Although I understand that Student Finance has very little competence when it comes to organising themselves, I still am in utter shock by their inability to produce the goods they happily advertise to students all around Britain, a loan. It is a sad fact that many of my peers have been left with no money for part or all of the academic year. You may ask how this has happened and, believe me, their parents are asking the same questions. Many people simply can’t afford to pay for their offspring to live away from home, have an expensive education and spending money and so some students find themselves on the brink of dropping-out due to a financial crisis.
Surely this is the loan seeker’s fault, I hear you cry, but alas students who got their forms in on time and had been very organised were let down by the inability of a over-stretched, under-staffed company. When these unfortunate souls are sent letters, emails or contact in any variety of ways and are told that they must ring the hotline to sort out the mess that has been created, frustration is quickly turned to blind rage. The high-rate number you are required to ring leaves you jabbing the buttons on your phone in furiously as it fails to recognise your ID number and then shoves you into what seems an endless queueing system. When eventually the call is taken off hold and an employee finally answers you spend a hideously long time repeating the fine details of your problem whilst the person on the end of the line shuffles through papers on their desk, rings numerous other departments and returns with the answer, “We do have that form, you did send it to us, but it hasn’t been processed yet. Just ignore that letter we sent you. However, we do need you to send us your bank details.” When you try to give them this simple piece of information over the phone the employee panics, insisting that they cannot possibly enter this into the computer directly and you’ll have to send another form which will, undoubtedly, get lost.
If you manage to get through this process without running out of credit or battery on your phone or without throwing it across the room whilst uttering a torrent of unseemly words then you may get your loan before the end of the year. Whilst this is not a problem for those who do not particularly need the support, for the vast majority, this leaves the underfunded student distressed and unable to to enjoy their university experience. We want successful young people who can be the future medics, engineers and novelists but how are many of the bright people in this country suppose to learn these skills if they can’t fund it. Even a undergraduate could take over this obviously flawed system and make the basic changes to which their concepts simply elude this badly managed, frustratingly unhelpful service.