SLC Stakeholder Group May 27th

27 May 2015 - Stakeholder Operations Group - key points

  1. The AY 2015/16 Student Finance England (SFE) and Student Finance Wales (SFW) services for full-time students are operating within call handling and processing targets.
  2. Call volumes continue to be below forecast levels, the introduction of the online password re-set functionality last year has helped with the reduction.
  3. SLC have been promoting ‘deadline approaching’ messages to full-time SFE students (31 May deadline for new, 30 June deadline for continuing). Post-deadline messages will be issued to stakeholders & partners w/c 1 June.
  4. The SFW new student deadline for full-time students has passed, the continuing student deadline is 12 June.
  5. Customer messages are available at http://www.slc.co.uk/stakeholders-partners/latest-news.aspx
  6. Following requests for clarification of the policy intent in relation to the application of “compelling personal reasons” [CPR] under Regulation 22, SLC has provided confirmation that BIS have agreed that students who have fail to complete study on degree courses and who are, as a result, awarded an exit qualification do not meet the definition of regulation 22 and therefore will be assessed under Regulation 21 and therefore will be able to claim CPR, if applicable.
  7. It was noted that customers who started a course after 1 September 2012, under the new student finance arrangements, will begin repayments in April 2016 – this may have an impact on SLC call volumes.
  8. The group looked at the appeals picture from 2014/15, noting the nature of student cases being appealed had remained relatively consistent with the trends of the previous years, with previous study and residency continuing to be the two most commonly appealed categories. It was discussed that more information for students and practitioners, out with the application process, was required for these areas.
  9. The group discussed the BIS directive to recover any overpaid maintenance loan from future funds, under regulation 119(11), rather than allowing the overpayment to be added to the overall loan balance to be recovered through the ICR (income contingent repayment) process. The group discussed the importance of timely action by HEIs to notify SLC of withdrawals to prevent overpayments.
  10. If a student contacts SLC to advise they have left their course, SLC will now stop any future payments while awaiting the official Change of Circumstance notification and confirmation of leaving date from the HEI, to prevent further payments being made.
  11. The Agreement on Institutional Designation and Service Management framework had given the scope to monitor and drive best practice within HEIs on undertaking timely actions within SIS, such as withdrawals and Changes in Circumstances.
  12. The group discussed the student finance implications of the Report on Consumer Law from the Competition & Markets Authority, specifically the 14 day “cooling off” period and whether it was logical for attendance confirmations to be made during this window, given the student may exercise their right to drop out. It was discussed that common practice was, frequently, the student being registered on the course (registration confirmation received by SLC) with the provider then allowing two weeks cooling off before confirming the student in attendance (hence incurring the liability for the fee loan at this point). A backdated withdrawal would then follow with a zero fee liability. A consensus on best practice would be sought.

Ray Lock
SROC Representative on SLC Stakeholder Group
Student Records & Fees Manager
Business and Student Services
University Of Derby

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