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SLC trying to get nearly 4000 pounds off me in one go. help.....

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I know it might be too early to worry, but here goes.


I am a final year student (4th yr), an EU citizen, and I first applied for student finance in my second year (2007-2008). I got the full Maintenance Loan and Grant for 2008-2009. Applied again next year. Got the same support for 2009-2010. This year, when I applied, I received the first instalment of Maintenance Loan and Grant, and then, all of a sudden, my application was transferred from Birmingham LEA to the central SLC office, something called Migrant Worker Team.


After a long documents' battle, the "team" decided I was not eligible for support NEITHER this year, NOR the last year . They cancelled both of my applications (but not the 2007-8).


Now I received a letter saying I owe the SLC nearly 4000 pounds in overpaid grant (about 900 for that first installment I received this year, and 3100 for the full payment of grant I received last academic year).

The letter says that this money will be deduced from any further support I am eligible for (which is nil), or recovered at the end of my course.


I assume this "overpayment" will not be "recovered" as a loan, but in one instalment, as it is a grant. Do they have a right to cancel my application from a year ago and demand me paying the "overpayments" if it was THEIR mistake, not noticing I was " ineligible" last year? I got the confirmation and scheduling of payments, and all sorts of other correspondence... Last year, they even sent me a letter similar to one which this year led to my application being cancelled (something along the lines "please send us some documents because we need additional evidence") ; but they NEVER did anything about it, simply sent me another one confirming the payment dates!


In a few words, got the money, and after a year they decided "actually, we shouldn't have sent you this money, so give it back." I don't really know the rules surrounding that, can anyone give some advice on what my options are?

I would like to get some basic information on how to deal with this, before going to a solicitor or seeking official legal advice. I don't really know if it is necessary in this case, seeking advice from a solicitor, so I figured this forum would be a good starting point...


I guess I could snoop around and find that 900 quid they overpaid me this year, but I simply can't afford paying three thousand in one go...


Thanks in advance for any advice!

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