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Financing your studies

University tuition fees and financial support in Wales.

A guide to student finance and university tuition fees for undergraduates from Wales

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CONTENTS

  1. Undergraduate student finance in Wales

  2. Tuition fees and tuition fee loans

  3. Funding your living costs

  4. Extra funding

  5. Studying abroad or on a placement year

  6. Student finance and second degrees (ELQ)
  7. Applying for student finance in Wales

  8. Repaying your student loan

Undergraduate student finance in Wales

This is an outline of the funding available for undergraduates from Wales for 2021/22 entry. As well as tuition fee loans and maintenance finance for your living costs, you could get £1,500 knocked off your student loan repayments if you're from Wales.

To be considered as a Welsh student, you normally need to have lived in Wales for the three years before the start of your degree course. See our information on student finance eligibility, which also includes funding arrangements following Brexit.

Tuition fees and tuition fee loans

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 in advance.

You can apply online for a loan of up to £9,250 to cover your university 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.

Funding your living costs

Living cost support for full-time university students comes from the Welsh Government Learning Grant and a maintenance loan. This gives you combined funding of £8,790–£12,930, 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 grant you get depends on your household income. Between the lower and upper household incomes shown below, the amount of grant decreases and 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 undergraduates can get the minimum £1,000 grant and maximum loan amount.

Student finance in Wales for 2021/22

If you... Household income of £18,370 or under Household income of £59,200 or above
Live at home £8,790
(£6,885 grant and £1,905 loan)
£8,790
(£1,000 grant and £7,790 loan)
Live away from home and study in London £12,930
(£10,124 grant and £2,806 loan)
£12,930
(£1,000 grant and £11,930 loan)
Live elsewhere (away from home and study outside of London £10,350
(£8,100 grant and £2,250 loan)
£10,350
(£1,000 grant and £9,350 loan)

If your course is longer than 30 weeks and three days in the year, you can get an additional amount of loan. In Wales, the fixed rate of loan per week is:

  • £89 – if you’re living with your parents
  • £172 – if you’re living in London
  • £135 – if you’re living elsewhere

You won't get this if you're on a paid sandwich course placement or an NHS bursary year.

You may also be able to receive 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

You may qualify for a Special Support payment if you're a lone parent, deaf, over 60 years old, or meet a range of other criteria. This gives extra financial support to those on the lowest incomes.

There's also extra funding available if you’re disabled or need support for childcare. We've got more on this in our student finance and funding page.

You may be able to get a bursary, scholarship or award from your university. If you do, it won't count towards your household income. However, if you get other public money – like an NHS bursary, if you're on a healthcare course – it'll reduce the amount of student finance you could get.

Studying abroad or on a placement

You might study abroad or take a placement as part of your university course. If you're away for a year, your usual university tuition fees are normally reduced – though by how much varies between the UK nations. Your tuition fee loan will be reduced also. If you're at a private university, where fees might be higher, you'll need to fund the difference.

If you're studying abroad, your living cost support will be based on how long you're away, whether it's for a term or up to a year. Welsh students get the 'living elsewhere' rate for living cost support (see the table above). There's also a travel grant to help with expenses – you can learn more about this from our page on student finance and funding.

If you're on a placement as part of your university course, your financial support will depend on whether it’s paid or unpaid. Taking an ‘approved’ unpaid placement is unlikely to affect your usual student finance.

However, those on a paid sandwich course year get a 'reduced rate' maintenance loan. For 2021/22 this is £5,965 if you're living in London, £3,895 if you're living with your parents, and £4,675 if you're living elsewhere.

Student finance and second degrees (ELQ)

Normally you can only get undergraduate funding for your first university degree. However, you may get further funding if you want to study specific subjects, including:

  • Medicine
  • Dentistry
  • Veterinary Science
  • Architecture (if a March RIBA Part 2 course)
  • Social Work
  • Teacher Training courses like a PGCE

These are ‘equivalent or lower qualifications’ (ELQ) that are approved for funding. In the above cases you could still be eligible for a living cost loan. Depending on the subject, you may need to fund some or all of the tuition fees yourself. It’s worth checking with the university and Student Finance Wales whether the subject you wish to study is covered by the ELQ rule.

If you study part-time, there may be financial support for a wider range of subjects taken as a second degree, including STEM subjects and subjects studied in Welsh.

Applying for student finance in Wales

The quickest way to apply is online to Student Finance Wales. You’ll need to reapply for each year of your university course.

If you're starting a course in the autumn, it's best to get your application in by late spring to ensure your tuition fee and maintenance loan is ready in time. You can apply after this date, but your funding may be delayed. If you've not yet made your final choice of degree, you can always update the details after your application is in.

The Student Loans Company (SLC) will handle your loan payments. Your tuition fee will be paid direct to your university. Both the grant and loan are paid into your bank account at the start of each term, once you’ve registered on your degree course.

Repaying your loan

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

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