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The Education (Postgraduate Student Support) (Miscellaneous Amendments) (Wales) Regulations 2022 (“the 2022 Regulations”) will provide support for students ordinarily resident in Wales taking a designated course of higher education.
The 2022 Regulations, due to come into force on 6 May 2022, apply to academic years beginning on or after 1 August 2022 and make the changes as set out below:
1. Financial package
1.1 Regulations are being amended to change the amount of postgraduate support in line with established policy, as follows:
- to increase the amount of support payable to postgraduate Master’s students starting courses on or after 1 August 2022 by the projected rate of inflation, by increasing the amount of loan. Grant support will not be increased
- to increase the amount of support for doctoral students starting courses on or after 1 August 2022 by the projected rate of inflation
1.2 Further detail on this is included in SFWIN 10/2021, in relation to publication of the Financial Memorandum.
2. Removal of provisions relating to the EUSS “grace period”
2.1 The ‘application deadline’ and ‘grace period’ associated with the EU Settlement Scheme ended on 30 June 2021. These are provided for in the Citizens’ Rights (Application Deadline and Temporary Protection) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020. A person was able to apply for leave under the EU Settlement Scheme until the application deadline of 30 June 2021. Certain rights conferred by the Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2016 are also maintained, despite the revocation of those regulations, until that date – the ‘grace period’. Further, where the grace period has ended and a person has made a valid application which has not been decided, the period is extended until a decision is made – the ‘relevant period’.
2.2 Provision was made in the Education (Student Finance) (Miscellaneous Amendments) (Wales) (EU Exit) Regulations 2021 to ensure that those applying for student support who had applied for leave to remain under the EUSS during the grace period were not inadvertently made ineligible for student support. A necessary amendment has been made to postgraduate student support regulations to remove references to the grace period (only).
3. Afghan Nationals
3.1 On 29 December 2020, the Defence Secretary and Home Secretary announced the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP). This scheme offers relocation or other assistance to current and former Locally Employed Staff in Afghanistan to reflect the changing situation in Afghanistan. The ARAP scheme launched on 01 April 2021 and will continue to remain open and operate indefinitely.
3.2 In addition, due to recent events in Afghanistan, the UK Government announced details of a new scheme in August 2021 known as the ‘Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme (ACRS)’. The ACRS has been established to provide protection for Afghan citizens who have contributed to civil society or who face a particular risk, for example, because of their role in standing up for democracy and human rights, or because of their gender, sexuality or religion.
3.3 An amendment will be made to regulations to make provision for Afghan citizens who are granted leave to enter or remain in the United Kingdom under ARAP or ACRS to be eligible for student support in line with other protection-based categories. This will be extended to the spouse, civil partner or any dependent children who have been granted leave in line under the ARAP or ACRS.
4. Postgraduate Masters Social Work students
4.1 Social work students have been able to access a non-income assessed bursary of £13,280 since 2004 to 2005. This recognises the importance of this profession to the well-being of the people of Wales. To prevent double funding, the Education (Student Support) (Postgraduate Master’s Degrees) (Wales) Regulations 2019 make students in receipt of this bursary ineligible for any support.
4.2 An amendment to regulations will make students starting courses on or after 1 August 2022, and in receipt of a bursary, eligible to apply for a loan to make up the difference between the bursary value and that of the total available postgraduate Master’s support.
5. Doctorate in Educational Psychology at Cardiff University
5.1 The Welsh Government provides grant funding to Cardiff University to fund a doctoral course in Educational Psychology. A bursary is also made available by Welsh Government to students.
5.2 An amendment to regulations will make new students, starting courses on or after 1 August 2022, ineligible for a doctoral loan when in receipt of a bursary to avoid double funding.