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Previous study rules

If the student has studied before and has an Honours degree from a UK university or college then:

  • they may not be eligible for any support; or
  • their entitlement may be limited to certain years.

The general rule is that students will be eligible for the length of their higher education course plus 1 year where a qualification was not achieved. However the support will be reduced by the number of previous years study.

To help you work out if the student has any support available, use the formula below:

Duration of new course + 1 year- previous course = x years

As an example:

Jane started a course in academic year 2013/14 but only completed 2 years of study. She now wishes to return to full-time study. Her new course is 3 years long.

Duration of Jane’s new course (3) +1- Jane’s previous study (2) = 2 years

Jane will be able to receive 2 years of funding for her new higher education course, therefore she will need to fund 1 year herself.

Funding is awarded in the final year of the new course and each preceding year that is funded so in this example, Jane would need to self fund in year 1 of her course. This means she would not be able to apply for a Tuition Fee Loan or a Welsh Government Learning Grant/Special Support Grant; she would, however, still be able to apply for a Maintenance Loan and supplementary grants such as Disabled Students' Allowances in her self-funded year.

Previous study rules part-time

New students starting a course from 1 September 2014 will be subject to different previous study rules.

This will only apply to students where they have received part-time funding only.

Any previous full-time support a student applied for and received as well as part-time support which was applied for but not taken, will not count as previous study.

Previous study rule:

Number of years previous study + new course length at 25% intensity = XX years.

If the figure is under sixteen years, then the student will receive full support for the duration of their course. For every year they are over this, they will have to self fund the final year(s).

As an example: A student starts a part-time course in September. This would have taken four years to complete full-time, but will take sixteen as they’re going to study at a course intensity of 25%. However, the student has four years of previous part-time study on another course before they withdrew.

Therefore the student can receive part-time tuition support for up to a maximum of twelve years (16 – 4 = 12) should they study at a 25% intensity for the duration of the course. The student will need to self fund the last four years of the course. To receive funding for the full duration of their course, they would need to complete the course or some academic years at a higher level of intensity to compensate.

Compelling personal reasons

If the student has compelling personal reasons as to why they didn’t complete their previous course then they could be entitled to further funding on these grounds. They must be able to provide evidence of this.

Depending on their circumstances this may be:

  • medical evidence from their GP;
  • evidence from Social Services; or
  • evidence from the student advisory service at their university or college that substantiates their personal or family crisis.

It’s important that students are advised to contact the student advisory service at the university or college if they feel they are not coping with the course before withdrawing from their course. Evidence should be recorded at the time of the withdrawal as it may need to be submitted to Student Finance Wales if the student starts a new course at another institution.

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