COVID-19: Guidance for new and continuing students

We’re here to answer some of your questions around the COVID-19 outbreak so you understand how it could affect you, whether you’re studying now or planning to go to uni or college later in the year.

NHS COVID-19 app

The NHS COVID-19 app is an important part of the Test Trace Protect programme to control the spread of COVID-19.

By downloading and using the app, you can help keep your family and friends safe. The more people who use the app, the greater our chances of reducing the spread of the virus.

The app is available for download from the Apple App store or Google Play store.

Find out more.

Can I apply for student finance?

All Student Finance Wales applications are now open for academic year 2020 to 2021. You should register or sign in to your online account now to apply for student finance for:

  • full-time undergraduate courses
  • part-time undergraduate courses
  • postgraduate Master’s courses
  • postgraduate Doctoral courses

More information on how to apply is available on our undergraduate and postgraduate pages.

You can also check our Facebook and Twitter pages for updates

Will my application be delayed?

We’ll process any applications that have been received as quickly as we can. We do not currently expect any delays.

Can I still contact you if I need help?

Yes, our contact centres are open as normal.

Find out the contact details.

What if I cannot post the evidence you’ve asked for because I’m self-isolating or unwell?

Don't worry about sending evidence just now if you're not able to. Our priority is your safety and well-being so stay at home.

I cannot send new medical evidence from my GP because of COVID-19. Do I have to wait until I have new evidence to make my application for Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSA)?

No. Due to the current COVID-19 outbreak, we understand that you may not be able to get any new medical evidence or diagnostic assessment reports. You should send us any evidence you already have so we can check your eligibility for DSAs. If we need additional evidence, we will let you know.

Will I still get paid if I’m not studying on campus anymore or my school, college or university has closed?

Higher Education

Yes. We can confirm that students will receive their scheduled or next instalment of their Maintenance Loan at the planned start of their summer term, regardless of whether their university or provider has closed or made alternative arrangements for teaching.

Further Education

For Education Maintenance Allowance in Wales, colleges are allowed to continue EMA payments during the COVID-19 pandemic, at their discretion. Learner absence for reasons of illness, self-isolation or college closure can all be treated as authorised absences.

More information about further education and COVID-19 can be found on the Welsh Government website.

If my academic year gets extended will student finance be extended to help me cover that?

If your current academic year gets extended, meaning if teaching is extended and your course lasts longer than 30 weeks and 3 days, we will assess you for a ‘Long Courses Loan’. However, if you finish your course later because of ongoing re-assessments, you won’t be able to get more student finance.

The Long Courses Loan is part of the Maintenance Loan so to be eligible, you must be getting the extra Maintenance Loan that depends on your household income.

Your university or college will have to tell us about this extension before we can assess you for the Long Courses Loan.

If you’re eligible for Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSAs), you’ll receive DSAs support for any extensions given by your university or college.

Will I still get student finance next year if I have to repeat or extend my study?

Yes. We already have a process for handling this type of situation where students sometimes have to repeat a year for various reasons.

For any period of previous study you will still be able to get a Maintenance Loan.

A Tuition Fee Loan is available for the full length of your first course, plus one extra year if needed. If you don’t have enough years of funding left to cover your course fees, you may be able to get an extra year of support due to compelling personal reasons.

If you’re eligible for Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSAs), you’ll receive DSA support for the duration of your studies. DSAs are unaffected by previous study.

I am still being charged for childcare although my children cannot attend. Will my Childcare Grant still cover this?

Yes. If you are still being charged by your childcare provider, and you’re still a student, your Childcare Grant will still be paid. The amount payable will remain capped at 85% of the cost charged, or the maximum applicable rate of Childcare Grant, whichever is lower.

If you use the Childcare Grant Payment Service, you will need to continue to review the invoices and approve your Childcare Grant payments online.

My childcare provider has closed and you’ve sent me a CCG2 form. If I can’t send this back will I still be paid Childcare?

Don’t worry about sending us a CCG2 form just now if you’re not able to. Our priority is your health and well-being so stay at home. When we get your form later in the year we’ll finalise your payments then.

If you have been overpaid, we’ll reduce your 2020/21 grant entitlement by the overpayment amount. We understand this may cause you financial hardship. Should this happen, we will work with you at the time to find a more affordable way for you to pay back the overpayment.

I am a Migrant Worker, how will COVID-19 affect my student finance?

Any payments which show in your online account will be paid to you as scheduled.

We will not be asking for any more evidence of employment for the rest of 2019 to 2020 academic year.

If your employment situation changes, you can send us evidence of this later when it's safe to do so.

I am looking to apply as a Migrant Worker, how will the COVID-19 outbreak affect this?

We understand that you may be worried about qualifying as a migrant worker due to changes in your employment. We are working with the government to answer any questions you may have and will have an update soon.

If your employment hasn’t been affected, you should apply now for 2020 to 2021.

If your employment has been affected, you can apply now as an EU student to ensure your Tuition Fee Loan is in place. You can apply for migrant worker funding later, once we have clear guidance for you.

Will travel grant entitlement be affected for students that have to return early to the UK due to Coronavirus?

As long as you’ve spent at least 50% of your term abroad, any travel grant claims for that time abroad can still be submitted and will be processed as normal. Also, any payments already made to you will not be changed.

My parent/partner has recently lost their job. How will this affect my student finance?

Some student finance is based on your household income so we’ll need financial details from your parent(s) or partner to calculate how much funding you can get. However, we understand that financial circumstances can change and we have a process in place to help with that. This process makes sure you won’t lose out on any student finance you’re entitled to.

During the student finance application process your parent(s)/partner will be asked to provide financial details from a previous tax year. If they’ve lost their job and are not earning as much now as they did then, we can look at your application based on their ‘Current Year Income (CYI)’. But this can only be done after they’ve given us the details of the previous tax year. For more information, visit our parents and sponsors section.

2019 to 2020 academic year

If your student finance has already been calculated for 2019/20 using the CYI process, we may need to contact your parent(s) or partner for financial evidence for the 2019/20 tax year. In this case, we’ll get in touch with them in late 2020. If their income is different to what they estimated previously, your student finance will have to be recalculated.

Find out more about the Current Year Income process.

I’ve had to come back from the UK before the end of my year abroad. I’m now doing alternative study, will I still get my student finance?

Yes. If you are continuing your studies remotely, your tuition fees and living costs will still be paid as planned.

Will joining the temporary paid early register whilst completing assignment affect my entitlement to student finance?

As an NHS or Healthcare student, your student finance entitlement will not change if you join the temporary paid early register. You will continue to receive your Maintenance Loan payments, and we will continue to make payments to your college/university for your tuition.

If my placement is delayed what impact will this have on my student finance?

If your current academic year gets extended, meaning your course lasts longer than 30 weeks and 3 days, we will assess you for what we call a ‘Long Courses Loan’.

The Long Courses Loan is part of the Maintenance Loan so to be eligible, you must be getting the extra Maintenance Loan that depends on your household income.

Your university or college will have to tell us about this extension before we can assess you for the Long Courses Loan.

I cannot complete my DSA1 form as my university or college is closed. What should I do?

When filling in the DSA1 form, you can leave Section 5 blank. You should ask your university or college to send us an email confirming the following details:

  • Your full name
  • Your customer reference number (if known)
  • The academic year you’re applying for
  • The name of your course
  • Your course start date
  • Your course end date
  • Your year of study e.g. year 1 of 3
  • Your level of study e.g. undergraduate or postgraduate
  • Whether you’re in attendance of your course or studying as part of a distance learning course
  • Whether you’re studying full-time or part-time
  • If you’re studying part-time, the intensity of your course e.g. 50 % of the full-time equivalent

Your college or university should email sfw_dsa_team@slc.co.uk

I cannot get to a Study Needs Assessment Centre because of COVID-19. What should I do?

Needs Assessments can be done remotely if you cannot attend in person. The Assessment Centre will confirm in their report that your assessment was completed remotely.

If you prefer a face to face assessment, or the disability/condition you have cannot be assessed remotely, you should contact your Assessment Centre as soon as you can. They will give you further information about booking your Needs Assessment.

If your Needs Assessment is completed remotely or face to face, we will only process your application for Disabled Students’ Allowances once we receive the report from your Assessment Centre.

How is my non-medical helper support affected by COVID-19?

If the type of support offered by your non-medical helper is now remote, your Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSAs) will still cover the cost of your non-medical helper. You should agree this with your non-medical helper provider.

We understand that you may not have been able to attend classes because they were cancelled by your university or college, and this could have impacted your non-medical helper support.

  • If their support was cancelled with more than 24 hours’ notice, your non-medical helper will not be paid from your DSAs.
  • If they are provide by your university or college, and their support was cancelled with less than 24 hours’ notice, your non-medical helper will not be paid from your DSAs.
  • If they are provided external to your university or college, and their support was cancelled with less than 24 hours’ notice, your non-medical helper will be paid from your DSAs.

In 2020/21 my course will mostly involve online learning, so I’ll be staying at home to study remotely. How will this affect my student finance?

You’ll still be entitled to a Tuition Fee Loan, means tested Maintenance Loan and any grants you qualify for.

Your Maintenance Loan and any grants you’re entitled to will be paid as normal so long as your uni or college confirm you’ve registered with them. Your Tuition Fee Loan will be paid each term when your university confirms your attendance to us, even if you’ve been studying remotely. Whether you are online learning for one term or the whole academic year will have no effect on this.

If your course is classed as a ‘distance learning’ course, you can apply for a Tuition Fee Loan and Disabled Students’ Allowances only. However, if you are distance learning due to a disability, you may also qualify for a Maintenance Loan.

I was supposed to be living away from home at my uni or college during term time, but I will now be staying at home as my course will involve online learning. Will this affect my student finance?

Yes, it’s important that you inform us of where you’re living during the academic year as this will have an impact on the rate of Maintenance Loan you’re entitled to.

Students who are living away from home during term time are entitled to a higher rate of Maintenance Loan than students living at home, to meet the higher living costs.

If we have the wrong information about where you’re living during your course you’ll have to repay any funding you were overpaid, this could affect your funding in future years. To update your living location, sign in to your online account.

Visit our pages to learn more about Maintenance Loan rates.

I cannot meet the UK residency requirements because COVID-19 restrictions prevented me from travelling to the UK. Will this be considered when my eligibility for funding is being assessed?

Yes, if you can provide evidence that COVID-19 caused you to have a temporary break in your residency from the UK you should still be eligible for student finance.

I’m due to start a course in the UK in September 2020, but I’m unable to be in the UK at the start of the academic year. Will I still be eligible for student finance and be paid in my first term?

Yes, you will simply be considered as ‘temporarily absent’ from the UK. You’ll be deemed eligible for student finance so long as you meet all other eligibility criteria.

To be paid in your first term you must ensure you’re registered with your uni or college and have a UK bank account which your student finance can be paid into.

If you’re an undergraduate student who has applied for a Tuition Fee Loan, you’ll have your fee paid each term when your provider confirms your attendance, even if you’ve been studying online from abroad.

This exception has only been put in place due to the restrictions caused by COVID-19, you should travel to the UK to attend your course once it is safe to do so.

I had planned to study abroad in 2020 to 2021, but I’ll now be staying in the UK to study online with my overseas provider. How will this affect my funding?

Normally, students studying abroad for a year of their course would be entitled to a higher amount of Maintenance Loan to help with the costs of living overseas. But as you’ll no longer be living abroad during term time, you’ll now be eligible for the home rates of Maintenance Loan instead, which can vary depending on your specific circumstances:

  • Living at home
  • Living away from home, outside London
  • Living away from home, in London

Visit our pages to learn more about Maintenance Loan rates.

You need to make sure we have the correct information about where you’ll be living each term, otherwise you may have to repay any funding you have been overpaid. You can update this information by signing in to your online account now.



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