How does household income affect an application?
If the student has asked to be income assessed we’ll use the total taxable household income to determine the level of support that the student is entitled to. Household income is the combined total income of the student and the parents or partner that they live with. This doesn’t include any income the student might have from full or part-time work.
If you don’t provide details of your household income the student will only be entitled to basic support.
If you provide details of your income, and it’s below a certain threshold, the student can receive more financial help, such as:
- Welsh Government Learning Grant or Special Support Grant
- Maintenance Loan
- Childcare Grant
- Parents’ Learning Allowance
- Adult Dependants’ Grant.
Find out what financial help is available:
- New students - What financial support is available?
- Continuing students - What financial support is available?
If your household income drops by 15% or more
If your child or partner is applying for student finance in 2021 to 2022, we normally use your household income from the 2019 to 2020 tax year to work out how much student finance they can get.
But if your household income is expected to drop by 15% or more compared to the 2019 to 2020 tax year, you can ask us to calculate their student finance based on your estimated income for the current tax year instead.
Doing this means your child or partner could get more of their student finance as a grant instead of a loan, but it’s not right for everyone. At the end of the tax year, we’ll ask for evidence of your income to see if the estimates were right. If they were wrong, your child or partner will probably have been paid too much grant and will need to pay some of it back.
1. Check if you’re eligible
You’ll qualify for an assessment if your expected household income after the 15% decrease is between £18,370 and £59,200 a year.
If your total household income is less than £18,370 a year, you will not be able to get an assessment unless the student needs it to get:
- a bursary or scholarship from a university or college
- extra student finance for children or dependent adults
You can apply by downloading a form and sending it to us. You can apply at any point until the last day of your child or partner’s academic year.
3. Keep your household income estimates up to date
Once you’ve applied and we’ve done a current year income assessment, you must let us know if your income changes any point throughout the year. Do this by sending us a new current year income form.
If you don’t keep your income estimates up to date, or if you underestimate your income, your child or partner could be paid too much student finance and will be asked to pay it back.
4. Confirm your household income at the end of the tax year
After the tax year finishes, we’ll ask you to let us know what your actual household income was and send us evidence of this. We’ll usually ask you for this at the end of the tax year in April 2022.
If you don’t do this, your child or partner’s student finance payments will be reduced and they’ll be asked to pay some of it back.
5. What happens next
Once we know your actual household income at the end of the tax year, we’ll be able to check if the amount we gave your child or partner was correct.
If they’ve been paid too much loan or grant, we’ll ask them to pay some of it back.
Who counts as a member of the household?
If you’re the parent of a student and the student normally lives with you, the following rules apply:
- If you’re separated or divorced, your income counts towards the household income but the income of the student's other natural parent does not
- If you have re-married or you live with a partner, their income will count towards the total household income and they will need to provide information and evidence of it.
- If you re-marry or start to live with a partner before the start of the academic year, your spouse/partner’s income will be taken into account even though you may not have been living with one another during the tax year we ask about.
If you're the student's husband, wife or civil partner we'll take your income into account as part of the household income.
If you’re the student’s partner and you live with them as though you are married or in a civil partnership, we’ll take your income into account as part of the household income if:
- The student is independent and started their course on or after the 1 August 2018; or
- the student started their course before the 1 August 2018 and was over 25 on the 1st day of the 1st academic year of their course.
If the student is a care leaver we will only ask for their partners income as part of the household income assessment if they're applying for dependants grants such as Parents Learning Allowance (PLA) or Adults Dependants Grants (ADG).
If you have other children
If you’re the parent of a student and you have other children who are financially dependent on you, £1,130 will be disregarded from your income for every child other than the student who is wholly or mainly financially dependent on you.
For example: say you earn £20,000 per year and have two children, one of whom is a student. We will disregard £1,130 of your income and consider you to have an income of £18,870 for the purposes of assessing the total household income.
Additional forms and guides you may need
If you have been asked to provide financial information in support of an application and completed a paper tax return, you may find the following guide useful.
Complete this form if you didn’t sign the paper application form when the student applied for finance: