A university student has hit back at Student Finance England after she was left without enough money for food and rent.
Lottie Maddison, 24, who was overpaid £2,295 by the loans company in her first year at university, found herself living paycheck to paycheck after she was told that the company would be taking back the overpayment in her second and final year.
The student, who is now about to embark on her masters degree, said the grant overpayment left her having to pick up part-time work alongside her full-time course to earn extra cash to cover rent payments.
Lottie Maddison, 24, has hit back at Student Finance England after the company reclaimed an overpayment they had made to her which left her in financial difficulty
The student, who was overpaid £2,295 by the loans company in her first year at university, was told the company would be taking back the payment
Lottie was sent a letter informing her that she had received a grant overpayment of £2,295
Speaking to the BBC, Lottie said: ‘My entire world was just flipped upside-down completely. There was no emotion, there was no apology, there was no explanation.
‘They said that they’d be taking back that overpayment in my second and final years of university.’
Lottie, who was given £3,500 in her first year of university, did not immediately question her overpayment as she came from a working class family and had assumed that she would be receiving a slightly higher loan.
However she later received a letter informing her that there had been a mistake and that she had been overpaid nearly £2,300.
A letter sent to Lottie by the loans company read: ‘We’ve reassessed how much grant you’re entitled to and determine that you were paid more than you should’ve been.
‘The amount of your grant overpayment is £2,295.’
The student, who is now about to embark on her masters degree, said the mistake left her having to pick up part-time work and struggling to pay rent
Lottie, who was given £3,500 in her first year of university, said her financial struggle began to hit home when she received final reminders from her water company
Lottie said the mistake left her having to ask her friend to pay for her flat deposit and struggling to keep up with her rent
Lottie began to suffer with anxiety as her bills started to pile up and she was left living paycheck to paycheck
The mistake left Lottie having to ask her friend to pay for her flat deposit and struggling to keep up with her £700-a-month rent.
As the bills continued to pile up, Lottie began to suffer with anxiety and was struggling to make ends meet.
Her financial struggles peaked when she started receiving final reminders from her water supplier.
Lottie said the loans company did not apologise and there was no explanation as to why this had happened
She added: ‘I think a real moment when it all really hit home quite hard was when I was getting final reminders for water bills saying, ”Your water will be cut off,” and I just had no money at all.’
A Student Loans Company spokesperson said: ‘In this particular case, funds were only recovered from future entitlements when the actual household income figures were shown to be greater than on the original application.
‘To avoid funds being recovered, we urge sponsors and students to ensure that the information they provide when applying is correct, and to respond to any requests from SLC about their household income level during the year.’