Accessibility statement

This website is run by Student Loans Company Limited (SLC) on behalf of UK Government Digital Services. SLC is fully committed to providing a website that is accessible to the widest possible audience, regardless of technology or ability. We’re actively working to increase the accessibility and usability of our website and in doing so adhere to many of the available standards and guidelines. We want as many people as possible to be able to use this website. For example, that means you should be able to:

  • zoom in up to 300% without the text spilling off the screen
  • navigate most of the website using just a keyboard
  • navigate most of the website using speech recognition software
  • listen to most of the website using a screen reader (including the most recent versions of JAWS, NVDA and VoiceOver)

We’ve made the website text as simple as possible to understand. AbilityNet has advice on making your device easier to use if you have a disability.

What to do if you cannot access parts of this website

If you need any of our letters, forms or guides sent to you in Braille or large print, email brailleandlargefonts@slc.co.uk with:

  • your address
  • your Customer Reference Number
  • what you need changing into Braille or large print
  • for large print, include the font size and the font type you need

If there are any other parts of our website which you cannot access, please let us know by contacting us at accessibility@slc.co.uk.

Contacting us by phone or visiting us in person

We provide a text relay service for people who are unable to hear or speak on the phone. Our offices have audio induction loops for those with difficulty hearing and are visiting our offices in person. Or, if you contact us before your visit, we can arrange a British Sign Language (BSL) interpreter.

Find out how to contact us: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/student-loans-company

Technical information about this website’s accessibility

SLC is committed to making its websites accessible, in accordance with the Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No. 2) Accessibility Regulations 2018 (“the Accessibility Regulations”). 

We’re striving to fully adhere to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines version 2.1 (“WCAG 2.1”) AA standards. We acknowledge that this website is currently only partially compliant with those standards. We’ve provided details below of current areas of non-compliance, and details of when we expect those areas to be made compliant.

Non accessible content

Non compliance with the Accessibility Regulations

Use of tables for layout purposes

Using tables for layout purposes can be problematic for blind users as the screenreader will report that a table is present and therefore, expect data tables, along with table headers to provide context. It also means that the information between cells is not connected and the user has to navigate further to hear the correct information.

Not all of the content on the site scales accordingly

All content across the site should be responsive and horizontal scrolling should be avoided where possible. On the homepage, the logo and carousel do not scale down like the rest of the content on the site. The carousel controls and search button become hidden off-screen making them difficult to operate.

Captions are not provided for video content

Captions are a text form of audio information which is in video content. This includes the words that are spoken, who is speaking when not evident and important sounds like music, laughter etc. Captions must be synchronised with visual content to contextualise them. Captions are important for hearing impaired users who cannot hear the audio as well as users with cognitive and learning disabilities who need to hear and see the content to better understand it.

Carousel animation auto plays and cannot be stopped

Navigation buttons for each item in the carousel are displayed, highlighting the current item. This allows users to get an overview of the carousel content and where they are in the sequence.

Unfortunately there are no controls to stop/ start the animation.

Drop down menus not indicated visually or programmatically

The main menu has some top-level items that have submenus but these are not distinguished visually or semantically using appropriate markup. Currently the submenus open when using the tab key to navigate through the menu, which means that keyboard users would then have to step through all submenu items to get to the next top-level item.

Page titles not unique and are not sufficiently descriptive

Page titles are of the structure main heading | website name. This format does not always provide screen reader users with enough context to understand what a page is or what it relates to. Some pages also have the same title, so the title cannot be used to distinguish pages. For example, the page title on the homepage is ‘HEP Services – HEP Services’ does not clarify what the website is for and is the same title as the services page. Content that’s not within the scope of the Accessibility Regulations

PDFs and other documents

The Accessibility Regulations do not require us to fix PDFs or other documents published before 23 September 2018 if they’re not essential to providing our services. Many of our older PDFs and Word documents do not meet AA accessibility standards - for example, they may not be structured so they’re accessible to a screen reader. This does not meet WCAG 2.1 success criterion 4.1.2 (name, role value). Some of our PDFs and Word documents are essential to providing our services. For example, we have PDFs with information on how users can access our services, and forms published as Word documents. By September 2020, we plan to either fix these or replace them with accessible HTML pages. Any PDFs or Word documents we publish from September 2019 will meet accessibility standards.

How we tested this website

The last test on this website was run in March 2019 . The test was carried out by User Vision.  We tested:

Reporting accessibility problems with this website

We’re always looking to improve the accessibility of this website. If you find any problems that are not listed on this page or think we’re not meeting accessibility requirements, contact: accessibility@slc.co.uk.

Enforcement procedure

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) is responsible for enforcing the Accessibility Regulations. If you’re not happy with how we respond to your complaint, you can contact the Equality Advisory and Support Service (EASS) for advice and assistance.

If you’re based in Northern Ireland and are not happy with how we respond to your complaint, you can contact the Equalities Commission for Northern Ireland, instead of the EASS and EHRC.

This statement was prepared on the 10 September 2019 and published on the 23 September 2019.