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Quick guide to student finance if you're from Wales

Welsh student? Our student finance guide will give you an outline of what you need to know, whether you're staying in Wales or heading to university elsewhere in the UK.

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A quick introduction

Student Finance Wales handle everything relating to student finance for Welsh students.

Watch this quick video intro:

Tuition fees, loans and grants

Welsh universities and colleges can charge up to £9,000 a year in tuition fees for a full-time degree course starting in 2017 – this is the most you can expect to pay.

If you’re a Welsh student studying in Wales

To pay this, you can take out a Tuition Fee Loan to cover £4,046 of your tuition fees. This is repayable. You can also apply for a Fee Grant of up to £4,954 to cover the rest (this is not repayable). Neither is income-assessed. 

You don’t have to apply for a Tuition Fee Loan. If the Fee Grant covers your tuition fee, then that’s fine. If it doesn’t and you still don’t want to take out the Tuition Fee Loan, you’ll have to find another way to pay this difference.

Both are paid directly to your university or college.

If you’re an English, Scottish or Northern Irish student studying in Wales

You’ll have to apply to the student finance body in your country for a loan to cover your tuition fees. Learn about tuition fee support for England, Scotland or Northern Ireland.

Funding for living costs 

Welsh students studying in Wales

There are several options available to you to help with living costs while studying at university (e.g. books, travel, equipment etc.):

Maintenance Loan: this depends on where you'll be during term-time and is means-tested based on your parents' or partner's earnings. This needs to be repaid and will start to accumulate interest from the day the loan arrives in your bank account, until it is repaid fully.

As a guide, the Maximum Maintenance Loan available could be:

  • Living with parents: £5,358
  • Living away from home, studying in London: £9,697
  • Living away from home, studying outside London: £6,922

Welsh Government Learning Grant: if the taxable income for your household is £50,020 or less, you can apply for this non-repayable financial support. How much you can receive will vary depending on this household income. As a rough guide, you’ll receive £5,161 for a household income of £18,370.

Special Support Grant: this is similar to the Welsh Government Learning Grant above in that it too is a non-repayable grant. However you cannot apply for both so you must choose which will help you most based on your circumstances.

Also, unlike the WGLG, the SSG will not affect how much you receive in your Maintenance Loan. The most you can receive for the SSG is £5,161. You’ll be eligible for the SSG if you meet just one of a list of qualifying criteria (e.g. you’re a single parent, you have a disability etc. – you can read more here).

English, Scottish or Northern Irish students studying in Wales

You can apply to the student finance body in your country for financial support for your living costs. Learn about living cost support for EnglandScotland or Northern Ireland.

Financial support from universities

Bursaries and scholarships: extra money you never need to pay back is also on offer directly from universities or colleges. These are awarded for lots of different reasons – from personal circumstances to academic achievement. 


Note, the below information on repayments applies to those who fall under 'Plan 2' which is for Welsh students who started studying after September 1st 2012. Read more about Plan 1 and 2 here.

You could come out of a three-year university course with up to £50,025 (plus interest) to pay back in student loans, although most will have a lower level of debt.

You'll only start paying back your student loan once you are earning over £21,000 per year. Once you are, you'll pay back 9% of your income (so it doesn't matter how much you borrowed but rather how much you are earning).

As a rough guide:

  • Earning below £21,000? You won’t have to pay back anything
  • Earning £25,000? You'll pay back roughly £360 a year or £29 a month 
  • Earning £30,000? You'll repay roughly £804 a year or £67 a month

To calculate exactly how much you'll pay back monthly:

  • Take your annual salary (before tax)
  • Minus £21,000 from it
  • Calculate 9% of that
  • Divide by 12 to see how much you'll pay back roughly per month

After 30 years, any outstanding debt you still owe will be written off, even if you didn’t pay anything during some of that time (because you weren’t working or earning below £21,000).

Student finance calculator and more help

We’ve tracked down some handy resources to refer to when you’re drilling down into the detail based on personal circumstances:


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