I decided to completely ignore the Scottish terms and conditions, and start again from google. I eventually managed to find a copy of the form I will be expected to fill in, and it turns out OH and I both have to fill in forms.
So I look down the form and I discover that I have to provide "evidence of marital status". What? I'm not married, and call me stupid, but I never have worked out how to prove a negative. The form talks about divorce papers and solicitor's letters, so I phoned up to ask how I'm supposed to prove I have never married. The guy was no help whatsoever.
First he told me that the form had to be filled in separately by every adult in the household who was working full-time (what, even the lodger who fortunately I don't have?). Then he told me that the form had to be filled in by each of the student's parents. (The form says step-parents as well, which must get extremely complicated for some people). When I pointed out that he'd just told me two completely different things in as many sentences he said he was sorry, he'd just got his words mixed up.
He said that as far as he could see it would have to be a solicitor's letter. When I said, "So I'm supposed to pick a solicitor out of the phone book, walk into their office and ask them to write a letter to Student Finance England confirming that I've never married? How are they supposed to know?" At that point he started waffling about how without an application it wasn't possible to go through all the possibilities because "obviously" they get a million applications every year and there are lots of different circumstances. Well, that wasn't obvious to me at all, nor do I care. And the other thing that isn't obvious to me is why the hell it matters whether or not I have ever been married.
The other thing that annoyed me was that the very first thing on the phone menu was a notice that they will not discuss a student's application with the parents unless they have the student's written consent so to do. Personally, I think that's entirely the wrong way round. My OH has every right, in my opinion, for his children not to know his income, but it has to be put openly on the student's form. Conversely, I honestly can't think of one single piece of information that my son might be putting on his form that he'd have any reason to keep secret. For example, he won't be getting any parental top-ups if he wants to keep his bank details secret from us.
Just thought: OH is divorced. If I have to prove that I have never married, doesn't he have to prove that he has never married since his divorce? If not, they're asking me to prove what my marital status is right now, but only asking him to prove what his status was twenty years ago. It just doesn't make sense.
This is all getting a bit worrying, particularly seeing that the forums I keep finding via google are full of students panicking in October and November 2012 that Student Finance England hasn't sent them their money and that their uni and their landlord are getting nasty about it.