Tara Gandhi

Deputy News Editor

SLC examined the social media profiles of "vulnerable" students for evidence of contact with their parents

Minutes from meetings at the Student Loans Company (SLC) have lead to accusations of unfair assessment of "vulnerable" students, resulting in the loss of loans and even forcing some to drop out of university.

Students who have become estranged from their parents can apply for student loans as "vulnerable" people, allowing them larger and additional loans as they have no one to fall back on. As part of a recent anti-fraud drive, SLC randomly selected 150 students to provide proof that they were estranged from their parents, and it has come to light that if these students did not respond within 28 days, their funding would be suspended, and in some cases their social media profiles would be examined for evidence of contact with their parents.

According to the minutes from SLC meetings, 81 out of the 150 had their funding revoked, losing their third instalment of both maintenance and tuition fee loans. While this number has fallen as cases have been reviewed, charities such as Stand Alone, who act as advocates for such estranged people, have stressed the consequences of this problem, with waits of up to 5 months for reinstatement leading to poverty, homelessness and severe declines in mental health for those affected.

The SLC said that this anti-fraud drive has been successful in stopping some fraudulent cases, but that 34 people still have not been in contact with them, and they ask those students to contact them on 0141 243 3324 as soon as possible. Those effected by family estrangement can find help at standalone.org.uk.

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