An email came into my inbox and I stared at it with trepidation. It was a reminder to apply for my student loan for my second year at university. I remembered last year: it took ages; I couldn’t find the information and then it timed out as I was too slow. Next I thought, where did I put the record of last year’s application? What did I say? What if I am not consistent? Is any of the information here (at Uni) or is it at home? I put it off applying as long as I could but felt that if I didn’t tackle it soon, I wouldn’t get a loan. So, I set aside a whole afternoon and logged in.
But, what was this I saw? All last year’s data was already entered! All I had to do was go through each page confirming that is was correct: place of study, course, course code, address (term time) and so on. The only additional data I needed had been sent to me by the university in plenty of time – that was the annual course fee. After half an hour, the whole application was done. The only tricky part was when the form had an ambiguous question on “Did I want to apply for disability allowance?” Contrary to my instincts, the right answer was “No” as I had already applied the previous year and disability allowance is for the full 3 years and doesn’t have to be reapplied for. So, 9 out 10 for the people who designed that form, making it easier for people like me and, as a wider benefit, easier for everyone else as well.