Quick guide to student finance if you're from Wales
If you’re a Welsh student off to uni, read our guide to what loans and grants are on the table, whether you're studying in Wales or elsewhere in the UK...
Whether you’re studying in Wales or further afield, Student Finance Wales handle everything relating to student finance for Welsh students.
Make sure you apply for finance early to guarantee it arrives by the start of term. While the 2019/20 deadline for new students has not been confirmed, the deadline for the past two years has been around mid-May to ensure finance arrives in time for the start of the autumn term.
Remember, you can apply for student finance up to nine months after the beginning of your course.
Not from Wales but studying at a Welsh university? Learn about financial support for tuition fees and living costs if you're from England, Scotland or Northern Ireland.
Tuition fees and loansWelsh students can be charged up to £9,000 a year in tuition fees by universities and colleges in Wales for a full-time degree course.
However, if you're a Welsh student and you choose to study in England, Northern Ireland or Scotland, the maximum fee you could pay rises to £9,250 a year.
You can take out a Tuition Fee Loan to cover your tuition fees. This is paid directly to your institution which means you don’t have to worry too much about finding the money for these upfront.
The Tuition Fee Loan isn’t income-assessed, and is only repaid once you’ve graduated and you’re earning above a certain threshold amount.
According to Student Finance Wales, if your tuition fees are more than the Tuition Fee loan available (eg you’re applying to study at a privately funded university or college), you’ll need to make up the difference. This is where you might want to seek out any bursaries or other scholarships your university offers (or those provided by companies, charities etc).
What about my living costs?There are several options available to help with living costs while at university, such as your accommodation, books, travel, or specialist course equipment (and maybe a night out here or there too). They boiled down to a Maintenance Grant and a Maintenance Loan.
The following is in accordance with the Welsh government's decision to provide Welsh students the equivalent of the National Living Wage while studying, regardless of whether they’re studying at a Welsh institution or elsewhere in the UK.
Maintenance GrantAll eligible students can claim a minimum £1,000 grant to assist with the living costs of going to university. This is regardless of household income, nor does this have to be paid back.
Students from lower income households will be eligible to receive higher grants. The maximum amount available (for students from households with an income of £18,370 or less) will be £10,124 for Welsh students studying in London and £8,100 for those studying in the rest of the UK.
These higher grants will be means-tested in order to assess how much students should receive, so they have the appropriate support. Again, this does not have to be paid back.
Maintenance LoanYou can also apply for a Maintenance Loan to top up what you receive in grants. This will need to be paid back later and is also means-tested.
Example of what you could receive
So to confirm, what you’ll receive in grants and loans will depend on:
- household income
- whether you’re living at home or not while studying
- if living away from home, whether this is in London or elsewhere in the UK
According to official statistics, the average household income in Wales is £25,000. A student from this household would receive the following, depending on their study circumstances:
- living at home: £5,930 in grant, £1,910 in loan
- living away from home, studying outside London: £6,947 in grant, £2,278 in loan
- living away from home, studying in London: £8,643 in grant, £2,887 in loan
However, you’ll always be eligible for more in maintenance support if you’re living away from home in London (£11,530), than if you were living elsewhere in the UK (£9,225) or with your parents (£7,840). The only thing that household income affects is the grant-to-loan ratio that makes up this total.
This is just a rough guide, see what you can get on the Student Finance Wales website.
- Beyond sorting out your student finance, here are six other ways to get money-ready for uni.
Extra grantsThere are a number of further, non-repayable grants available depending on individual circumstances. Part-time students should note that course intensity (ie the % of time spent studying compared with a student on an equivalent full-time course) may factor into how much they can get.
Here’s a quick rundown of what further financial assistance is on the table:
Childcare grant (CCG)What and who’s eligible? To cover cost of childcare (up to 85% of the total cost).
How much can you get? £161.50 a week maximum for one child, £274.55 max for two or more children.
Any conditions? Amount depends on household income, children and other dependants. Students who receive tax credits or grants may not qualify.
Parents’ Learning Allowance (PLA)What and who’s eligible? To help with course costs if you have dependent children.
How much can you get? £1,557 per year maximum for full-time students.
Adults Dependants’ Grant (ADG)What and who’s eligible? If you have a partner or another adult financially dependent on you.
How much can you get? £2,732 per year maximum for full-time students.
Any conditions? You can only apply for this once. The dependent adult in question must not be earning an income over £3,923.
Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSAs)What and who’s eligible? To cover any additional study-related costs you may incur because of your disability. This can include a mental health condition or specific learning difficulty too.
How much can you get? This depends on the type of support you need. For full-time students, a general allowance of £1,894 per year maximum is available. See more about what’s available depending on support.
Learn more about these grants on the Student Finance Wales website.
- Find out the best student bank accounts (as voted for by students).
Is there any other support I can get from my university?Extra money you never need to pay back is also on offer directly from universities or colleges, primarily scholarships and bursaries. These are awarded for lots of different reasons, from personal circumstances to academic achievement.
We asked students who secured extra funding for their top tips, including where they looked:
Watch now: How to find university scholarships – students’ tips
Contact your university’s student support services department (or equivalent) for more information, including how and when to apply by. If you don't meet the conditions for those they offer, expand your search to those provided by companies, charities and organisations.
36% of Welsh students we spoke to (Which? University student survey 2019) told us that they were successful in applying for a bursary or scholarship from their university or an organisation. This was slightly higher than students in England (25%).
Watch now: How to boost your student budget