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Financing your studies

University tuition fees and financial support in Wales

A guide to the university tuition fees and funding available for students from Wales.

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  1. Tuition fee loans and financial support

  2. Funding your living costs

  3. Extra funding

  4. Studying abroad or on a placement

  5. Repaying your loan

Tuition fee loans and financial support

This is an outline of what's available for full-time undergraduates from Wales for 2020–21 entry. Check to find the exact dates, cost of fees and financial support available on university and student funding websites.

To be classed as a Welsh student, you normally need to have lived in Wales for the three years before the start of your course. See our information on eligibility for more details.

University tuition fees 

Universities in Wales can charge you up to £9,000 a year for undergraduate tuition. Universities in England, Northern Ireland and Scotland can charge up to £9,250 a year. If you’re taking an accelerated degree in England (which is completed in less time than a normal degree) fees can be up to £11,100 per year. You don't have to pay these fees upfront.

Tuition fee loans 

You can apply online to Student Finance Wales for a loan of up to £9,250 to cover your tuition fees. If you're attending a private university, you can get a loan of £6,615. There's currently no additional support if you’re taking an accelerated degree. The loan is non-means-tested, so your household income doesn’t make a difference to the amount you’re entitled to. You'll eventually have to pay it back.

The loan is paid by Student Finance Wales straight to your university. There's a deadline for loan applications to ensure your university receives the fees before you begin your course, usually in late spring. You can still apply after this time but funding may be delayed.

Funding your living costs

Living cost support for full-time students comes from both the Welsh Government Learning Grant and a maintenance loan. This gives you a combined total of £8,335–£12,260, depending on where you live during term time. Wales currently has the most generous package of support in the UK, and doesn't expect any contributions from parents.

The amount of Welsh Government Learning Grant you get depends on your household income. Between the lower and upper household incomes shown below, the proportion of grant decreases while the loan increases. However, while the maintenance loan needs to be repaid, the grant doesn't.

If you don’t give details of your household income you’ll only be entitled to basic support, assessed as though your income were £59,200 or more. All eligible students can get a minimum £1,000 Welsh Government Learning Grant and maximum loan amount.

Household income £18,370 or under Up to £59,200 or above
If you live at home £8,335
(£6,885 grant and £1,450 loan)
(£1,000 grant and £7,335 loan)
If you live away from home and study in London £12,260
(£10,124 grant and £2,136 loan)
(£1,000 grant and £11,260 loan)
If you live away from home and study outside of London £9,810
(£8,100 grant and £1,710 loan)
(£1,000 grant and £8,810 loan)

What if your course is longer than 30 weeks?

You can get an additional loan. In Wales, the fixed rate of loan per week is:

  • £86 – if you’re living with your parents
  • £167 – if you’re living in London
  • £131 – if you’re living outside of London
  • £131 – if you’re studying overseas

Applying for living cost support

If you want to get finance to support your living costs in time for the start of your course, you need to apply to Student Finance Wales by late spring (usually a date in May). This is to guarantee funds are in place for the beginning of the academic year. The latest you can apply is nine months after the first day of the beginning of your course.

Your local authority student finance office will assess your eligibility for support. The Student Loans Company (SLC) will handle the payments. Both the grant and loan are paid into your bank account at the start of each term once you’ve registered on your course.

You may also be able to get a partial cancellation of up to £1,500 on your maintenance loan. If you meet the criteria, the changes will occur to your balance when you begin repaying.

Extra funding

Eligible students may get a Special Support Grant of up to £5,161 per year. This is based on other criteria, such as being a lone parent, deaf, or over 60 years old. It doesn't have to be paid back unless your circumstances change and you're overpaid, or you leave your course.

The Special Support Grant may be topped up by the Welsh Government Learning Grant (WGLG) to the amount you’re eligible to receive for your household income. Unlike the WGLG, the Special Support Grant won't reduce the amount of maintenance loan you can apply for – however if you're over 60 when you start your course, you won't be able to apply for the loan. The grant is paid directly to you, like the maintenance loan.

You may be able to get a bursary, scholarship or award from your university. There's also extra support available if you meet certain criteria, for instance, if you’re disabled.

Studying abroad or on a placement

If you wish to study abroad for part of your course for anything between one term and a year, you should be eligible for living cost support. Depending on household income, you can get up to £9,810 (the rate for living away from home) made up of the maintenance loan and Welsh Government Learning Grant.

If you study a complete degree at an overseas university, you won’t be eligible for financial support from Student Finance Wales.

Unpaid placements shouldn't affect your eligibility for living cost support. If you have a paid sandwich-course placement, or are eligible for health service funding in Scotland or Wales, you’ll get reduced funding.

Repaying your loan

Loan repayments begin the April after you leave university. You’ll also need to be earning over a certain amount.

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