By brocs1, Apr 14 2021 09:40AM
Are you having issues with the Student Loan Company? Has Student Finance England rejected your application for student finance? Do you know you have the right to appeal their decision?
If you have found yourself in such a situation, then it is important to know that you have the right to appeal if you do not agree with the decision.
‘The Student Finance England, Assessing Eligibility Guidance’ for caseworker’s clearly stipulate that caseworkers should not apply a general rule of thumb to all applications, and that each application should be considered on its individual merits. However, as with most organisations, rules are not interpreted correctly, and a general blanket decision is applied which can lead to a rejection of an application.
Often, we see applications for student finance being refused on the basis that the applicant has “not satisfied the relevant three-year residence period in the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland prior to the first day of the first academic year of the course”.
Such a situation recently occurred to a student after the course had already started. The student instructed Summerfield Browne Solicitors in his appeal against the SFE.
The applicant had emigrated to the UK at a very young age and had attended primary school and secondary school in the city that was now his hometown. The applicant’s father had obtained employment outside of the UK when the applicant was 15 years old, and because of this new role, the applicant, being a minor, had no choice but to move abroad to live as a family unit.
Although the father had accepted employment outside of the UK, the role was temporary with no intention of becoming permanent. Furthermore, the Country that the family moved too had legislation in place that differed to the UK – in that, a temporary employment meant just that – temporary and no amount of ‘time worked’ would qualify as a permanent role.
As the intention to undertake that role away from the UK was always temporary, the father ensured the running of their UK family home continued. Mortgage payments were kept up to date, as was council tax payments, utility bills and TV licences. The family home was one which was frequently being used by the family each time they returned to the UK when the father’s work leave permitted. The applicant himself would undertake work experience in the UK each time his school leave abroad would allow as his intention was always to live and study in the UK – this was his home.
The moment the applicant turned 18 and was able to independently live away from his family, he moved back home to the United Kingdom and completed his final year of college before moving onto university studies.
Application to the SFE
An application in the usual way was made to the SFE which was rejected on the basis that the applicant had not resided in the UK for three years prior to making the application.
Based on our client’s living arrangements both here and abroad, and with documents provided to us by the client, we were able to successfully demonstrate along with supporting case law, that the applicant was not only ordinarily resident in the UK at the relevant time but also that the client was settled and had ordinary residence in two countries at the same time.
Having considered all the facts, evidence, and case law, SFE accepted the applicant’s appeal on the basis that the applicant was ordinarily a resident in the UK three years prior to making the application at all relevant times despite not living in the UK during the first two years of the relevant period.
This recent successful appeal demonstrates that the SFE do take into consideration factors that would ordinarily reject an application and that the ‘general rule of thumb’ cannot be applied in each application as each application must be considered on its own individual merits.
If you have recently been rejected for student finance and are unsure of how to proceed or you would like to appeal the SFE’s decision, then do contact our specialist team at Summerfield Browne Solicitors.