Student Loans Company has been sending out mixed messages to estranged students
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TNS have received information to suggest that The Student Loans Company is contradicting itself with regards to the funding of estranged students. Evidence sent to us shows that the loans company trawled through recipients' Facebook pages to find communication between estranged students and their parents. A crop of 150 students were selected to be investigated by the company's anti-fraud department. Students were given a 28-day period to send evidence to prove their estrangement. If they failed to do so, the last instalment of their maintenance and fee loans, due in the run-up to examinations, would be suspended. Regardless of student responses, many individual investigations had not been concluded by the time the third instalments were due in April. Minutes from an SLC meeting seen by the Guardian said 81 students had funding withheld - this number decreased as the investigation progressed. However, the SLC claim that they withheld funding from 34 students who have not responded to their requests, two who withdrew their applications and one for fraud. Five other students will only be receiving non-means tested loans. In a statement to The Guardian, the SLC said the 34 students will have all their loans 'withheld.' 'There are currently 34 students who have not yet responded to our requests for information and, as a result, we have withheld the third instalment of their maintenance and fee loans.' Despite learning only a handful of students were guilty of fraud, the SLC initially suspended funding from more than half of the 150 students.
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