- Student Finance Wales

Student Work Book
Contents/How much do you know?
Part 1: Student Finance 2014/15
What is Student Finance Wales?
What finance is available?
Part 2: Applications and Beyond
How and when to apply
Managing your money
How do you repay a student loan?
You can use the information and activities in this guide to find out more
about student finance.
But before you start, complete the questions below to see what you
already know about student finance then come back and review your
answers to see how well you did.
Which of these are available from Student Finance Wales?
a) Sponsorship and scholarships
b) Loans and grants to help with tuition fees and living costs
c) Bus tickets and a box of chocolates
When should you apply for your student finance?
a) After you have started your course
b) When you have a confirmed offer from a university or college
c) As soon as possible
What will your student loan repayments be based on?
a) Your future income
b) How much you have borrowed
c) Neither, you just pay a fixed amount regardless
How much do you need to earn before you start to repay?
a) £16,000 a year
b) £21,000 a year
c) Doesn’t matter, repayments will be taken whatever you earn
What is Student Finance Wales?
Student Finance Wales is a service provided by the Student Loans Company.
We provide financial support on behalf of the Welsh Government to students from
Wales entering higher education in the UK.
We’re here to help and can offer you financial support when you need it most — during your
Depending on your circumstances, your course and where you study, you may be able to get a
range of financial help and support.
You could get grants and bursaries (which you don’t have to pay back) and loans (which you do).
This includes a Fee Grant. Most students won’t have to pay any tuition fees up front.
What finance is available?
The two main costs full-time students will have while studying are tuition fees and living costs.
There’s student finance available to help you with both.
Tuition Fee Loan and Fee Grant
No eligible, new student will have to pay for tuition fees up front. You can get a Tuition Fee
Loan of up to £3,685 to cover your fees, which won’t have to be paid back until your income is
over £21,000 a year. You could also get a Fee Grant to of up to £5,315 to cover the difference
between the maximum Tuition Fee Loan available and the tuition fee charged by your university
or college.
The Tuition Fee Loan is not linked to household income levels and SLC pay this loan directly to
your university or college, so no need to worry about making the payments yourself!!
Further information on eligibility for student finance can be found online
at www.studentfinancewales.co.uk
NHS Support
If you’re planning on studying for a degree on a pre-registration health professional training
course such as a degree in nursing, midwifery, physiotherapy, speech and language therapy,
dentistry* or medicine* then you may be entitled to funding through an NHS Student Bursary**.
An NHS Bursary can help with your tuition fee and living costs and additional support is also
available from Student Finance Wales if required. For more information on NHS Bursaries,
eligibility and how/when to apply, go to www.nhsbsa.nhs.uk/Students
*From 2nd year of study for graduate entry programmes or 5th year of study for undergraduate
programmes. **Additional support may also be available to students studying a degree in
Social Work.
What finance is available?
Private universities and colleges
Some private universities and colleges also run courses which have been approved for student
finance by the government. These providers do not have an upper limit placed on the level of
tuition they can charge.
If you’re thinking of studying an approved course (specifically designated by Welsh
Government) at a private university or college you can still apply for a tuition fee loan of up to
£6,000 a year but if the tuition charge is above this you’ll need to fund the extra costs unless any
support is available.
You’ll be able to find information on courses and tuition fees at open days,
on university or college websites or on other useful websites like unistats
Living Costs
You’ll have a wide range of living costs while at university or college. This will include things you
have thought of, such as books, food and accommodation through to things you may not have
considered yet such as a TV licence or insurance.
The main types of support available from Student Finance Wales to help with these costs are
the Maintenance Loan and Welsh Government Learning Grant.
Maintenance Loan
Live with parents
Study in London and not living
with parents
Study outside of London and not
living with parents
Live and study abroad for at least
one academic term
(Part of UK course)
Up to £4,027
Up to £7,288
Up to £5,202
Up to £6,202
How much you can get depends on your household income and where you’re studying.
The Maintenance Loan has to be paid back but not until your income is over £21,000. You could
get a Welsh Government Learning Grant, and if so, we’ll reduce the amount of Maintenance
Loan you can get.
We pay your Maintenance Loan straight into your bank account, usually in three instalments,
one at the start of each term. You must be aged under 60 at the start of your course to get a
Maintenance Loan.
What finance is available?
Welsh Government Learning Grant
You could get up to £5,161 to help with living costs. This doesn’t have to be repaid. How much
you can get depends on your household income.
Household income
How much?
£18,370 or less
Maximum £5,161 grant
Between £18,371 and £50,020
Partial grant, depending on household
More than £50,020
No grant
We usually pay your Welsh Government Learning Grant in three instalments; one at the start
of each term, along with any Maintenance Loan.
Special Support Grant
The Special Support Grant replaces the Welsh Government Learning Grant for some students
in certain circumstances. You could get up £5,161 depending on your household income. The
Special Support Grant won’t affect the amount of Maintenance Loan you can get. We work out
your entitlement to the Special Support Grant the same way as the Welsh Government Learning
What is household income?
Generally your parents’ income* is assessed if you’re under 25 and depend on them
financially. Your partner’s income* is assessed if you’re over 25 and living with them.
*Earned and unearned income (e.g. wages, benefits, pension or investments)
For more information on income assessments go to;
Using the calculator on www.studentfinancewales.co.uk you can get an estimate of
the student finance which may be available to you and make a note of the results:
Estimate 1
Tuition Fee
Maintenance Loan
Maintenance Grant
Estimate 2
Additional Support
Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSAs)
DSAs are available to students who have extra costs because of a disability, long-term health
condition, mental-health condition or specific learning difficulty.
DSAs don’t depend on household income and don’t have to be paid back. How much you can
get depends entirely on your circumstances and support through DSAs can go towards costs of
non-medical helpers, equipment or travel.
Childcare Grant
The Childcare Grant helps with childcare costs if you have dependent children under 15
(under 17 if the child has special educational needs) in registered or approved childcare.
Parents’ Learning Allowance
Parents’ Learning Allowance is to help with course-related costs if you have dependent
Adult Dependants’ Grant
Adult Dependants’ Grant helps students who have an adult who depends on them financially.
For more information on DSAs and dependents’ grants go to
Bursaries and scholarships
Many universities and colleges offer additional financial support through bursaries and
scholarships. These can be linked to things like household income, academic achievement,
your course or if you play a musical instrument or a sport to a high standard.
It’s important to look into what may be on offer from the universities or colleges you are applying
to. The information can be found on their own websites or on sites such as scholarship search.
Find details of bursaries or scholarships offered by two of your university
or college choices and record the information below
Amount available
How do you qualify?
When/how do you
Part 2 – Applications and Beyond
How and when to apply
You only need to make one application for us to be able to assess the Tuition Fee Loan, Welsh
Government Learning Grant, Special Support Grant, Maintenance Loan and, if applicable, any
Parents’ Learning Allowance or Adult Dependants’ Grant you can get.
If you need to apply for other support, like the Disabled Students’ Allowances, or help with
Childcare costs, tell us on your main application and we’ll send you a separate application form
for these.
Also make sure you and any parent(s) or partner supporting your application have ticked the
consent to share information boxes on the application form. By doing this we can share relevant
details with your university or college which can help in applying for many bursaries/scholarships.
Application hints & tips
Apply as soon as possible so we have time to assess your application and make sure
your student finance is ready for you at the start of your course.
Applying online at www.studentfinancewales.co.uk is the quickest and easiest way for most
students to apply and for your parents or partner to support your application.
You don’t need a confirmed offer from a university or college. Apply for your finance
using your first choice so we can start the assessment.
If your course, university/college or personal information does change before you start
you can log into your account and update your application.
As part of your application, you’ll need to supply your National Insurance number and
details of your bank account, so have these ready.
Identity evidence
We’ll need to see evidence to confirm your identity. If you hold a valid UK passport all you have
to do is provide the details on your application form with no need to send us anything else unless
we ask for it.
If you don’t hold a valid UK passport then original documentation such as a birth
certificate or non-UK passport will need to be provided
Income evidence
If you’re applying for student finance that depends on household income, your parents or partner
will need to provide information on their income. In most cases they can do this by completing
their section of the online application, providing details of their household income and National
Insurance number. We can then automatically check this with HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).
If necessary, we may then contact your parents or partner asking them to provide additional
evidence of their household income; this could include photocopies of P60s or payslips.
It’s important we get this information promptly!
Managing your money
Studying in higher education (particularly if you live away from home) can mean a lot of extra
expenses. Some will be one-off costs like a laptop or printer, some will be termly (rent and
books), monthly (mobile phone bill) or more frequent such as food, travel, nights out and
other leisure activities.
Any maintenance support you receive from SFW will usually be paid to you in three
instalments across an academic year (one each term) so you need to make it last.
When the cash lands in your account, the temptation to spend it all on things like a whole new
wardrobe, technology, gig tickets, or whatever else floats your boat will be right there
in front of you, but do remember to be sensible with your money so you are not flat broke a
month into term and struggling to pay the bills and buy your books or food!
To avoid getting into a mess, it’s definitely worth planning some kind of budget based on what
you expect to receive from Student Finance Wales, any bursaries/scholarships and any other
source of regular income (job, family etc) and putting these up against the costs you will be
We’re not all finance or accountancy students so it doesn’t have to be an in depth balance sheet
but getting an idea of the basics will help and a lot of the information can be found online or by
asking staff at your university or college.
NUS extra
Extra is a scheme offered through the National Union of Students and offers students discounts
across a wide range of shops, restaurants, websites and on leisure activities, and from £12, it is
worth checking out. www.nus.org.uk/en/nus-extra/
Student bank accounts
Many high street banks have accounts designed for students and they are keen to get your
business. Some will try and tempt you in with various freebies, but what you want to be looking
out for first is the best interest free overdraft on offer, because if you do run low on funds and
need a little extra to see you through, you don’t want to be running up any interest charges.
Be sure not to go over your agreed limits though or the charges will start and think very carefully
before even considering credit or store cards. Once you’ve decided on a bank and signed up,
do remember to update your student finance account online so we know where to pay your
Part-time or holiday jobs
Obviously getting the best degree possible will be the main use of your time in higher education,
but if you do have a couple of afternoons, evenings or weekends free then you may be able to
balance a part-time job with your studies to earn a bit of extra cash. Of course, working during
the holidays is also an option if term time is just too busy.
Most universities will have a ‘job-shop’ where vacancies will be advertised both on
and off campus, but if you already have a job with a large company see if they have a
branch local to where you will be studying you can transfer to
Managing your money – Budget sheet
Use this page to make a note of the finance you expect to get, check out some of the
expenses you will face and get an idea of how your budget will look
Income Source
How Much
How Often
Maintenance Loan
Maintenance Grant
Bursary or
Job & Family
Remember that not all of your
income will necessarily come in
at the same time. Some will be
termly, some monthly or maybe
even weekly.
How Much
How Often
Utility Bills
Phone Bills & Internet
Accommodation costs can usually
be found on university websites.
TV Licence
Travel (16-25 Railcard?)
Books & Materials
Sites like unistats and push.co.uk
are also useful for finding out what
costs might be in the town or city
you’re going to be studying in.
What you spend on other expenses will depend on your personal tastes,
some are listed below with extra spaces for your own suggestions too.
Clothes & Shoes
How Much
How Often
Music & Films
Gym & Sports
Nights out & Social
Food & Toiletries
How Much
How do you repay a student loan?
If you’ve been studying full-time while in higher education, you’ll usually ‘enter repayment’ the
April after leaving or graduating from your course.
Once you enter repayment, the amount you repay will depend on your income and not how much
you borrowed. If your income is £21,000 a year or less, you won’t have to make any repayments.
When your income is over £21,000 gross (before tax) you’ll repay 9% of income earned over this
amount. The table below shows some example repayments.
Income each year
before tax
Income from which
9% is deducted
Monthly Repayment
If your income is £30,000 a year, the amount used to work out your student
loan repayment would be £9,000 giving a monthly payment of £67
Repayment amounts will be rounded down to the nearest pound so £142.50 becomes £142 etc.
Repayment facts
If you’re employed, your employer will take your repayments directly from your salary along
with tax and National Insurance contributions.
If you stop working, your repayments will stop, only starting again when your income is
back over your threshold.
Any loan remaining 30 years after you’re due to start making repayments will be written off,
but you can make penalty free repayments at any time if you want to clear your loan earlier.
If you’re planning to travel or work abroad for more than three months after you finish or
leave your course, you’ll need to fill in an Overseas Income Assessment form so you can
make repayments.
Interest on your loan
Interest is charged from the day we make your first payment until your loan is paid off in full or
written off. The interest charged is linked to Retail Price Index (RPI) and will vary.
While you’re studying until entering repayment, interest will be added at RPI +3%, then on
entering repayment will be linked to your income. For more information on repayments and
interest go to www.studentloanrepayment.co.uk
Your Checklist
I’ve read this guide and checked out the extra information online at
I’ve used the Student Finance Calculator and have an idea of what
student finance I could get.
I know how to apply for student finance and when the deadline is.
I’ve registered online at www.studentfinancewales.co.uk and now have a
CRN (Customer Reference Number).
I’ve made a note of my CRN and the security details for my account
(password and secret answer) and will keep these safe.
I’ve found out whether I need financial details from my parents or
partner to support my application.
I’ve logged in to my student finance account and applied online before
the deadline.
My parents or partner have registered online and filled in their part of
my application before the deadline.
I’ve sent any necessary evidence or further information to SFW,
remembering to only send photocopies of financial evidence.
I’ve logged in to my online account to check the progress of my
SFW have sent me a Student Finance Entitlement letter telling me how
much I’ll get.
I’ve signed and returned the declaration form.
I’ve taken my Student Finance Entitlement letter to my university or
college and registered with them.