Whether a student can get student finance depends on their:

  • personal circumstances,
  • course, and
  • university or college.

Nationality and residency

They’ll be able to get student finance if all of the following apply:

  • they’re a UK national or have settled status (meaning there are no restrictions on how long they can stay in the UK)
  • they normally live in Wales
  • they’ve been living in the UK for at least three years before the first day of the first academic year of their course

They might still be able to get student finance if they’re:

  • an EU national, or a relative of one;
  • a refugee, or a relative of one;
  • under Humanitarian Protection, or a relative of someone under Humanitarian Protection;
  • an EEA/Swiss migrant worker, or a relative of one;
  • granted Discretionary Leave to remain in the UK, or a relative of someone granted Discretionary Leave to remain in the UK;
  • granted leave to remain in the UK or a relative of someone;
  • granted leave to remain in the UK on the grounds of private life;
  • the child of a Swiss national;
  • the child of a Turkish worker;
  • a stateless person, including eligible family members; or
  • granted leave to remain, or a child of someone granted leave to remain under Section 67 of the Immigration Act 2016.

COVID-19 update

If a student is unable to be in the UK on the first day of the first academic year of their course, they’ll be considered as ‘temporarily absent’. They’ll still be eligible for student finance so long as they meet all other eligibility criteria.

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


To get a Maintenance Loan, students must be under 60 when they start their course.

There’s no upper age limit to get any grants or a Tuition Fee Loan.

Previous study

Students can usually only get student finance for their first higher education qualification. If they’ve already studied a higher education course in the UK, they might not get help for a second course.

As a general rule, a Tuition Fee Loan is available for the full length of their course, plus one extra year if needed, for example, if:

  • they change their course, or
  • they leave their course but start another.

The number of years for which they can get student finance is usually calculated as:

Length of current course + one year – years of previous study

If they haven’t got enough years of funding left to cover their course, they’ll have to cover some of the cost themselves. They’ll usually still be able to get a Maintenance Loan in any self-funded years of study.

They might be able to get an extra year of grant and tuition fee support if they need to repeat a year due to compelling personal reasons, such as bereavement or illness.

They would need to provide evidence of this. Depending on their circumstances, this could include:

  • medical evidence from their GP
  • evidence from social services
  • evidence from their university or college.


The course they plan to study must be in the UK and one of the following:

  • first degree, for example a BA, BSc or B Ed
  • Foundation Degree
  • Certificate of Higher Education
  • Higher National Certificate (HNC)
  • Higher National Diploma (HND)
  • Diploma of Higher Education (DipHE)
  • Postgraduate Certificate of Education (PGCE)
  • Integrated Master’s
  • Initial Teacher Education (ITE)

If they’re not sure whether their course qualifies for student finance, they should check with their university or college.

University or college

The university or college must be in the UK and either:

  • publicly funded (paid for by the government), or
  • privately funded but running individual courses that are approved for funding by the Welsh Government.

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