NEARLY 2,000 Winchester students have each lost out on £400 of student loan funding due to an admin blunder.

Around 1,800 University of Winchester students found they were on average £415 light in their latest maintenance loan instalments, which were paid out by the Student Loans Company (SLC) on March 28.

University bosses said some students were overpaid in their first two instalments earlier this year and that the next instalment has been reduced to recoup the money.

But students are angry at losing vital money and the short notice of the decision.

Clare Holman-Hobbs, a 21-year-old creative writing student of Fivefields Road, Highcliffe, said: “We found out about this days ago just as our loans were about to be paid. This is a whole month’s rent I’m about to lose.

“When I signed my loan agreement it was for this amount and I have budgeted my whole year by that basis.

“I feel completely let down by the university as it is supposed to be looking out for us. We are learning how to survive in the world and this is extra stress we don’t need ahead of assessments and exams.”

George Mills, 20, a history student of Cromwell Road, said: “It’s still a bit of a shock. “We don’t know why they made this massive mistake and Student Loans have told me nothing. Someone should lose their job for this.”

Martha Woolley, 21, another history student, of Bar End Road, added: “These people are meant to be setting an example to us and helping us through life, but when something goes wrong they start blaming each other and it’s so disheartening.

“The university is talking to the loan company, landlords and banks but not to us. They are treating us like children rather than adults and not telling us anything.”

Winchester Student Union president Harry Stow was unavailable for comment.

But in a statement to students, a union spokesman said: “We are confident that the university is doing everything in its power.

“Rest assured that this issue will not be dropped by the university or your student union until the situation has been completely resolved.”

Students can apply for a maximum of £3,300 per year in maintenance loans to support rent and living costs. Tuition fee loans are not affected.

University Vice-Chancellor, Professor Joy Carter, said the university was working hard to find a solution.

She said: “To help offset this shortfall in funds, the university has agreed to reduce its forthcoming direct debit payments for students in university accommodation. Any outstanding amounts will be collected to an agreed payment plan.

“We have also contacted private landlords to inform them of the situation and request that they are sympathetic regarding rent payments.”

SLC said the mistake occurred after the university shortened its term dates, as the loans were calculated for extra weeks.

Derek Ross, SLC director of operations and customer services, said: “This was necessary because the original term dates used by SLC to calculate the loans were incorrect, and as a consequence they had been allocated more funds than they were entitled to.

“We realise that this may cause some students some financial difficulty and a thorough investigation as to why these students have needed to be reassessed is currently being completed.

“We will work with Winchester University to ensure that it does not happen again.”

He added students were not being asked to repay any funds.

SLC said it has the right to amend payments if necessary in its loan terms and conditions, but loans will be calculated on correct term times next year.