Kirsty Williams AM, Minister for Education

First published:
11 March 2019
Last updated:

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The Welsh Government is enhancing the support it offers for postgraduate study by students ordinarily resident in Wales.

I accepted the recommendation made by Professor Sir Ian Diamond as a result of the Review of Higher Education Funding and Student Finance Arrangements that postgraduate Master’s study should be supported by a similar finance package to that which is available for undergraduate study. Postgraduate qualifications play an increasingly important role in the economy. Improved support from the Welsh Government will encourage more people to qualify at this level, developing their skills and careers.

The support available to an individual beginning postgraduate Master’s study in the 2019/20 academic year will be (subject to regulations being made) £17,000 across the duration of the course. This will be available to both full and part-time students, a significant increase from the £13,000 available in 2018/19. Support will comprise of three elements:

  • a non-means-tested contribution to costs base grant of £1,000 available to all eligible students;
  • an additional means-tested contribution to costs grant of £5,885 available to eligible students with a household income of up to £18,370 per annum – for every £6.937 of household income per annum above this threshold, the amount of additional means-tested grant will be reduced by £1; and
  • a non-means-tested contribution to costs loan available to all eligible students – the amount of loan available will be equal to the level of total support (£17,000 in 2019/20) less the total grant (base grant plus additional grant) a student is eligible for.

The eligibility conditions will remain the same as in 2018/19 except for the addition of those with section 67 leave to enter or remain in the UK as eligible students. Further, as with support for undergraduate study, care-leavers aged under 25 years will automatically receive the maximum grant support.

This progressive package of grants and loans, including a universal base grant, will support students from all backgrounds to undertake postgraduate Master’s study. Following the introduction of the new support package for undergraduates last year, Welsh students applying for a postgraduate Master’s course will now benefit from the most generous student support package in the UK.

However, I remain concerned that I am unable to extend this package of support to individuals aged 60 and over due to restrictions imposed by Her Majesty’s Treasury. I am therefore considering how I can provide additional grant support for eligible students aged 60 and over that want to study postgraduate Master’s courses in Wales during the next academic period.

I have also noticed how successful our institutions have been in recruiting and retaining Welsh students following the provision of additional support by the Welsh Government in 2018/19. I want to build on that success. I am considering how I can provide additional support to Welsh Universities so that they can continue to incentivise the recruitment and progression of the most talented Welsh students. It is likely that this will be in line with our three national thematic sectors, as set out in the Economic Action Plan.

I will make further announcements on both these issues in due course.

Support for doctoral loans will increase in value from £25,000 to £25,700 in the 2019/20 academic year.