Pupils in England are being urged to apply for student finance within the next three weeks if they intend to go to university this year.
Many new students will not have a place confirmed on a course yet, as A level results are not due until 13 August.
But they must still get their application in before 22 May to ensure finances are in place for the new academic year, the Student Loans Company (SLC) have warned.
The organisation, which manages a loan book of £136bn ($169bn), has remained open to students during the COVID-19 pandemic.
This week it will be contacting returning students to remind them to reapply for their next year’s student finance before 19 June.
Students wishing to go to university for the first time in the autumn, can apply for finance by using their first choice of course and updating their application later if necessary.
“We recognise that students will have much to consider at the moment. However, for those going to university this autumn, it is important that they make applying for student finance a priority," said Derek Ross, SLC’s executive director of operations.
“SLC has worked hard to ensure the continuity of the application service throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and the message is still that students should get their applications in ASAP to ensure that their student finance is in place for the new academic year.”
New and existing students can apply for their loans online. Last year SLC paid out £8.6bn in loans and grants to new and existing students on behalf of the UK Government and the Devolved Administrations of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Universities across the UK face an uncertain future as coronavirus threatens to sharply cut overseas student numbers and cause more applicants to defer for a year.