FAQ – Reprofiling termly fee payments

Please check this article and FAQ for answers about reprofiling termly fee payments.

04 May 2020

On 4 May 2020, the Education Secretary of the UK Government, Gavin Williamson, made the following statement:

"Changes to tuition fee loan payments – The Student Loans Company will bring forward tuition fee payments of students in the 2020/21 academic year to providers, expected to be worth £2.6bn, to help cash flow. This will not affect the loan liability, amount of interest charged to students or the timing of their maintenance loan payments.”

Therefore, we are planning to make two fee payments in the first term of the 2020/21 academic year. The first payment of 25% of the Tuition Fee Loan is being made as normal. A second payment of 25% is being made in advance of term 2. The third term payment of 50% remains unchanged.

This change applies to all UK higher education providers, in respect of English, Welsh and Northern Irish full-time and part-time undergraduate students.

We have contacted the British Universities Finance Directors Group (BUFDG) to commence formal implementation planning.

FAQ

Q: (NEW) Is it compulsory for HEPs to submit the two attendance confirmations in the first term?

A: No, its optional, for each university or college to decide for themselves. But given the strong cross-sector desire for this arrangement, we have assumed virtually all HEPs will want to take advantage of it and we have made budget forecasts accordingly. If any university or large college is not planning to make term 2 attendance confirmations during term 1, they should contact their Account Manager.

Student fee loans liability

Q: Are we charging the student a double tuition fee in the first term?

A: No, the student is only liable for the first instalment, 25%, of their annual charged fee. 

Q: Will students’ loan liability change?

A: No, their fee loan account will only include the first term fee loan (25% of the annual charged fee) and this is what they will see on their account. Even though the second term attendance confirmations and payments to HEPs are being made during term 1, the second instalment loan payments are not linked to the student’s fee loan until the processing of term 2 attendance confirmations.

Q: So if there is no change to the amount of the fee loan, does that mean there is no difference in the interest of the loan account?

A: There is no change to how interest is calculated or added to the student’s loan account. Interest accrual will operate in line with the usual 25% / 25% / 50% termly fee loan instalments, with interest added in respect of term 2 attendance at the beginning of February.  

Payment arrangements

Q: How do we report attendance confirmations?

A: You will need to submit attendance confirmations twice in the first term. We will open up the attendance confirmation worklists for the second term at the same time as the first. Both confirmations can be made as soon as the student becomes liable to pay the tuition fee due in the first term. 

Q: How will file imports be handled?

A: You will be able to submit two file imports, one for each of the first term attendances, and, in advance, the second term attendance confirmations.

Q: How will we receive the advance payment?

A: You will receive the term 2 advance payment shortly after the first term routine payment, in the same month. Both payments will be remitted directly to your bank account.

The second payment will reflect the same monetary value as that of the first payment. We are considering what payment information reporting can be made available.

Q: How will CoCs affect payments?

A: Guidance will be produced as business rules are finalised. This will cover, for example, provider transfers in term 2 and withdrawals.

Q: What is the impact on term 3?

A: No changes are expected and 50% of the annual fee loan will be paid as normal.

Implementation planning

Q: What do we have to prepare for the change?

A: Your SLC account manager will be in touch with your primary management contact for SLC to discuss the initial set of actions.

  1. It is essential that you process all your 2019/20 academic year outstanding confirmations. You should submit positive or negative codes for 2019/20 autumn starts by 31 July. Please urgently schedule the work to clear your attendance worklists.

    You can find general guidance and COVID-19-relevant FAQs here.

  2. You can help by reassuring students that there is no change to their loan liability or interest. Student communications are planned to be very low-key, as students are not affected by this change.

  3. Your finance director must decide how to account for the advance term payment, and must ensure that allowance is made for subsequent recovery of any future overpayments, such as for withdrawn students.

  4. If you have a franchise partnership, you should consider how you will distribute fee income payments to your delivery partner. Such arrangements fall outside the student finance system.

Cooling off


As per the current requirement, you must not submit an attendance confirmation for a student until they are liable for their tuition fee.  We expect that all HEPs have clear information on their fees and attendance policies.

Awarding body registrations

If you are not your own awarding body, you may want to review the process for registering new students with your awarding body. As per the current rule, you cannot submit attendance confirmations for students until they have been registered with the awarding body.