Information for:

Paying financial support

When should I pay students their bursaries?

The payment dates of bursaries and scholarships are for you to determine. We recognise that different institutions may want to award bursaries at different times – some choose to award bursaries at the start of the academic year to help students with their set-up costs, others wait until they have received payment from the Student Loans Company to cover students’ tuition fees, others pay at the end of the year and link to completion.

We are happy for institutions to delay payment of bursaries and scholarships into the second term or later, particularly in view of the fact that many institutions feel this gives students an injection of cash at a time when it is most beneficial.

Should I say in our access agreement when students will receive their financial support payments?

The payment dates of bursaries and scholarships are for you to determine, and not a material issue for access agreements. However, we expect you to make clear, in your access agreement and the literature you send to students, your timetable for paying financial support.

What if the planned payment dates change?

If, at any point, you decide to change the payment dates of your financial support, you will of course need to manage the expectations of prospective students by flagging up changes to previously advertised payment dates – for example on websites and in any correspondence with applicants such as welcome packs.

Some students are trying to make retrospective claims, can they do that?

Students may want to claim financial support retrospectively, sometimes even after they have left an institution. It is for individual institutions to devise their own rules regarding the administration of financial support, including payment dates and any cut-off dates by which students need to apply, or consent to share financial information, to be eligible for a bursary.

If you have underspent against your access agreement budgets or have a take-up issue, we strongly encourage you to take a favourable view of any late financial support claimants up to the end of the academic year.

We think your liability to pay the mandatory minimum bursary should continue at least up to the end of the academic year, regardless of any earlier cut-off dates you may have set for financial support payments above the minimum bursary.

How can I avoid getting retrospective claims?

The best way to minimise retrospective claims is to make sure that students know exactly when and how to apply for financial support. This means making sure that your rules are reasonable and that your information is clear and well publicised to students as early as possible.

We also recommend that you are flexible where a student can demonstrate exceptional circumstances for not complying with your requirements.

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