St Albans candidate slams student loans system

PUBLISHED: 20:01 16 September 2009 | UPDATED: 14:27 06 May 2010

THE beleaguered student loans system has been slammed by the local Lib Dem parliamentary candidate whose sons are caught up in the chaos. Sandy Walkington has had first-hand experience of the problems caused by the record number of applications as his 18-

THE beleaguered student loans system has been slammed by the local Lib Dem parliamentary candidate whose sons are caught up in the chaos.

Sandy Walkington has had first-hand experience of the problems caused by the record number of applications as his 18-year-old son Tom is preparing to start university.

His older son Edward has also faced problems as he tries to secure funding for his third year at university but things have been easier as he is already in the system.

This is the first year that all student loans and grants have been processed by the Student Loans Company instead of the respective local authorities.

Sandy said it had been an uphill struggle to get any information through the online or telephone service and they had now resorted to using the post instead.

He said: "I have been so frustrated by this year's student finance. Both my sons successfully registered their details on-line. But when my wife and I tried to register and input our supporting data, we both got locked in a loop of endlessly having to change passwords, not being recognised, and eventually being locked out of it.

"Even when doing it by hard copy and sending it off by post, which is what we have finally done, I am struck by the complexity and impenetrability of the forms. It just seems to be designed to be as difficult and incomprehensible as possible."

Sandy added: "There must be many other families caught up in the same stress. It is so unfair, the Government knew that there was a record number of applications this year, they ought to have staffed-up to cope and ensure that the new website platform, which was supposed to make everything easier, was robust.


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