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News Report Page 13 of 17
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Apply now for student finance as the application service launches for 22/23 academic year

FULL time undergraduate students in Liverpool are being encouraged to apply now for student finance, as the application service opens for the 2022 / 2023 academic year. The Student Loans Company (SLC) expects approximately 1.5 million full-time, undergraduate students to apply for funding this year and the advice is to get applications in early.

Students in England can apply for Tuition Fee Loans to cover their fees and Maintenance Loans to help with living costs. By applying before the deadline (20 May 2022 for new students and 24 June 2022 for returning students) students can ensure they will have their finance in place for the start of term. Even if they are unsure on what course they will be doing or what University they will be attending, SLC is still encouraging students to apply now.

Applications can take 6 to 8 weeks to process, and students do not need to contact us during this time. As soon as they have applied, they can check the progress of their application using the new application status tracker in their online account. This shows them what stage their application is at currently. Applicants can also view a to do list of any outstanding actions required to support their application and will be contacted by text message or e-mail if any further information is required from them.

Chris Larmer, SLC Executive Director of Business Operations, said:- "SLC exists to enable opportunity for students to invest in their futures through access to further and higher education. We want students to get their higher education journey off to the best start by ensuring they have their finances in place at the start of term. That's why we are encouraging them to apply now for their student finance. We want to make it as easy as possible for students to access student finance and to support them resources are available online and they can follow Student Finance England (SFE) on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for all the latest student finance updates. We've also made it easier for students to check the status of their application using the new application status tracker in their SFE online account, and applicants can be assured that we will contact them via text message or email if we require any further information to support their application."

To help students apply for student finance, SLC has put together the following tips:-

Apply Early... Apply as early as possible to make sure your finances are in place before your studies start. The deadline to apply is 20 May 2022 for new students and 24 June 2022 for returning students. Even if you don't know what course you are doing, you should apply now using your preferred choice and you can update your application later if required.

Don't call us - we'll contact you! Remember it can take 6 to 8 weeks to process an application. There is no need to contact us during this time to check on your application status. You can stay up to date with your application's progress via our application tracker in your SFE online account. We will also notify you if you have any outstanding actions to complete. You should check that your e-mail address and telephone number are up to date in your online account.

Find the answer online 1st... Take advantage of the information and resources provided online. The online these resources are continually updated to respond to the needs of students, their parents and partners, as they progress through the application cycle. Students should also follow Student Finance England (SFE) on social media channels (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) to stay up to date with the very latest information.

Make sure you understand how much funding you may be entitled to... You can apply for Tuition Fee Loans to cover your fees and Maintenance Loans to help with living costs. You can use the student finance calculator to get an estimate of how much you could be entitled to:- Gov.UK.

Have your important documents at hand... Have your National Insurance Number and UK passport details to hand before you start your application as you will be asked for this information when you apply.

Provide your supporting evidence online... Don't forget to submit any evidence you are asked for. All evidence apart from some forms of ID or residency evidence can be submitted digitally via your SFE online account.

Check if you are eligible for extra support... There may be circumstances where you are able to access some extra money, for example if you have a disability, have children or are studying for a medical, social work or teaching course. You can find out more about what is available online at:- Gov.UK.

Follow Student Finance England (SFE) on social media... Students can stay up to date on the latest information on student finance by following the SFE Facebook, Twitter and Instagram channels.

TUC and FSB join forces to call on Chancellor to deliver sick pay for all

FSB Liverpool City Region Area Leader, Michael Sandys, points to importance of collaboration locally and nationally. In a joint intervention, the UK's leading organisations representing workers and small businesses are calling on the Chancellor to deliver sick pay for all and support employers with the associated costs at the same time. The lower earnings limit means that statutory sick pay is only available to employees earning ₤120 per week or more; leaving 2 million low paid workers, who are mostly women, without any sick pay at all. Further, the Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme will end on 17 March 2022, with an additional week, until 24 March 2022, for employers to make their claims for the period 21 December to 17 March 2022. The Trades Union Congress (TUC) and Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) are calling for this rebate to be both made permanent and adjusted to cover all sickness absence, alongside the removal of the lower earnings limit.

TUC General Secretary Frances O'Grady, who signed the letter with FSB National Vice Chair Martin McTague said:- "No 1 should be forced to choose between doing the right thing and self isolating or putting food on the table. But millions of low paid workers have faced this impossible choice. 2 years into the Pandemic, it's time ministers stopped turning a blind eye to this obvious problem and fixed our broken sick pay system. Delivering sick pay for all would be an important 1st step. But with statutory sick pay at a measly ₤96 a week, we need ministers to increase it to real Living wage too so people can afford to self isolate."

Michael Sandys, FSB Area Leader for Liverpool City Region, said:- "Small business owners are struggling to find ₤5bn a year for sick pay costs. Last year, the Chancellor responded to our calls for help with a reintroduction of the small employer sick pay rebate until the end of March 2022. However, with inflation driving up business costs, and forthcoming NICs hikes increasing the Tax burden on them to a level not seen since the 1950's; there could not be a worse time to remove the rebate. The Government should do the right thing and make the small employer rebate a permanent feature of how we manage workplace sickness, and protect small firms which help those with health challenges into work. Without this help, small firms will be forced to take difficult decisions on pay, jobs and prices. Collaboration is key to coming out of the Pandemic and thriving. I am pleased that FSB and the TUC are standing side by side on this issue, together representing the voice of UK businesses and workers to Government. Locally, it is important that Liverpool City Region's political leaders take note and fully commit to working with the business community, not least via the FSB and Liverpool City Region Business Group we chair. It is amazing what can be achieved when we pull together."

The TUC and FSB have written to Chancellor Rishi Sunak to:- "create an effective sick pay system to underpin the economic recovery, ensure that all workers that need access to sick pay would receive it regardless of earnings, and make sure that all employers would be able to afford it."

As the Pandemic recedes, the TUC and FSB are encouraging the Government to learns lessons from the crisis and take:- "a fresh look at the issue" arguing there is:- "a new awareness of the need for people to protect their health at work, and to avoid the spread of respiratory viruses in the workplace." During the peak of the Omicron variant, the ONS reported 7% of adults were self-isolating, equating to around 2 million people out of the workforce.

In July, ministers rowed back on removing the lower earnings limit; arguing it was "not the right time" because the furlough scheme, ₤20 Universal Credit uplift and temporary employer rebate were all in place. Only the temporary rebate remains in place.

Alongside the letter, new FSB research shows that the average cost of sickness absence to small employers stood at just over ₤3,500 last year. The figure covers additional cost implications of having staff away from the workplace, including paying for cover and overtime.

There are just under 1.4 million employers with fewer than 50 employees across the UK, according to Government figures, putting the estimated cost of SSP to the smallest business at just shy of ₤5 billion.


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