Student Finance in Wales: Everything You Need to Know
Student finance has been a big talking point, especially in the most recent general election, in which Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party, decided to abolish the idea of student fees and Theresa May’s Conservative party decided that the university fees should be raised. Of course, we know who came out as victorious (Or no, depending on your view) however, it has certainly raised the profile of student finances. If you’re planning on studying a Politics degree, get ready for a couple of questions on the old Education sector in these parts!
In previous articles, we’ve looked at the student finance in England and we’ve also tackled student finance in Scotland, too. This time, we’re going to tackle student finance in Wales and how it affects students today, as well as answering any potential questions that you may have about student finance in Wales. So without further ado, let’s jump straight in!
How much are tuition fees in Wales?
The fee depends on whereabouts you are from and whereabouts you’re studying. For Welsh nationals and for EU students, the cost is around £3,900, however, for those for outside the UK, the fee will be closer to the fees often seen in England, which is around the £9,000 mark. Obviously, if you are studying in the EU, you need to have your European Health Insurance sorted, even if you’re travelling with the Erasmus programme.
How much will international students pay?
For international students, it’s another story entirely. The fees are different if you’re coming from outside of the EU and you’re not a part of the UK. The fees can raise as high as £13,000, and after the way that the general election in the UK went, you could see that figure rise even more, depending on the outcome.
Will I be in line for any grants, finances, scholarships or bursaries if I am an international student?
This all depends on the requirements for each given area. Many grants, scholarships or bursaries, will require you to meet certain criteria, whether that be a residency quota, an income quota or indeed a general university quota (A criteria set by the university itself, no by the government), we always recommend that students check this with their university before they apply.
Where do I get my student loan from?
In Wales, your student loan comes from Student Finance Wales. Students from the EU can also apply for a Tuition Loan from the EEA those who have refugee status can also apply, too.
Is Welsh student finance means tested?
No. Unlike other countries in the UK, the student finance in Wales is not means-tested. Which means that it is not necessarily affected by the amount of money that you have coming into the household at the time of application.
How much money will Student Finance Wales pay towards my Tuition Loan?
Student Finance Wales usually pay somewhere around the £4,000 mark towards the tuition loan. This can change depending on geographical location of the university and the like, but the overall fee won’t change too much.
Do I need to be a full-time student to receive a maintenance loan?
Yes. Student Finance Wales is unlikely to offer a maintenance loan to students that are not full-time, however, that’s not to say that they won’t make exceptions depending on circumstances, although, in those cases, you will mainly need to look into the possibility of grants, bursaries or scholarships that can help you in that moment.
When does my loan start accruing interest?
From day one! Unfortunately, the interest will go up until you have paid your final payment (Or your loan is wiped) like any other loan. Your repayment figures themselves will all depend on whereabouts you are and how much money you earn.
How are the loan rates calculated in Wales?
The interest rates for student loans in Wales is calculated using what the RPI which stands for the Retail Price Index and then add 3% on top of the RPI. Remember that the RPI changes with the rate of inflation too.
When do I start paying back my student loan?
You have to be earning over a certain threshold before you start paying your loan back! While that may sound good, it’s really more of a Catch-22, than anything else. Basically, you need to be earning £21,000-per-year, minimum, before you can start paying your student loan back. The Catch-22 is that you don’t really want to be earning less than that anyway, otherwise your degree would have all been for nothing, and you don’t want that!
What is the rate that I will pay back my student loan?
As we said above, you have to earn over a certain threshold. The percentage that you payback can change depending on the amount you earn, but for the most part, when you earn over the threshold, you will be paying back at around 9%.
If my income drops, do my loans still carry on?
Nope! The government aren’t complete savages…well, they are, but no in this context! If you lose your job or your pay is suddenly dropped for whatever reason and you fall below the £21,000 threshold, your repayments stop until you’re back over it, who said that student finance was complicated!?
What is the partial cancellation of Maintenance Loan?
This is what happens after you have made your first loan repayment on your Maintenance Loan. Once you have made your first repayment, the Welsh government will pay off £1,500 of your overall loan! Talk about a turn up for the books!
So there you have it! Student finance in Wales. No nearly as fiddly as you may think, but still very very important, it still works very similar to student finance in Scotland and still has the same principles as basic student finance, but the specifics may be a little bit different for time-to-time. If you’re ever unsure about anything, then be sure to let your university know and they’ll be able to tell you everything that you need to know!