This week, Phil Lynes from Student Finance Wales gives the lowdown on how you can get help from Welsh Government with support for living and tuition fees, meaning you can focus on studying, not making ends meet.
If you’re thinking about your next steps and are considering going to university, it’s worth knowing that there is financial support available to cover your living costs.
All eligible Welsh students starting an undergraduate course can apply for support to cover their living costs – so rent, bills and spending money – while they study. The support on offer is a mixture of grants and loans that reach the equivalent to the National Living Wage.
This means you can focus on your studies and spend less time worrying about whether you have enough money to live on.
For students with relatively low household income, most of the financial support for living costs will be a grant which does not have to be paid back.
Who is eligible?
First time undergraduates (full and part-time) starting a course 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. All students from Wales can apply, no matter where they plan to study in the UK.
How much will I get?
The minimum grant you will 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 £11,250 a year towards your living costs if you live away from home and study in London, and £9,000 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.
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 £25,000. 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.
How do I apply?
Students who a starting a course in 2018/19 can apply now. Further information for students starting a course in 2019/20 will be available later in the year.
Applying for student finance is simple and is done directly through the Student Finance Wales website www.studentfinancewales.co.uk. The online application system for students applying for 2018/19 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 will be able to apply in early summer.
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.
Remember you can apply for grants and loans to help with your living costs and a loan to cover your tuition fees upfront.