The new student finance package

Film description: We caught up with students at Cardiff and Vale College after a presentation on what financial help is available from Student Finance Wales to find out what they think about the new student finance package.

On screen: presenter Phil walks into an office building. He is then filmed and talking to the camera standing in the office.

My name's Phil and I work for Student Finance Wales, which is part of the Student Loans Company.

We provide financial support to students in Wales on behalf of the Welsh Government.

I'm here today at Cardiff and Vale College to talk to students and find out what their thoughts are about the new student finance package and what it could mean for them.

On screen: Phil is now in a lecture hall talking to a crowd of Welsh students.

What we'll be doing today is discussing everything student finance.

Have you thought about how you're going to pay for your fees?

Have you thought about how you're going to pay to go out on a weeknight or whatever it may be?

We'll discuss everything today.

Students from lower-income households will be able to get most of their living costs in grants, which don't have to be paid back.

This should mean that the university is an option for everyone regardless of their background or household income.

First female student asks: If you're on the lowest household income... the maintenance loan... do you have to have that?

Phil: The loan?

First female student: Yeah – or can you choose whether to have it or not?

Phil: Good question. You do not have to take the loan out if you don't want to. It has to be repaid. It is a debt. The majority of students will take out a loan but it is optional.

So if you think you will be OK with your work, or additional funding, or your scholarships and you don't need a loan then that's absolutely fine.

But if midway through the academic year you decide ‘oh I'm struggling a bit’, you can apply for your loan at a later date and it will be backdated so you do not have to take the loan out if you do not want to. It is optional.

On screen: Phil is back speaking to the camera in the office.

Last year the Welsh Government announced that they were introducing a new student finance package which they said would be the most generous in the UK.

Most students starting a course from September 2018 will be able to get help towards their living costs equal to the National Living Wage as well as support to cover their full tuition fees.

This means the student can spend more time focusing on their studies and less time worrying about how they're going to pay for it.

On screen: the scene is now back in the lecture hall with Phil and the Welsh students.

First male student asks: In terms of an independent student – because I haven't relied on my parents for over 5 years...

Phil: Yes.

First male student: Will I automatically get that £9,000 if I earn below £18,000 whatever it is a year?

Phil: Yeah good question. If you're classed as an independent student, your income will be classed as zero. Even if you have a job during that academic year, it'll still be classed as zero.

Second male student asks: are we eligible to get the grant and the loan at the same time? And how much would we be eligible to get out of those two?

Phil: Yeah, it'll be a mixture of loans and grants. So obviously the higher the income it'll be a less of a grant, £1,000 of a grant and... does that make sense?

But it'll still be £9,000. So lower-income families will have more of a grant, less of a loan.

Hopefully I’ve clarified how student finance works, what you need to do.

Maybe reassured you of what you can get and how you repay.

Thanks very much. Thank you for coming today.

Second female student says talking to the camera: having listened to the talk, it's enabled me to get a lot more information.

Third female student says talking to the camera: It's really good to know what you are expecting to get and what you're expecting to pay back.

Fourth female student says talking to the camera: With the amount I’m getting, I feel... I feel content with it. I think it'll get me through the year obviously ‘cause, it's more than enough.

Third male student says talking to the camera: You're not paying back that much each month and the likelihood of you paying it all back in full is quite low.

Fourth female students says talking to the camera: If you have your priorities set straight then you know it's... it's gonna be, you know, university first and nights out last, so I think the amount I'm getting is absolutely fine yeah.

On screen: For helpful tools and guides visit: the Student Finance Wales website, the SFW Facebook account, the SFW Twitter account, the SFW YouTube channel.

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