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I’m a student aged 19 years old or older – what further education funding can I get in Wales?

By David Malcolm

Friday 12 April 2013 Further education

If you live in Wales and you’re 19 years old or older when you start a course of further education, you can get funding from the Welsh Government. Here’s an overview with links to more information.

This topic contains the following:

Can I get further education funding in Wales?

If you normally live in Wales, and you and your course are eligible, you may be able to get funding from the government to take a course of further education. For more details, see Can I get further education funding in the UK?

If you’re eligible for funding in Wales and you’re 19 years old or older, the following information is for you.

Do I need to pay tuition fees?

You may be charged tuition fees to take your course, whether you’re studying full- or part-time. However, most further education colleges offer free or discounted tuition if you’re from a low income family, you’re disabled or you claim benefits.

Speak to your learning provider (eg your school or college) to find out if you need to pay fees.

Can I get help with costs related to my course?

You may be able to get an Assembly Learning Grant for Further Education (ALG (FE)) to help with costs related to your course, such as tuition fees, books, equipment, lunch and transport to and from your school or college. The following figures are for 2013/2014.

To get the grant you must be:

  • 19 years old or older
  • studying at a participating school or college
  • studying on a course that leads to a nationally recognised qualification (eg GCSE, A or AS Level, BTEC, GNVQ, NVQ or a Basic Skills course)
  • studying for at least 275 hours throughout the course.

The amount you can get depends on your household income: up to £1,500 for a full-time course, or up to £750 for a part-time course. You don’t need to pay the money back. If your household income is £18,371 a year or more, you don’t get anything.

Your ‘household income’ means your income plus your partner’s income (if you live with them), if you’re one of the following:

  • 25 years old or older
  • responsible for a child
  • you’ve supported yourself financially for more than three years
  • you live apart from your parents and have no contact with them, and you don’t live in local authority care
  • you live in local authority care, eg with foster parents
  • you’re married or in a civil partnership, or you have been.

If none of these apply to you, your ‘household income’ means your parents’ income.

You can use this online calculator to find out how much you can get.

If you previously got an ALG (FE) to study on a course at the same level or a higher level, you can’t get another one.

To apply for the ALG (FE), you need to complete and return an application form. Here’s more information about the ALG (FE), including details if you’re applied before. There are also some frequently asked questions.

Can I get help with my travel costs?

If you need help getting to and from your place of learning, or need to travel as part of your course, you may qualify for free or subsidised transport. Ask for details from the student welfare officer wherever you’re learning or planning to learn.

What other government support is available?

As well as the support outlined above, other further education funding is available, depending on your circumstances. Find out more here:

What if I’m in financial difficulty?

If you’re facing financial hardship, you may get help from the Financial Contingency Fund. For more information, see I’m a student in further education – where can I get help if I’m in financial difficulty?

I want to be an apprentice – what support can I get?

If you want to undertake a course of vocational training and work at the same time, you might consider doing an apprenticeship. You’re paid a salary while you study.

If you take a Pathways to Apprenticeships course in order to become an apprentice, you can get a grant of money similar to an Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) to help with your costs.

For more information, see Can I get funding to study for further education while I work?

Can I get help to study for a City & Guilds qualification?

If you’re studying for a City & Guilds qualification or a National Proficiency Tests Council course, you may be able to get a bursary (a grant of money that you don’t need to pay back) to help with your living costs. See Can I get funding to study for a City & Guilds qualification?

Where can I find more information?

Here are some links to more information:

This information was updated in March 2013. NUS provides this information in good faith and has taken care to make sure it’s accurate. However, student finance issues can be complicated, and rules change frequently. You should contact the advice centre in your students' union, college or university for support if you’re uncertain or need more help.

Image by JKehoe_Photos.