you want to change your university, college or course before you begin your studies and have already submitted your student finance application, you do not need to re-apply for student finance.
You will however, have to report the change to your Student Finance NI regional office. They will then work out whether there's any effect on the student finance you're entitled to, and make any necessary adjustments to your payments.
After you have started a course
If you want to change your university, college and/ or course during your studies, in some circumstances you may also be able to transfer the financial support you get.
Your first step should be to talk to your place of study and to your Student Finance NI regional office to discuss the financial impact.
- Education authority regional office finder (studentfinanceni website)
If you have been accepted onto a new course at a new place of study, your new university or college will send your regional office a form called a 'Notification of Student Transfer' and they will carry out a re-assessment on your behalf.
Your regional office will reassess your entitlement to a Maintenance Loan and a Tuition Fee Loan for the whole of your new course, but only if:
- you change courses before the start of the second year of your course and
- you have not changed course before
You may have to pay your own tuition fees for part of the new course. This depends on the length of your new course and the number of years of previous study you have been financially supported for.
Provided you do not already have a UK Honours degree, you will be able to receive a Maintenance Loan for as long as you are studying a course of higher education.
Changing to a new course in England, Scotland or Wales
If you are a Northern Ireland domiciled student transferring to a course or undertaking 'top-up' courses at a Higher Education Institution elsewhere in the United Kingdom you may be treated as a new student by the institution. This may happen if your mode of study changes such as moving from a full-time course to a part-time course. Therefore, you may have to pay tuition fees of £9,250 for full-time courses and increased part-time charges.
Repeating a year of your course or deferring your studies
If you want to repeat a year of your course, or postpone your studies, you should first discuss your reasons with your place of study and with your Student Finance NI regional office. They will then let you know how your financial support could be affected.
If you postpone or repeat a year due to circumstances beyond your control, you may be offered full support. If your university or college approves your repeat period or deferment, they will update your regional office, who will take a decision on whether you will continue to get full financial support.
Leaving your course early
If you leave your course early, it may affect your entitlement to financial support if you return to higher education in the future. You can find out more by talking to your student finance NI regional office and place of study. Your Student Loan will enter repayment in the April following your last date of attendance, provided you are earning more than £18,935.
How to make changes
Making changes online
The quickest and easiest way to tell student finance NI about a change is by logging in to your online student finance account.
You can change the following information online at any time:
- Contact information (address, telephone number and email address)
- Living location (change living/ term address)
- Bank details
You can also change the following information online up until you send your online application:
- The amount of Maintenance Loan and Tuition Fee Loan you want
- The tuition fees you are being charged by your university/college
- Your university/college and course information
- Whether you’re withdrawing, suspending or returning to a course
Submitting a paper form
Once you have submitted your student finance application, you can only amend contact details and bank details online, as stated above. For all other changes, you must send in a CO1 - change of circumstances form. This can be found at the link below under 'change of circumstances'.
Contacting Student Finance NI
There are six regional offices, known as Education Authority regional offices.
You can also contact the Student Finance NI contact centre for more information and guidance.
Death of a student
If a student or former student has passed away, you will need to call the Student Finance NI- Customer Support Centre (above) or your Student Finance NI regional office, or alternatively in writing to their offices in Glasgow.
You will need to provide the Student Loans Company (SLC) with the original death certificate or coroners’ report which you can send for the attention of Douglas Gould at Student Loans Company Ltd.