New financial support for eligible full and part-time undergraduates and postgraduates
All you need to know about the new student finance package
All eligible Welsh undergraduates starting a university course from September 2018 will receive support for living costs, made up of a mixture of grants and loans. Most will receive support equivalent to the National Living Wage. For students with a relatively low household income, most of the available support for living costs will be a grant, which does not have to be paid back.
From August 2019, eligible postgraduate master’s students could receive a similar package of support to undergraduates.
This will mean you can focus on your studies and spend less time worrying about making ends meet.
Who is eligible?
First time undergraduates (full and part-time) starting a course from September 2018 could be eligible. Students aged over 60 may be eligible for a fee loan and a grant for study/living costs, but won’t be eligible for a maintenance loan.
First time postgraduates (full and part-time) starting a master’s course from August 2019 could be eligible.
All students from Wales can apply, no matter where they plan to study in the UK.
How much could I get?
The minimum grant you could get is £1,000, which you do not have to pay back.
If you’re studying full-time as an undergraduate, through a mixture of grants and loans, you could be eligible for up to £11,530 a year towards your living costs if you live away from home and study in London, and up to £9,225 per year in the rest of the UK. Part-time undergraduates will receive similar support, on a pro-rata basis based on course intensity and household income.
Grants will be means-tested to support those who need them most. If you are from a lower income household, you will receive the highest grant. You can take out a maintenance loan to top up what you get. The maximum loan amount will depend on how much grant you receive.
If you are studying full-time you could also get up to £1,500 towards reducing your maintenance loan when you make the first loan repayment under the Welsh Government partial cancellation scheme.
If you’re studying a postgraduate master’s course and are eligible, the total support available is £17,000. Depending on your household income, this could be made up of a grant of up to £6,885, with the balance of support provided through a loan.
What about tuition fees?
Most students won’t have to pay anything upfront for their course. Full and part-time students can apply for a separate loan to cover tuition fees. Tuition fees are set by the university or college. In Wales, tuition fees have been capped at £9,000 per year but in other parts of the UK you could be charged up to £9,250 per year for a full-time undergraduate course.
Student Finance Wales provides a loan to cover your tuition fees, which you will have to repay once you start earning over £25,725. Loans to cover tuition fees are not means-tested. You’ll be charged interest on your Tuition Fee Loan from the first day the money is paid to your university or college, until the loan is repaid in full or cancelled.
What if I'm an undergraduate who started a course before September 2018 or a master's student who started a course before August 2019?
The new student finance support package applies to first time undergraduates starting a university course from September 2018 and postgraduates who are starting a master’s course from August 2019. If you started your course before these dates, you will carry on receiving support within your existing package.
What about postgraduate masters and doctoral students?
Currently you can apply for a postgraduate masters loan of £13,000, wherever you decide to study in the UK. As an interim measure the Welsh Government also provides universities in Wales with additional funding for postgraduate masters students who choose to study in Wales, equating to around £4,000 per student.
From August 2019, postgraduate master's students will receive a similar package of support to undergraduates. The support will be made up of a mixture of grants and loans as a contribution to costs, rather than allocated specifically to fees and maintenance.
If you’re starting a full-time or part-time postgraduate doctoral course (such as a PhD) from 1 August 2018, you can apply for a Postgraduate Doctoral Loan of up to £25,000. This can help with course fees and living costs while you study. Support for doctoral loans will increase in value from £25,000 to £25,700 in the 2019/20 academic year.
When and how do I apply?
Applying for student finance is done directly through the Student Finance Wales website.
The online application system for full-time undergraduate students applying for 2018/19 and 2019/20 is now live. The application system for full-time students starting their course in 2019/20 will be open in the spring. Part-time and postgraduate students starting a course in the 2019/20 academic year will be able to apply in early summer.
Remember you can apply for grants and loans to help with your living costs and a loan to cover your tuition fees upfront.
Student Finance Wales is a service delivered by the Student Loans Company. It provides student finance on behalf of the Welsh Government to students from Wales entering higher education in the UK.
Why has the Welsh Government offered this support?
The latest National Income and Expenditure Survey shows that more than one third of Welsh-domiciled students have overdrafts, nearly one fifth have commercial credit, and one tenth are in arrears.
The Welsh Government recognises that money worries are a growing problem for students so we have introduced a new student finance system which means that money does not have to stand in the way.
By supporting living costs, it means that you don’t have to work long hours to earn money to cover living expenses, giving you more time to concentrate on your studies.
Wales is the first country in Europe to introduce comparable living cost support across full-time and part-time undergraduate study.