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Ash
Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10915
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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HiMy question is on problems that we are experiencing with

Resolved Question:

Hi
My question is on problems that we are experiencing with the Student Finance Co of England regarding our son.
In November 2013 we received a letter from the Student Loans company advising that they were passing a debt of £2881 to debt collectors.
After a little research, the debt apparently relates to a maintenance grant that was awarded for 2010 /11. The grant was received in October 2010 and spent. It was not realised that the grant had been paid in error. The documentation suggests that the grant assessment is final "We will only change our decision if your circumstances change or we receive new information"
Daniel did also receive correspondence suggesting problems with financing of his course which proved to be incorrect.
A letter was received in November 2011 suggesting an overpayment but no response was ever received on a request for more information although the Student Loan Company acknowledge they received the letter.
A formal complaint to Student Loans in November 2013 has elicited a formal response to confirm "human error" back in 2010 for which they apologise. They do insist that the grant be repaid as it is public money over which they have no discretion.
Given that the funds have been spent and repayment will cause a problem - is there any legal basis to defend a claim.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.

Alex Watts :

Hello my name is XXXXX XXXXX I will help you with this. Please note that I am a working Solicitor and may be on and offline as I have to attend Court and meet with clients, even at weekends. As such you may not get an instant response when you reply, but rest assured I will be giving your question my immediate attention upon return You do not need to wait here as you will get an email when I reply.

Alex Watts :

Does he accept it has been paid when it should not have been please?

Customer:

The subject of student finance is very confusing and even now we can only accept that a mistake has been made because Student Loans Company has told us so. To work out the precise mechanism and values involved would be impossible unless you ar eon the inside.

Customer:

To. quote from letter of apology dated 17/2/2014 - "On review of Daniels account it appears when Daniel was first assessed he was incorrectly awarded full funding including a maintenance grant. Because he was entering his second year of study he was only entitled to a reduced rate maintenance loan for this academic year." I suspect that the alleged overpayment relates to 2009/10 academic year and the mistake discovered when the assessment for 2010/11 was being reviewed - but I am not 100% convinced. DAniel had no idea that he wa snot entitled to the funding and it was spent in good faith.

Alex Watts : How much is outstanding?
Alex Watts : I am in court today so may be on and offline.
Customer:

£2881 !!

Alex Watts : Ok. Have they issued a claim or just made a demand for payment? I assume he accepts he has now been overpaid?
Customer:

They have made a demand for payment with the threat of passing the debt to solicitors for collection.

Alex Watts :

Ok - if he has been overpaid then sadly he does owe it. It can not simply just be written off.

Alex Watts :

This is because any payment even in error is still a payment and is a debt.

Alex Watts :

However what he can do is arrange to pay it back weekly or monthly.

Alex Watts :

If he is not work and on benefit this may be as low as £4 per week

Alex Watts :

But if he is earning it will be higher.

Alex Watts :

But sadly if it ended up going to Court he would lose.

Alex Watts :

This was money that he was not entitled to, although it was an error on behalf of the student loan company, so it is actually recoverable.

Alex Watts :

But he can agree and arrange installments

Alex Watts :

I am sorry if this is not the answer you want and certainly not the one I want to give you, but I have a duty to be honest

Alex Watts :

Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?

Customer:

Thanks. Not the answer I was looking for! I thought there may have been a get out under the estoppel principle! Genuinely received in good faith and spent!

Alex Watts :

Sadly that would not apply here.

Alex Watts :

I know its not the answer you want.

Alex Watts :

If this answers your question could I invite you leave feedback on my service which I hope has been excellent today, if you need more information or help then please click reply.


Please remember that I am always happy to help if you have future questions, even if I am in Court I can normally respond within a few hours. For future information, please start them with ‘For Alex W’.


 


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Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10915
Experience: Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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