Accessibility

This website is run by Student Loans Company Limited (“SLC”) on behalf of UK Government Digital Services. SLC is fully committed to providing a website that is accessible to the widest possible audience, regardless of technology or ability. We’re actively working to increase the accessibility and usability of our website and in doing so adhere to many of the available standards and guidelines. We want as many people as possible to be able to use this website. For example, that means you should be able to:

  • zoom in up to 300% without the text spilling off the screen
  • navigate most of the website using just a keyboard
  • navigate most of the website using speech recognition software
  • listen to most of the website using a screen reader (including the most recent versions of JAWS, NVDA and VoiceOver)

We’ve made the website text as simple as possible to understand. AbilityNet has advice on making your device easier to use if you have a disability.

What to do if you cannot access parts of this website

If you need any of our letters, forms or guides sent to you in Braille or large print, email brailleandlargefonts@slc.co.uk with:

  • your address
  • your Customer Reference Number
  • what you need changing into Braille or large print
  • for large print, include the font size and the font type you need

If there are any other parts of our website which you cannot access, please let us know by contacting us at accessibility@slc.co.uk

Contacting us by phone or visiting us in person

We provide a text relay service for people who are unable to hear or speak on the phone. Our offices have audio induction loops for those with difficulty hearing and are visiting our offices in person. Or, if you contact us before your visit, we can arrange a British Sign Language (BSL) interpreter. Find out how to contact us: www.gov.uk/government/organisations/student-loans-company

Technical information about this website’s accessibility

SLC is committed to making its websites accessible, in accordance with the Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No. 2) Accessibility Regulations 2018 (“the Accessibility Regulations”).  We’re striving to fully adhere to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines version 2.1 (“WCAG 2.1”) AA standards. We acknowledge that this website is currently only partially compliant with those standards. We’ve provided details below of current areas of non-compliance, and details of when we expect those areas to be made compliant .

Non accessible content

Non compliance with the Accessibility Regulations

Text does not have sufficient colour contrast

Adequate colour contrast is essential for people with either low vision or colour deficiencies to read content. In the main navigation the foreground/background contrast ratio is 4.22:1 . The ratio should be a minimum of 4.5:1 for both visited and unvisited styles. Visible focus is not sufficient Most elements on the page receive the default browser visual focus only a dotted line in Firefox / IE and blue in Chrome. Buttons and the secondary navigation panel do provide a subtle grey background focus state. However, neither option are good enough to provide a clear indication for a sighted keyboard user as to where they are on the page. It also means that the focus indicator is not consistent across the different browsers i.e. Chrome, IE, Firefox (see left). Sighted users who are using the keyboard to navigate through the page need a clear visual focus to show which element of the page currently has focus.

Audio description

Video content across the site does not provide audio descriptions which would benefit blind/ partially sighted users or those with cognitive difficulties who would prefer to listen to content rather than interpreting visual information on a screen. An audio description is required when information is shown on the screen, but not referred to verbally (e.g., when not included in the closed captions).

Links do not provide enough information out of context

Links such as ‘view details’ and ‘read more’ throughout the site are not descriptive enough to help users understand their destinations. Screen reader users who navigate between interactive elements hear only the text of each link. Therefore link text should be meaningful and identify the purpose without visual cues.

Accordion content is not accessible for screen reader

News article headings are laid out in accordion format. Visually it is indicated with the down arrow that this can be expanded for further content. However, without these visual cues it is not clear as these links aren’t coded as such. For screen reader users, the link text and title is read out only. This does not inform non sighted users that interacting with this link will expand/ collapse further content.

Carousel controls are not accessible

The controls at the top right hand side of the carousel allow users to navigate to other slides within their own time when using the mouse. However, these cannot be accessed using the keyboard so assistive technology users do not have access to this functionality.

Content that’s not within the scope of the Accessibility Regulations

PDFs and other documents

The Accessibility Regulations (opens in new tab ) do not require us to fix PDFs or other documents published before 23 September 2018 if they’re not essential to providing our services. Many of our older PDFs and Word documents do not meet AA accessibility standards - for example, they may not be structured so they’re accessible to a screen reader. This does not meet WCAG 2.1 success criterion 4.1.2 (name, role value). Some of our PDFs and Word documents areessential to providing our services. For example, we have PDFs with information on how users can access our services, and forms published as Word documents. By September 2020, we plan to either fix these or replace them with accessible HTML pages. Any PDFs or Word documents we publish from September 2019 will meet accessibility standards.

How we tested this website

The last test on this website was run in March 2019 . The test was carried out by User Vision.  We tested:

  • our customer account management areas, available at the following links:

Reporting accessibility problems with this website

We’re always looking to improve the accessibility of this website. If you find any problems that are not listed on this page or think we’re not meeting accessibility requirements, contact: accessibility@slc.co.uk

Enforcement procedure

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (“EHRC”) is responsible for enforcing the Accessibility Regulations. If you’re not happy with how we respond to your complaint, you can contact the Equality Advisory and Support Service (“EASS”) for advice and assistance.

If you’re based in Northern Ireland and are not happy with how we respond to your complaint, you can contact the Equalities Commission for Northern Ireland, instead of the EASS and EHRC.

This statement was prepared on the 10th of September 2019 and published on the 23rd of September 2019



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