Tertiary Student Finance Scheme - Publicly-funded Programmes

Important Notice

Submission of Online Application through “SFAA E-link – My Applications”

Starting from 1 August 2014, all the Tertiary Student Finance Scheme – Publicly-funded Programmes (TSFS) applications must be input and submitted through “SFAA E-link – My Applications” platform (http://ess.sfaa.gov.hk). Creation/Login of MyGovHK account is required. Applicants are reminded to keep the username and password for future use.

If you have already downloaded and completed the previous version of application form [TSFS/GA(2014), TSFS/GB(2014), TSFS/SA(2014) or TSFS/SB(2014)], you should submit the completed form together with all the necessary documents to the Student Financial Assistance Agency (the Agency) in person within August 2014 and you do not have to fill in the online application form.

Application Processing

Since the implementation of the new academic structure in the 2012/13 academic year, there is a substantial increase in the number of students enrolled in programmes covered by the TSFS, as well as the total number of TSFS applications. In this regard, please make sure that your application form (for both continuing and new students) is submitted, with all information completed together with the required supporting documents and information, on or before the deadline so that your application could be processed promptly. The Agency will accord priority to those applications with complete information upon submission. In addition, should the Agency request supplementary information to help process your application, please adhere to the deadline set. Otherwise, the processing time of your application and disbursement schedule of financial assistance may be delayed.

Videos

Tertiary Student Finance Scheme (TSFS)

(1) Introduction

(2) Tertiary Student Finance Scheme (TSFS) Introduction

(3) Online Application

(4) The Importance of Providing True and Complete Information

(5) Commonly Omitted Items

(6) Payment and Repayment Arrangement

(7) Prudent Financial Management and Conclusion

(8) Consequences of Default

(9) SFAA E-Link

(10) Enquiries

Non-means-tested Loan Scheme for Full-time Tertiary Students (NLSFT)

Aim

The TSFS provides means-tested financial assistance to full-time students who are in need. It aims to ensure that no eligible student who has been offered a place in one of the institutions covered by this scheme would be unable to accept it because of lack of means. Financial assistance is provided in the form of a grant and/or loan.

Eligibility

You are registered as a full-time student and take up an exclusively University Grants Committee-funded or exclusively publicly-funded student place of a *recognised courses at one of the following institutions in the 2014/15 academic year:

(For financial assistance available at the respective institutions, please refer to the homepage of the institutions by clicking the name of the institution listed above.)

* (For details of the recognized courses, please consult your institution)

  • You have the right of abode in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (Hong Kong) or have resided or have had your home in Hong Kong continuously for three complete years prior to the commencement of the course. This does not cover students staying in Hong Kong holding student visas.

  • Your eligibility is restricted to only one eligible full-time course at any one time.

  • If you are eligible to apply for assistance under the Tertiary Student Finance Scheme – Publicly-funded Programmes in the 2014/15 academic year, you may also apply for subsidy under the Student Travel Subsidy Scheme (STS).

Level of Financial Assistance

Financial assistance is provided in the form of a grant and/or loan. The grant is to cover tuition fees, academic expenses and compulsory union fees. The loan is for living expenses and is interest-bearing at 1.0% per annum chargeable from the commencement of the repayment period.

  1. Maximum Level of Financial Assistance

    The maximum amounts for the grant and the loan for the 2014/15 academic year will be provided to the institutions in about July 2014. Applicants may check with their institutions the maximum level of assistance applicable to their course of study if they so wish.


    Grant
    The maximum grant for a student is equal to the tuition fee (not including continuation fee for postgraduate courses) payable to the concerned local institution and academic expenses for his/her course of study plus the compulsory union fees. For students attending full-year placement / industrial training, academic expenses is not normally offered unless the institutions advise that expense related to academic study is required. Such cases will be considered on individual merits.


    Loan
    The maximum loan for living expenses is the same for all students. The maximum loan is $42,520 for 2014/15 application.


  2. Calculation of Financial Assistance

    Depending on your financial circumstances, you may be eligible for a grant and/or loan. You can calculate for yourself the likely amount that you might receive by assessing your "Adjusted Family Income" Download PDF file format (24KB) (AFI) against the Ready Reckoner. The Ready Reckoner shows the percentage of the maximum financial assistance for your AFI group. The resulting amount will then be further reduced by the percentage set out against the Net Asset Value per family member as shown in the "Sliding Scale of Asset Value for Discounting Grant and Loan Assistance" Download PDF file format (25KB). If you wish to obtain a rough estimate of the amount of assistance that you could receive, you may refer to the calculator at the homepage.

Calculator for the Level of Financial Assistance

There is a calculator to enable you to obtain a rough assessment of the amount of financial assistance you might obtain from the TSFS. Please note that the Agency will normally accept the information reported based on the documentary proof provided. If documentary proofs provided are NOT substantiated (e.g. self-written statement of income or unexplained prolonged unemployment), the Agency may need to make adjustments and apply benchmark figures on the basis of statistical information provided by the relevant government departments, such as the Census and Statistics Department, the Rating and Valuation Department, and the Transport Department etc. to assess the income and/or net value of the assets held by the family member concerned. The Agency may apply projected figures in the family income in the assessment if necessary.

Application Procedures

A Workflow of Application Processing Download PDF file format  highlights the steps of application processing. Please scroll down for details.

  1. Submission of Online Application

    • Please study the Guidance Notes carefully and prepare all the required supporting documents before you complete the form. You should submit the online application through the “SFAA E-link – My Applications” on or before the application deadline. Relevant details are also stipulated in the Guidance Notes. Creation/Login of MyGovHK account is required. Applicants are reminded to keep the username and password for future use.

    • If you have already downloaded and completed the previous version of application form [TSFS/GA(2014), TSFS/GB(2014), TSFS/SA(2014) or TSFS/SB(2014)], you should submit the completed form together with all the necessary documents to the Agency in person within August 2014 and you do not have to fill in the online application form.

  2. Submission of Declaration and Supporting Documents

    • Applicants should submit the duly signed declaration (for paper signing) with photocopies of supporting documents (e.g. copies of income proof and bank accounts showing all transactions in previous financial year etc.) within 7 days from submission of online application form and follow the submission procedures. Relevant details are also stipulated in the Guidance Notes.

  3. Interview

    • If necessary, arrangements will be made for you and your father and/or mother to be interviewed by our staff at our office.

    • You will be required to bring to the interview for your examination all the originals of the following supporting documents -

      1. income proof, such as Employer's return of Remuneration and Pensions to Inland Revenue Department (I.R. 56B), Tax Demand Note, pay slips, properly signed Profit and Loss Accounts for business, etc.

      2. asset proof, such as all bank passbooks and monthly statements for savings accounts, deposit slips for time deposits, properly signed Balance Sheet for business, etc.

      3. receipts for medical expenses, and

      4. any other supporting documents as specially requested.

    • Before the interview, your father or mother will be required to make a declaration at this Agency, according to the Oaths and Declarations Ordinance (Chapter 11 of the Laws of Hong Kong), that the information given in the application is true and complete.

    Student interviewed by SFAA staff

  4. Notification of Result

    In general, for application containing complete information at the time of application, the Agency pledges to issue the notification of result to the applicants as follows -


    1. 90% to be issued within 60 days from the date of the Agency's acknowledging receipt of application; or


    2. to be issued around mid-July (when the parameters for setting the maximum grants and loans are available),


    whichever is the later.

    When the information provided is incomplete or inconsistent, the Agency will require you to -

    1. give an explanation;

    2. provide supplementary information;

    3. seek additional information from your institution (e.g. the amount of studentship / placement income for students receiving studentship or attending training / placement / internship with pay, the amount of tuition fee payable for repeaters, etc.); or

    4. attend an interview at our office.


    In these cases, the processing time will be longer than the period mentioned above as priority will then be given to handle those applications with complete information at the time of application.


  5. Non-means-tested Loan Scheme for Full-time Tertiary Students (NLSFT)

    You will be informed of the financial entitlement you are entitled under the TSFS and the NLSFT simultaneously in your TSFS notification of result. If you wish to accept the NLSFT loan offered, you should submit the completed loan documents together with the bank pay-in slip for the administrative fee paid in person or through an authorised person to the Agency on or before the deadline as stated in your TSFS Notification of Result.


    If you wish to apply for the NLSFT only, you should submit the online application form through “SFAA E-link – My Applications” (http://ess.sfaa.gov.hk). You should observe the application deadline set out in the Application Guidance Notes for NLSFT [NLSFT 111A(2014) or NLSFT 111B(2014)] which can be downloaded from the Agency's homepage (http://www.sfaa.gov.hk/eng/public/index.htm#nls).

Payment Arrangement & Loan Documents

  • The approved grant and/or loan will be paid in two equal instalments. When you complete the undertaking and deed of indemnity, you will need to state the amount of loan that you wish to accept for the whole academic year. The first instalment of grant will be credited to your bank account within 2-3 weeks from the date of issuance of the notification. If you return the undertaking and deed of indemnity by the specified deadline, the Agency will deposit the first instalment of the loan payment into your bank account within 2-3 weeks from the deadline. The documents we require are:

    1. the completed loan undertaking signed by you and attested,

    2. the completed Deed of Indemnity signed by your indemnifier and attested (if you have genuine difficulties in nominating a qualified indemnifier, you can write to the Agency to set out your circumstances and apply for relaxation of the requirement. The Agency will consider each case on its own merits),

    3. the completed indemnifier details input form,

    4. copies of the Hong Kong Identity Cards of your indemnifier, witness and your own with respective holder's signature on it, and

    5. the completed authorization form if you authorize another person to hand in the above documents on your behalf. You can make use of the form printed on the last page of the 'Notice of Offer'.

  • Before you apply for loans, you should consider carefully about your need and repayment ability. Please read the tips on early financial planning.
  • When you hand in the documents to the Agency, please also bring with you the Notification of Result of your application.
  • The second instalment of the grant and loan will be made in December 2014 or January 2015. After February 2015, depending on the issuance date of notification and the date of submitting the undertaking and deed of indemnity, the financial assistance may be credited to your designated bank account in one single instalment.

Review Mechanism

If you have sufficient grounds/justification for adjusting the amount of financial assistance offered to you, you may apply to this Agency for a review of the level of financial assistance within three weeks from the date of notification of result. Each applicant may only request for a review once for each academic year. The completed "Application for Review Form", together with detailed justifications and relevant supporting documents, should be submitted to the Appeal Section of the TSFS of this Agency. The form could be obtained from the webpage of the Agency (http://www.sfaa.gov.hk/eng/public/index.htm#tsfs).

If after the submission of your 2014/15 Tertiary Student Finance Scheme – Publicly-funded Programmes application, there is a substantial change to the family and financial circumstances, which you consider may significantly affect the support you may obtain from your family, you may seek for a review of the amount of assistance you have already obtained within the following deadline :

  1. Within three weeks from the date of issue of the notification of result;
  2. On or before 31.3.2015.

whichever is the later

You will be notified of the review result within 10 weeks from the date of the Agency's acknowledging receipt of the application for review. However, the processing time of your application will be longer if the information provided is incomplete and the Agency requires you to give an explanation or provided supplementary information; or referral to the Review Sub-Committee (RSC) for final decision is required due to special family circumstances. Members of the RSC include representatives from student unions and their institutions covered by the TSFS.

You may choose to accept the original financial assistance offered first while waiting for the result of your application for review. However, should there be grounds to demonstrate that the amount of assistance provided in the original assessment was higher than your actual entitlement, you may be required to refund the overpaid amount upon demand.

Loan Repayment

  • Loan recipient is required to repay the TSFS loan, which shall normally commence on 1 December of the year of your graduation or when the course has officially ended, until it is repaid in full. The first instalment of loan repayment will normally fall due on 1 January or 1 July of the following year of your graduation. If you have not received the notice of commencement of repayment or demand of repayment within 6 months after your graduation or the course has officially ended, you should notify the Agency in writing immediately.

  • The loan borrowed and the interest accrued thereon are repayable in 15 years (‘Repayment Period’) by 180 equal monthly instalments, or in a shorter Repayment Period by equal monthly instalments as agreed by the Agency. Whereas if as determined appropriate by the Agency, the loan borrowed and the interest accrued thereon are repayable within the Repayment Period by equal quarterly instalments.

  • Non-receipt of demand notes for repayment does not exempt a loan recipient from the obligation to repay the instalment due on or before the due date; if the repayment is not made after the instalment becomes due, you will be required to repay with the Government the overdue amount together with a surcharge at the rate of 5%.

  • Default in loan repayment may give cause for legal proceedings against you / your indemnifier(s) by the Government for the recovery of the outstanding loan(s) and interest plus surcharge and any recovery costs incurred by the Government.

  • To request for lump sum/partial repayment of loan borrowed under the TSFS, you may either come in-person or appoint your representative with your signed authorization letter to the Agency during office hours (Monday to Friday 8:45 a.m. - 1:00p.m. & 2:00p.m. - 5:45p.m.); or send in your lump sum/partial repayment request in writing, by post, fax, e-mail or “SFAA E-link”. Please refer to "Early Partial / Lump Sum Repayment of Loan Under Tertiary Student Finance Scheme - Publicly-funded Programmes (TSFS)" (SFAA 185)Download PDF file format (41KB) for terms and conditions for requesting lump sum/partial repayment of loan borrowed under the TSFS.


    Please note that all applications for lump sum/partial repayment must be made in-person or submitted in written form. No telephone request would be entertained.

  • To request for restructuring repayment period (within the period of 15 years) of loan borrowed under the TSFS, you may either come in-person or appoint your representative with your signed authorization letter to the Agency during office hours (Monday to Friday 8:45 a.m. – 1:00p.m. & 2:00p.m. – 5:45p.m.); or send in your request for restructuring repayment period in writing, by post, fax or e-mail. Please refer to “Restructuring Repayment Period of Loan under Tertiary Student Finance Scheme – Publicly-funded Programmes (TSFS)” (SFAA 278_E) for terms and conditions for requesting restructuring repayment period of loan borrowed under the TSFS.


    Please note that all applications for restructuring repayment period must be made in-person or submitted in written form. No telephone request would be entertained.


    Please click hereDownload PDF file format (26KB) to obtain a copy of “Restructuring Repayment Period of Loan under Tertiary Student Finance Scheme – Publicly-funded Programmes (TSFS)” (SFAA 278_E).


  • You can repay your loan(s) by using different repayment methods.

  • Please read the Agency’s pamphlet on “Learn to Manage Money Before it Manages You”.

Electronic Repayment Notification and Demand Note

For environmental friendly reason and to avoid possible non-receipt of postal repayment notifications and demand notes, monthly repayment notifications and demand notes would be issued by electronic means through “MyGovHK” and “SFAA E-link”. You are required to register with “MyGovHK” and with “SFAA E-link” electronic demand note service. In case you have other loan accounts under different schemes administered by the Agency, this arrangement will be applicable to all of these loan accounts. Request for receiving repayment notifications and demand notes by other means will not be accepted.

Difficulties in Loan Repayment and Default

  1. Deferment of Repayment

    • Students may apply for deferment of loan repayment if they have difficulties in repaying the loans due to further studies on full-time courses, financial hardship or serious illness. Applications for deferment of loan repayment will be considered on its merits and should be submitted in writing to the Agency before the due date(s) of the instalment(s) under application. Application forms can be downloaded from the Agency's webpage at http://www.sfaa.gov.hk/eng/public/index.htm#tsfs and are available at the Agency and your institution.

  2. Consequences of Default

    • Loan borrowers who have failed to repay two or more consecutive quarterly instalments / six or more consecutive monthly instalments without the Agency’s approval for deferment of loan repayment are considered as defaulters.

    • Failure to repay loan instalments by the due dates will result in extra payment of surcharge (for loans under TSFS and FASP)/overdue interest (for non-means-tested loans).

    • The Agency reserves the right to withhold the disbursement of new student financial assistance/loans to defaulters.

    • The Agency will issue reminders to the defaulter and his/her indemnifier(s) requesting them to settle the overdue loan instalments by a specified date.

    • If no payment or response is received from the defaulter and his/her indemnifier(s), the Agency may initiate legal proceedings against them for the recovery of the full amount of the outstanding loan together with interest, surcharge/administrative fee and any recovery costs (including legal costs and related expenses incurred in the course of legal recovery actions) in one lump sum without further notice.

  3. General Criteria for Writing Off the Debts

    • The Government endeavors to make every effort to recover the outstanding loans from the defaulters and their indemnifiers and will only consider writing off the loan under the following circumstances –

      1. on compassionate ground if the debtor (i.e. the student) has passed away or is permanently unfit for work on account of severe disabilityNote and his/her indemnifier(s) (where appropriate) is unable to repay the debt for the debtor;

      2. where all efforts to contact a debtor and his/her indemnifier(s) (where appropriate) have failed, and the loan proves irrecoverable; or

      3. where write-off action is advised by the Department of Justice.

      Note: Debtor should provide sufficient information to prove that he/she meets the definition of “100% disability” of the Social Welfare Department.

Change of Personal Particulars

  • If there is change in your residential address, term-time residential address, telephone number or bank account number to which the financial assistance is credited, you should notify our Agency by using the form "Notification of change of personal data" (TSF/C/18A). If there is change in your institution or course of study, or your tuition fee payable, you should notify our Agency by using the form "Notification of change of institution or course data" (TSF/C/18B).

  • If you have deferred, suspend or withdrawn from your study, you should notify this Agency immediately in writing.

  • If you have started repayment and have changed your residential address before you have fully repaid the grant/loan and interest, you should complete "Notification of Change of Correspondence Address and / or Telephone Number(s)" (SFAA 96) form.

  • You are required to notify the Agency in writing immediately of any change of address of your indemnifier(s).

  • The above forms are available at this Agency or your institution. They are also downloadable from our webpage at http://www.sfaa.gov.hk/eng/public/index.htm#tsfs.