Tuition fee loans
If you live in Wales and are applying to a university or college in the UK you may be able to borrow money to cover the cost of your tuition fees.
There is no upper age limit to qualify for a tuition fee loan.
This money will be paid directly to the university or college.
How much can I borrow?
If you live in Wales and study at a public university or college in Wales, you can borrow up to £9,000 for each year of full-time study.
If you study in England, Scotland or Northern Ireland, you can borrow up to £9,250 if you study at a public university or college. This is because the maximum fee they can charge is slightly higher than in Wales. You can borrow up to £6,165 if you study at a private university or college.
If you study part-time, you can get a loan if you are studying the equivalent of at least 25% of full-time study.
If you are not sure if a course qualifies for student finance, check with the university or college.
Repaying your loan
Repayments start in the April after you finish your course, but only once you are earning £25,725 or more per year. The amount you repay will be 9% of the amount you earn over £25,725.
Your repayments are collected with your tax or national insurance from your salary. For example, if you earn £27,000 a year, you pay £9.56 a month.
How to find out more
Student Finance Wales has more information about tuition fee loans.
You can also find advice and tips on MoneySavingExpert.
Watch the Student Finance Wales video on repaying student loans 2019/20
Grants and loans for living costs
Support for living costs is available through a combination of grants and loans. The balance between these depends on your household income and you will receive more in grants if your income is lower. You do not need to pay back a grant unless you have been paid too much. This can happen if you leave the course early or drop out.
Grant and maintenance loan payments are made directly into your bank account at the start of each term. Your university or college needs to confirm your attendance before payments can begin.
Welsh Government Learning Grant
The Welsh Government Learning Grant (WGLG) helps with living costs, such as food and rent, while you are studying. The amount you can get depends on your household income and where you will be studying.
The higher your income, the less grant you’ll receive, but you will be able to apply for a higher rate of maintenance loan.
Special Support Grant
The Special Support Grant (SSG) helps with costs such as books, course equipment and travel, and, unlike the WGLG, will not affect the amount of Maintenance Loan you may be entitled to. The SSG does not count as income when you work out other income-related benefits or Tax Credits.
Loans to help you pay for accommodation and other living costs are known as maintenance loans.
You can get a loan for the difference between the amount of grant you receive and the total amount of support Welsh students are eligible for to help with living costs.
Repayments for maintenance loans work in the same way to tuition fee loans. Students can currently have up to £1,500 cancelled from their student loan balance by the Welsh Government when they start repaying.
How much can I get?
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Special Support Grant
The Special Support Grant (SSG) helps with costs such as books, course equipment and travel, and will not affect the amount of Maintenance Loan you may be entitled to. The SSG does not count as income when you work out other income-related benefits or Tax Credits.
How to find out more
Student Finance Wales has more information about support with living costs and eligibility for the Special Support Grant.
GOV.UK has information on repaying your maintenance loan.
Bursaries, grants and scholarships
You don’t need to pay back a bursary, grant or scholarship.
Scholarships are often given to those who do very well academically, or excel in areas like music or sport.
Bursaries and grants are usually awarded to students based on their personal circumstances. This could be having a low income or being from a background where fewer people go to uni.
You may be able to get a special bursary if you study:
Scholarships for studying in the medium of Welsh
You can apply to Y Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol for funding if you study at least 40 credits a year through the medium of Welsh.
Welsh universities and colleges may also have their own bursaries or scholarships if you study part of your course through the medium of Welsh.
How to find out more
University and college websites will have information about bursaries and scholarships they provide. They will tell you what criteria you need to meet. If you’re not sure if you’re eligible then you can contact them.
You can find links to bursary and scholarship information on our course pages.
There is extra help for students who may need it. These students include:
- Care leavers or students who are estranged from their parents
- Students who have dependent children, or who are caring for an adult
- Disabled students
- Students who have a low household income
They may also be eligible for the Special Support Grant.
A fee waiver is when a university or college pays part, and occasionally all, of a student’s tuition fee. This means you will need to borrow less money.
This is an option that might be offered to you if you’re on a low income.
Further information on the part-time fee waiver is available on HEFCW’s website.
If you are disabled or have additional needs, you may be able to get Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSA) to cover any extra study costs. This can include mental health conditions, epilepsy or dyslexia.
You will need to be assessed or to provide evidence, but there’s money available to pay for:
- specialist equipment or software
- a non-medical helper
- other things that help your studies such as travel, books, or printing.
Disabled Students’ Allowances do not depend on your household income and do not need to be paid back.
GOV.UK has more information about eligibility and maximum amounts for DSA.
Disability Rights UK has factsheets about DSA and other useful information.
Care leavers are automatically awarded the maximum maintenance grant. This includes care leavers who have a partner or who are married. They are also eligible for a maintenance loan.
Care leavers who study part-time are eligible for maintenance grant of £5,000 divided by the intensity of study (e.g. a half-time student would receive 50% of £5,000), as well as a maintenance loan.
Local authorities in Wales may also be able to provide support from the St David’s Day Fund. This can include support with equipment, books and other course costs.
You can find out about local authority support from your personal adviser, social worker or case worker. It’s best to talk to them early in the process to ensure that appropriate support is available.
There are charities and foundations that can support care leavers. Two of these are:
Propel has been set up by Become, the charity for children in care and young care leavers and has a wealth of information around financial support across the UK.
The Unite foundation works in partnership with 27 universities across the UK and offers bursaries and scholarships. You will need to apply for these and they are not guaranteed.
University or college bursaries
Universities and colleges usually have grants and bursaries for care experienced students. These may include:
- fee waivers
- fee reductions
- reduced accommodation fees
You can check what you may be entitled to with your chosen university or college.
If you are estranged from your family, your parents’ income is not taken into account for student finance. You can also sometimes get extra help from other sources.
StandAlone is a charity offering support to young people (18-25 for student finance) who become estranged from their family
Students caring for children or for an adult
You may be able to get help in the form of a grant. This does not have to be paid back and is on top of other student finance.
Students experiencing financial hardship
Your uni may give you extra money if you’re experiencing financial hardship. They will decide if you’re eligible and how much you will get. Check with your chosen uni to see if you can apply.
Your entitlement to some of these may be affected by support you already receive.
Other things to consider
Working while studying
Working while studying can help. You can work part-time while studying, as well as working during summer holidays.
If you do a degree apprenticeship, you will work alongside studying and be paid for it. Your employer will also pay your tuition fees.
Find out more about degree apprenticeships.
You may be receiving larger amounts of money than you are used to managing. It’s important to budget so that you can make it last.
You can find advice on budgeting at:
Applying for student finance
You do not need to have a confirmed place to start applying for student finance.
The deadlines given are to make sure that money is available for when you start your course. If you miss these, you can apply for funding up to nine months after you have started your course. But this will mean you will not have the money until up to six weeks after you have applied.
You will need a bank account to apply for student finance. There are a number of student bank accounts that offer a range of incentives.
For more information visit MoneySavingExpert - student bank accounts