Magazine article Public Finance

Student Loans Centre 'Buckled under Strain'

Magazine article Public Finance

Student Loans Centre 'Buckled under Strain'

Article excerpt

A growing student population, increased demand for courses and a new government processing agency ill-equipped to cope are to blame for the student loans fiasco, according to the National Union of Students.

An estimated 170,000 students had not had their funding approved by the newly formed Student Finance England by mid-September, with the academic year set to begin at the start of October.

SFE is run by the Student Loans Company, which provides the finance.

It started approving loan applications this year after criticism of local authorities' handling of the process in a government consultation in 2006.

After a successful tender bid, the SLC set up a call centre in Darlington to deal with the approval process for all undergraduates in England.

However, teething problems with scanning equipment used to capture student data caused delays at the start of summer. …

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