Pioneering private student finance
Brian Norton, co-founder and CEO of Future Finance tells UB how his company is helping students to finance their future
âœ¥How accessible are your products to students and how have you adapted your products in recent years to meet demand?
Future Finance specialises in making simple, competitive and affordable loans to students which are tailored to their needs (Representative 12.3% APR (variable)). Any under- or postgraduate student in the UK is able to apply to Future Finance, our lending decisions are based on personal circumstances, and – critically – we never compete with the Student Loans Company (SLC). Our loans are for students who need help to bridge funding gaps between loans from the SLC and bursaries on the one hand, and tuition fees and living costs on the other.
Students often find it difficult to access loans from banks, which in the absence of working history and credit history tend to deny student applicants. Future Finance’s specialised loans, on the other hand, can offer students up to £40,000 for tuition and living costs with a 10-year payback term following graduation, with no early repayment charges.
Since we began operating in May 2014, we have received over 11,000 applications for loans from students at every single university in the country. Students everywhere can use a helping hand, and many consider our product a great option.
âœ¥How is the student loan market changing with successive government policies and an election on the horizon?
While the decision by the UK government to extend the national student loans facility to postgraduate students is a step in the right direction, we believe there will still be many students who will face a significant funding gap when both tuition fees and living expenses are taken into account.
A recent survey by Future Finance and Censuswide polling 1,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students across the UK showed that 28% harboured serious concerns about being unable to complete their university course because of the rising costs of living and tuition fees.
At the same time, a UK university education remains very valuable. Because of these influencing factors, and regardless of the outcome of the forthcoming election, we believe that demand for affordable and tailored student loans will continue to increase.
âœ¥How do you work closely with universities and how would you like to grow these relationships in the future?
Future Finance has partnered with a number of universities to expand awareness of our student-friendly loans. University partnerships enable us to disburse funds for tuition fees directly to universities much more effectively. Partnerships are also exciting to us for one simple reason: if we can reach students through their university, we can pass on the money we save in marketing costs to the students. Students who find us through their universities make significant savings in fees compared to students who find us through our traditional marketing.
Furthermore, as part of our commitment to students, we are proud to offer merit and need-based scholarships to students at our partner universities. These funds are awarded at the discretion of the university and can be structured as single, large scholarships or small awards to a number of deserving students.
âœ¥Do you offer other advice apart from student loans (budgeting etc.)?
Future Finance loans should not be seen as an alternative to loans from the Student Loans Company (SLC). We always advise students to apply for an SLC loan before taking out a loan with Future Finance. The structure of our loans encourages students to manage their money in a responsible way. For example, we often disperse loan payments over several months rather than giving students a lump sum. In addition, students make small monthly maintenance payments while at university, which teaches responsibility and also enables them to build up a credit score.
âœ¥What is the future plan for Future Finance?
Future Finance is founded on the idea that no qualified student pursuing a productive education should ever be denied that education for financial reasons, and our future plans centre around achieving that mission. We will continue to expand educational access for students who need support, be they undergraduates or postgraduates, UK or international citizens, future nurses, future computer scientists, future bankers, and everything in-between.