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Current Year Income assessment

Will your household income drop in the 2020-21 tax year?

For the 2020/21 academic year, we normally use your income details from the 2018-19 tax year to work out how much student finance your child or partner can get. However, we understand your financial circumstances might have changed since then, for example because of the coronavirus outbreak.

If your household income is expected to drop by 15% or more compared to the 2018-19 tax year, you can ask us to calculate their student finance based on your estimated income for the current 2020-21 tax year instead.

Doing this means your child or partner could get more student finance, but it’s not right for everyone. At the end of the tax year, we’ll ask for evidence of your income to see if the estimates were right. If they were wrong, your child or partner will probably have been paid too much student finance and will need to pay some of it back.

This information is for parents and partners. We also have information for students.

1 Check if you’re eligible

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If your household income has not dropped by 15% over the full year

You will not be able to ask for a current year income assessment unless you expect your household income to drop by at least 15% over the 2020-21 tax year. Keep in mind, being on furlough for a few months during the COVID-19 outbreak may not give you a 15% drop in income over the full 2020-21 tax year.

Remember it’s the combined income for your household, so if only one person’s income has dropped, this might not be enough to ask for a current year income assessment.

For example, if both people in the household earn £20,000, the household income would need to go down by at least 15% of £40,000. In this example, this would be a drop in income of at least £6,000 across the year, regardless of whether one or both people in the household have had a drop in income.

If your household income was less than £25,000

Your child or partner will already be assessed for the maximum amount of funding, so there’s no need to ask for a current year income assessment.

But you might still be able to ask us for one if:

  • they need it to get more bursary or scholarship from their university or college
  • they have children or an adult who depends on you financially

This is because the income threshold for bursaries and Dependants’ Grants can be lower than other types of student finance. They should check with their university or college before you ask us for a current year income assessment.

If your household income is expected to be more than £70,000 or if your child or partner is not getting student finance based on household income

It’s unlikely they will be able to get any extra student finance, but you can find out more to see if you can ask for a current year income assessment.

2 Apply

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You can apply for a current year income assessment by downloading a form and sending it to us.

You can apply until the last day of your child or partner’s academic year.

Don’t worry about applying just now if you’re not able to. If you send us a current year income application towards the end of the academic year, we’ll make sure your child or partner doesn’t lose out on student finance because of it.

If you’re not sure if the COVID-19 outbreak will have an impact on your income, you don’t need to apply now. You can wait until you know more.

3 Keep your income estimates up to date

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Once you’ve applied and we’ve done a current year income assessment, you must let us know if your income changes at any point throughout the year. For example, if you’ve:

  • worked overtime or extra hours
  • changed jobs
  • had any pay rises, bonuses or redundancy pay

! If you don’t keep your income estimates up to date, or if you underestimate your income, your child or partner could be paid too much student finance and will be asked to pay it back.

4 Confirm your income at the end of the tax year

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After the tax year finishes, we’ll ask you to let us know what your actual income was and send us evidence of this. We’ll usually ask you for this at the end of the tax year in April 2021.

? Find out what you need to do and what you need to send us.

! If you don’t do this, your child or partner’s student finance payments will be reduced and they’ll be asked to pay some of it back.

5 What happens next

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Once we know your actual income at the end of the tax year, we’ll be able to check if the amount we gave your child or partner was correct.

? Find out what happens if your estimated income was higher or lower than your actual income.

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