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Advice and Counselling Service

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Loans

Loans

Professional and Career Development Loans (PCDLs)

The Professional and Career Development Loan scheme has now closed. This will not affect your existing loan.

Are there any other loans I can apply for?

Student Finance Maintenance Loans and Professional and Career Development Loans are specifically designed for those who are studying or training and the interest rates and repayment arrangements of these loans generally reflect this. Other bank or payday lending loans may seem attractive but their terms and conditions such as high interest rates or immediate repayments tend to make them unsuitable for students.

A credit card is another type of loan which enables you to borrow money which you will have to pay back. Unless you pay off the balance in full every month, you will be charged interest. Although there are some 0% interest and balance transfer offers, there can be hidden charges such as transfer fees as well as high interest rates once the offer period ends. 

What do I need to consider before deciding to take out a loan?

You should think carefully before deciding to take out any other kind of loan as most will charge high rates of interest and require you to start making immediate repayments which you might struggle to pay from your Student Finance or NHS Bursary.

However, if you have no other options available and need to consider taking a loan, you should first check whether the loan company is authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) so you can protect yourself from fraud or other unauthorised activity. The FCA website explains how you can do this and where you can check the register of authorised firms.

Next, make sure you fully understand the terms and conditions of the loan you are offered before you sign any agreement. Try and find out as much information as you can such as:

    • how much you need to borrow

 

    • how much in total you will end up repaying

 

    • how much your (minimum) monthly repayments will be

 

    • what the interest rate is and whether this is fixed or variable

 

    • the length of the loan agreement

 

    • the frequency and timing of payments

 

    • whether you can reduce the amount you need to borrow by exploring other sources of funding or reducing your spending

 

    • how you will repay the loan from your future earnings

 

    • at what point in your studies to take the loan – this will depend on your own circumstances;
        • some students may need the money earlier in their studies

       

        • others may need it later

       

    • what happens if you take longer to complete your studies than originally planned

 

Contact a Welfare Adviser in the Advice and Counselling Service if you would like some help thinking through these issues before you make a decision about taking out a loan. 

I have signed a loan agreement but have changed my mind – what are my options?

If you have signed a loan or credit agreement, under the Consumer Credit Act, you normally have 14 days to withdraw from this agreement. The legislation applies to all credit agreements, whether made in person, on the internet or over the phone. However, if you sign an agreement away from the creditor’s normal business premises such as at your home, your place of work or at an exhibition stand in a shopping centre, you have a shorter cooling off period of 5 days. 

Where can I get more advice about cancelling a loan agreement?

You might find it useful to refer to the Citizen’s Advice Bureau (CAB) webpages, ‘Your rights when you borrow money’. You can also post a query from the same page and a CAB adviser will email you written advice. The ‘Which’ website also has details about your rights to cancel a loan agreement. 

Shariah-Compliant Loans

Islamic Sharia law prohibits "Riba", which means the paying and receiving of interest for profit. The prohibition is usually applied to excessive or unreasonable interest, but is sometimes deemed to include the commercial rate of interest paid on a Professional and Career Development Loan, bank overdraft or credit card. Occasionally, even the inflation-only interest that is paid on student loans for undergraduates is seen as Riba, although there are many Islamic scholars who do not see it this way.

The UK government is currently exploring the possibility of an alternative finance system available alongside traditional student loans that is not interest based, but results in identical repayments to the conventional system. This funding would be Sharia compliant and overseen by a Sharia advisory committee.

For more information on Shariah-Compliant loans, see the Advice and Counselling Service Student Loans and Shariah law webpage. 

I’ve already taken out a loan but I can’t afford the repayments – what can I do?

If you cannot afford to make repayments, or you are only making the minimum monthly repayment and are being charged interest, contact a Welfare Adviser in the Advice and Counselling Service for advice about your options. You might also find it helpful to look at the debt section of our website.


Disclaimer:
Law, regulations and policies can change quickly. The information on our website is given in good faith and has been carefully checked but QMUL cannot accept responsibility for any errors or omissions. QMUL is not responsible for the content or reliability of the linked websites which are provided for further information.

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