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Sign the petition to make student finance payments monthly

Monday 10 February 2014 Welfare and Student Rights

It’s National Student Money Week and universities, colleges and students’ unions around the UK will be working to help students understand money better.

As part of this activity NUS is working with the National Association of Student Money Advisers to campaign for monthly student loan payments in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. We need you to sign the e-petition now!

Why change?

At the moment, most HE students are paid their support in three termly instalments – but we know from our research students want to be paid more frequently. It already happens in Scotland and in England and Wales if you’re a healthcare student receiving an NHS bursary, so we know it can change for others.

The present system causes problems: we know many students find it difficult to budget and hardship funds see a spike in applications at the end of each term. Most salaries are paid on a monthly or weekly basis, and most bills come in once a month – so it makes sense for student support to be paid more frequently.

Whilst some accommodation providers do expect termly payments this is simply a reflection of students being paid termly and they will adjust – as they did in Scotland. And whilst you can need more money at the start of the year Scottish students also get a double payment in their first month to help pay for start-up costs.

Colum McGuire, NUS Vice President (Welfare) said: "The current system is out of date. Students tell us consistently that they want to have more frequent payments of their loan and there is no other part of society that operates in such a strange fashion. This is simply a hangover from from when the loans system was created and hasn't been updated to suit a changing culture. What we believe is a legitimate request and small change could make a huge difference which is why we're calling for action."

What can I do?

NASMA, with NUS’ full support, have set up an e-petition on the website with the aim of getting this discussed in Westminster. Although student finance is a devolved issue we’re also hoping it can start discussions in Wales and Northern Ireland on the same issue.

So, please sign the petition. If we get can get to 10,000 signatures this means a response from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, and 100,000 would get a debate in parliament. It’s a simple change but we need to show how much students would benefit.