University students across the UK need to get a shift on if they want to guarantee getting their loans in time for the start of the September 2016 term.
Confusingly, funding deadlines vary for new and returning students from England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland – so the key thing to bear in mind is where you live when not at uni (not where you're going to study).
If you apply in time, you should ensure you get your loan by the start of the September term (barring problems, which sadly do happen).
Deadlines for new students from Wales and Northern Ireland have already passed. This doesn't stop them applying for funding, however, though it does mean there's no guarantee they'll receive their loan money in time for the start of term.
If you're a student and want to work out how much you can get in funding, as well as how repaying your student loan works, we have all the details in Student Loans Mythbusting.
What are the deadlines for students from each part of the UK?
For the 2016/2017 academic year, if you want to get your funding by a September 2016 course start date, you need to apply by:
England: For new students (so 2016/2017 is your first year) it's Friday 27 May and for returning students (so this isn't your first year) it's Friday 24 June. Apply via Student Finance England.
Wales: For new students it was 13 May and for returning students it's Friday 10 June. Apply via Student Finance Wales.
Northern Ireland: For new students it was 15 April and for returning students it's Thursday 30 June. Apply via Student Finance Northern Ireland.
Scotland: Applications opened mid-April for all students. To get your funding guaranteed in time for term's start you must apply by Thursday 30 June. Apply via Student Awards Agency Scotland.
What if I missed the deadline to apply?
In England, Wales and Northern Ireland you can apply up to nine months after your course start date for funding. So if you miss the deadlines above you can still get your funding, there's just no guarantee of getting it by September.
This applies too if you're already on a course and haven't yet applied for funding – for example, if your course didn't start until November 2015 then you still have until August 2016 to get your funding application in.
In Scotland you can apply up to 31 March 2017 and your claim will be backdated.
What do I need to apply?
You don't need a confirmed place on a uni course to apply for a loan – you can use your first-choice course and update it later if needed. New students should have their national insurance number and passport to hand when they start the application.
Students will also be asked to provide bank details – it's important to enter the correct bank details to make sure the funding is paid in to the right account.
Returning students continuing their courses should ensure they update any change of circumstances in the last year before submitting their applications.
According to the Student Loans Company it can take up to six weeks to process a funding application, so students should apply as early as possible.