Tuition fee loans and financial support – if you come from Wales

This is an outline of what is available for full-time undergraduates from Wales for 2018–19 entry. Check to find the exact dates, cost of fees and financial support available on university and student funding websites.

Note: 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. Please see our information on eligibility for details.

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University tuition fees Tuition fee loans • Funding your living costs
Extra funding  Studying abroad or on placement • Repaying your loan

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University tuition fees

Universities in Wales can charge up to £9,000 a year for undergraduate tuition. The maximum universities in England, Northern Ireland and Scotland can charge is £9,250 a year. You will not have to pay for this up front.

Tuition fee loans

You can apply online to Student Finance Wales for a tuition fee loan of up to £9,250 to cover your tuition fees. The loan is non-means-tested, so it won't depend on your household income. You will have to eventually pay it back.

There is a deadline for applications to Student Finance Wales. This is to ensure your university has been paid by the time you begin your course. The loan is paid straight to your university.

Funding your living costs

For 2018–19 entry, full-time students can receive both the Welsh Government Learning Grant and a maintenance loan. These combine to make up the amounts below, depending on where you live for your course and your household income.

Household income:

£18,370 or under

£59,200 or above

Where you study

You could receive

If you live at home

(£6,885 grant and £765 loan)

(£1,000 grant and £6,650 loan)

Or you live and study in London

(£10,124 grant and £1,126 loan)

(£1,000 grant and £10,250 loan)

Or live away from home and study outside of London

(£8,100 grant and £900 loan)

(£1,000 grant and £8,000 loan)

Welsh Government Learning Grant

This is one of the two elements for your living cost support, along with the maintenance loan. You can apply online to Student Finance Wales for this means-tested grant, which does not need to be paid back. 

The amount you get will depend on your household income and where you live during term-time. The table above shows the maximum amounts available if your household income is £18,370 or less. As household income increases, the grant amount reduces, down to £1,000 for students whose household income is £59,200 or more.

Maintenance loan

The maintenance loan complements the Welsh Government Learning Grant. You will have to pay this back in due course.

The maintenance loan 'tops up' your grant, to the maximum value shown in bold in the table above. If you do not provide your household income, you will only be entitled to basic support.

Receiving your loan

Both the grant and loan are paid into your bank account at the start of each term, once you’ve registered on your course.

If you want to receive finance in time for the start of your course, you usually need to apply to Student Finance Wales by late spring. 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.

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 be eligible for 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 does not have to be paid back unless your circumstances change and this results in an overpayment, or you leave your course. The Special Support Grant may be topped up by the Welsh Government Learning Grant (WGLG) to the amount you are eligible to receive for your household income. Unlike the WGLG, the Special Support Grant will not reduce the amount of maintenance loan you can apply for. 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 is also extra support available if you meet certain criteria, for instance if you are disabled. Read more about what other financial support is available.

Studying abroad or on a placement

If you are starting on a UK course in 2018 and wish to study abroad for part of your course – for anything between one term and one year – you should be eligible for living cost support. Depending on your household income, you could get up to £9,000 (the rate for living away from home) made up of the above maintenance loan and Welsh Government Learning Grant.

If you wish to study a complete degree at an overseas university, you will not be eligible for financial support from Student Finance Wales.

Travel grants may be available for full-time students, although you will need to pay part of the costs yourself (from £303 to £1,000, depending on household income). These can be used for study abroad or if you are on a clinical placement in the UK.

Unpaid placements should not affect your eligibility for living cost support. Students with a paid sandwich-course placement, or those eligible for health service funding in Scotland or Wales will get reduced funding. 

Tuition fee rates for studying abroad, on an Erasmus+ scheme, or while on placement, can be complex. You are likely to be charged a reduced tuition fee by your university – which varies, depending on where it is in the UK – and be eligible for a reduced tuition fee loan.

Repaying your loan

Loan repayments begin from the April after you have left university. You will also need to be earning over a certain amount. See our page on loan repayments.