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Living Costs Support for Welsh Postgraduate Students

If you’re Welsh and planning on studying a postgraduate course in the UK, you might want to apply for this brand-new funding just for you…

Living costs can be…well costly. From paying the rent and associated bills, to the weekly food shop right down to those pesky printing costs at the university library, before you know it your entire postgraduate loan can be practically gone before you know it.

Which is why there is funding for Welsh students. Here is everything you need to know.

 

What Is This Funding?

This funding from the Welsh government supports those who are studying a Postgraduate Master’s course from 1 August 2019. Whether it’s taught or research based, students can apply for a combination of loan and grant to help with their chosen course and the living costs that come along with postgraduate studies.

Described as the “most generous student support package in the UK”, this is open to undergraduate and postgraduate students, and can be given to both full-time and part-time students.

There are some differences in the maximum amount you can get depending on when your course starts.

  • 2020 to 2021 can get a maximum of £17,489 made up of loan and grant
  • 2019 to 2020 can get a maximum of £17,000 made up of loan and grant

There are also Master’s bursaries that are available to graduates to support their studies if they are undertaking a Master’s degree in Wales. This was available for those studying in the 2019/20 academic year and will continue for those studying in the 2020/21 academic year.

These bursaries include:

  • A £4,000 bursary for people over the age of 60
  • A £2,000 bursary for graduates studying STEMM subjects – this includes Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics or Medicine
  • A £1,000 bursary to study “through the medium of Welsh.” This is to encourage the development of a Welsh-speaking workforce.

All of this has been created by the Welsh Government and will be provided by Student Finance Wales on their behalf. And in case you hadn’t realised, this is a pretty big deal, in fact this is the first time anything like this has been offered to UK students. Will Fuller, the Students' Union President of Cardiff Metropolitan University told us:

"The financial package provided by the Welsh government will help to make university more accessible to students from Wales. Allowing students to focus on their studies and their careers rather than working long hours to cover living costs is a positive step that will benefit Welsh students throughout the UK."

 

How Much Will I Receive in Living Cost Support?

There are different loans and grants to help you when it comes to living costs. This funding is means tested, so you’ll be assessed based on your household income, as well as your location (for example, if you study at home you’ll receive a different amount than if you’re studying in London). However, the funding aims to give the equivalent of the National Living Wage to those that are deemed eligible.

The Welsh Government Learning Grant is one funding source you can consider. Here’s a breakdown of what you could receive depending on your living situation:

There is also a Special Support Grant with a maximum amount of £5,161 available in the academic year 2020/21. Students are eligible for this grant if any of the below applies to them:

  • you’re a single parent;
  • your partner is also a full-time student and one or both of you are responsible for a child, or a young person under 20 who is in full-time education below higher education level;
  • you have a disability and qualify for the Disability Premium or Severe Disability Premium;
  • you’re deaf and qualify for Disabled Students' Allowances;
  • you have been treated as incapable of work for at least 28 weeks;
  • you have a disability and qualify for income-related Employment and Support Allowance;
  • you’re eligible for Housing Benefit
  • you’re eligible for Housing element of Universal Credit
  • you’re entitled to Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
  • you’re entitled to Armed Forces Independence Payment (AFIP)
  • you’re entitled to Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
  • you’re waiting to go back to a course having taken agreed time out from that course due to an illness or caring responsibility that has now ended; or
  • you’re aged 60 or older.
  •  

Am I Eligible for Living Cost Support?

Unlike like most grants and student loans, it doesn’t matter if you’re studying full-time or part-time, in fact, you don’t even need to study in Wales. As long as you’re originally from Wales, you can study in any university in the UK and it won’t affect your eligibility. Although it’s worth knowing that if you choose to study part-time, you’ll be supported on a pro-rata basis and your course's intensity will play a part in this.

It’s predicted that around a third of full-time students are likely to be eligible for this financial support, so you’ve certainly got a good chance!

Wales’s Education Secretary, Kirsty Williams has said about the scheme:

"Living costs must not be a barrier to going to university. I want everyone who has the talent, potential and ambition to have that opportunity. Whether it’s studying full-time or combining it with your career and studying part-time, university should be an option for everyone, no matter what your background or income."

 

How Do I Apply for Living Cost Support?

You can apply on the Student Finance Wales website.

Once you’ve registered, simply log into your account and submit your application, along with any evidence they request Once you’ve done this, simply sign and return the Student Finance Online Declaration Form that gets sent to you by post, and that’s it!

 

For more information on the new living cost support, head to the Welsh Government’s website.

For more help and advice on postgraduate funding step right this way…

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