We’ve made it easier for students to apply for financial hardship support
Students can now apply for financial hardship support by uploading the improved Financial Hardship Form and any associated evidence directly to us via their online account.
We’ve worked with our own Financial Hardship Team and HEP advisor partners in order to identify the common problems that students had previously encountered when applying for financial hardship.
Based on insight and recommendations received, we’ve made improvements to the Financial Hardship Form which will allow our assessors to process the forms and respond to students’ hardship support applications faster.
While Student Finance Wales financial hardship does not provide any additional direct funding over and above a student’s standard entitlement, support is on offer which can help those who are struggling financially across a range of circumstances.
The Financial Hardship Team can consider applications to:
- defer the recovery of loan or grant overpayments from a student’s current entitlement
- continue a student’s support if they have suspended their studies or withdrawn
- extend grant support to the end of a term in which a student has withdrawn
- make a payment early once the student’s application has been approved
- award 60 days funding for students who have suspended their studies at the beginning of the academic year due to heath related reasons (if no confirmation of registration has been received)
Who qualifies for financial hardship support?
Before they contact us to request a Financial Hardship Form, students should make sure they meet one of the following requirements to apply.
We can only accept applications from students who:
- have an overpayment on their account, and their entitlement has been reduced to recover the overpayment
- have suspended or withdrawn from their studies and want their funding extended
- need a payment brought forward due to being in financial hardship
- have withdrawn from their studies, have been awarded grants (such as Childcare Grant) and want their funding extended beyond the point they left their course (due to the student finance regulations, we cannot accept applications from withdrawn students who have not been awarded grants)
If you are supporting a student who is considering submitting an application for financial hardship, please ensure they meet these criteria and are aware of the circumstances that can be considered.
This will help minimise the number of inappropriate referrals the Financial Hardship Team receive and allow them to process eligible claims as efficiently as possible in what can be stressful situations for these students.
Important information for students
When assisting students considering applying for financial hardship, please make them aware of the following:
- The student should check that they’ve applied for the maximum amount of student finance based on their household income
- Information will be needed about the student’s income and expenses so we can fully review their situation
- Evidence will be required to show their financial circumstances such as copies of their bank statements
- Financial hardship application decisions are made on a discretionary basis, therefore some requests may not be accepted
- The Financial Hardship Team may contact the student via phone to discuss their situation further
- If the student would like to set up Consent To Share for an adviser or another third party, they can do so using the Financial Hardship Form
- Further evidence may be required from the student to help us assess their hardship application
Applying for financial hardship
In the first instance, students who want to apply for financial hardship support should call our contact centre on 0300 200 4050 and an advisor can provide them with the Financial Hardship Form.
To allow the student to complete the form and digitally upload to us, we will send it to them via email, unless they specifically ask for a paper copy.
When issuing the form, advisors will confirm the hardship eligibility criteria with students and tell them how they should send us their completed form and evidence.
How to complete and return the Financial Hardship Form
Once the Financial Hardship Form has been issued to the student, they should follow these steps:
- Save the form to their device and complete it.
- Gather their evidence to support their application, the form will explain what they need. The evidence will ideally be in a digital format such as a downloaded bank statement, we can also accept clear photographs.
- Sign in to their online account and select ‘Upload supporting evidence’ under the heading ‘Manage your student finance’.
- Upload the financial hardship form and supporting evidence together, uploading them separately can slow down the application process.
Postgraduate students who are applying for financial hardship (early payment or payment through suspension) will need to return their Financial Hardship Form by post.
Points of reference
While students should follow the established process to apply for financial hardship, the Financial Hardship Form can be viewed here: