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Overview: academic year 2023 to 2024
This information notice provides details of the following income assessed schemes for the 2023 to 2024 academic year:
- Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA)
- Welsh Government Learning Grant (Further Education) (WGLG FE)
The EMA and WGLG (FE) schemes are currently being drafted for the 2023 to 2024 academic year. Final versions will be available to view later in the year on the funding and finance for students webpage.
Please ensure that this information notice is circulated to all staff and colleagues who help to administer the schemes.
Student Finance Wales service launch and how to apply
The Student Finance Wales service for the 2023 to 2024 academic year launched on 17 April 2023.
How to apply: new students
From April 2023
New applicants can collect a paper form from their school or college. Bilingual paper application packs have been sent to schools and colleges who administer the schemes.
Applications can also be downloaded for printing from the Student Finance Wales website.
Shortly new applicants will be able to:
- electronically submit their EMA or WGLG (FE) application
- upload their supporting evidence via the Student Finance Wales website
The electronic application submission service will be bilingual.
Work for the new system is ongoing and we remain committed to establishing an electronic application service in academic year 2023 to 2024. Further updates will be communicated when available. New students can continue to apply as normal via a paper application, either by downloading an EMA or WGLG (FE) paper application form or by completing a paper application which can be obtained from their school or college.
How to apply: returning students
Returning students are not required to submit a paper or electronic application. Their signed EMA or WGLG (FE) agreement acts as their application to reapply for support for a further year. Student Finance Wales will write to returning students during spring to let them know the next steps to follow for academic year 2023 to 2024.
Students must tell Student Finance Wales if their circumstances have changed since their initial application.
For information and advice contact the Student Finance Wales bilingual customer service on 0300 200 4050.
Education maintenance allowance (EMA) rate
On 17 April 2023, the Minister for Education and Welsh Language confirmed that EMA had increased to the new rate of £40 per week.
2022 to 2023
Eligible new and continuing students will receive the new rate of £40 per week from 17 April 2023. This is subject to meeting all criteria including attendance.
2023 to 2024
The new EMA rate will be paid to eligible new and continuing students from the start of the new academic year.
The Welsh Government will be commissioning an independent review of EMA. This is expected to commence during the 2023 to 2024 academic year. Information about the review will be made available later in the year.
There are no changes to the qualifying EMA and WGLG (FE) income thresholds. WGLG (FE) grants will also be maintained at current levels in 2023 to 2024.
EMA and WGLG (FE) schemes: eligible events
For 2023 to 2024 the EMA and WGLG (FE) schemes will provide funding if a specific event occurs after the first day of the first academic year of the course. This ensures consistent criteria for maintenance support arrangements between FE and HE.
Students (new or continuing) on a course on or after 1 September 2023, could become eligible for support if any of the following events apply:
- the students course becomes a designated course (for WGLG (FE) or an eligible education course (for EMA)
- the student or the student’s spouse, civil partner or parent is recognised as a refugee
- the student or the student’s spouse, civil partner or parent becomes a person granted stateless leave
- the student or the student’s spouse, civil partner or parent becomes a person with a qualifying form of leave to enter or remain (For example a person with discretionary leave, leave to remain on the grounds of family life, leave to remain on the grounds of private life or leave on the grounds of Article 8 of the ECHR)
- the student or the student’s spouse, civil partner or parent becomes a person granted humanitarian protection status
- the student or the student’s parent becomes a person with section 67 leave to remain
- the student or the student’s parent becomes a person granted leave to remain as a protected partner (for example, leave to remain as either a victim of domestic violence or abuse, or as a bereaved partner)
- the student becomes a person with Calais Leave
- the student becomes the family member of a person who was a UK national on the first day of the first academic year of the course
- the student acquires the right of permanent residency; please note, this will also include where the student acquired settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme
- the student becomes a person who satisfies being a migrant or frontier worker, employed person, self-employed person
- the student becomes a child of a Swiss National
- the student becomes eligible under one of the Afghan Schemes
- the student becomes a protected Ukrainian National
Student Finance Wales will only be able to determine eligibility and entitlement once they have received:
- a fully completed application form
- appropriate supporting evidence
The events criteria now include provisions for certain migrant and frontier workers, employed or self-employed persons.
Funding calculation following an event
EMA payments will continue to be administered as per current processes.
Students will receive the £40 weekly allowance for the remaining weeks that they are in attendance for the academic year. This is subject to when their application is received, and the event occurred.
Entitlement will be calculated, as follows:
E/AA x WGLG (FE) = RE
- E = the number of remaining days on the student’s course from the date of the event to the last day of the student’s course year (inclusive)
- AA = the number of days of the student’s course year from the first day of the course year to last day of the course year (inclusive)
- WGLG (FE) = is the full grant entitlement based on a full academic year
- RE = the recalculated grant entitlement for the remaining days of the course year from the date of the event
The WGLG (FE) calculation formula for events will now use the student’s course start and end date and not the academic year start and end date. This provides a fairer calculation for eligible students satisfying an event.
Application deadlines in relation to an event
Application deadlines for new and continuing students applying under the event provisions are set out in Annex 1.
Late applications or signed agreements
Student Finance Wales will consider if discretion can be applied on a case-by-case basis.
COVID-19 arrangements: attendance, backdated EMA payments and signing learning agreements
The following measures will now become standard features of the schemes:
- the application extension period (13 weeks from 8 weeks) to qualify for backdated EMA payments
- the electronic signing of EMA and WGLG (FE) agreements
We expect learning centres to update and maintain their own guidance and polices.
We also expect that learning centres now consider discretionary arrangements for attendance purposes as standard. For example:
- reasons related to an illness
- campus closures
These should be included in their decision-making process when:
- submitting their students’ attendance confirmations to SFW
- operating and maintaining their own absence and attendance policies
If you have queries about applications, how to apply, payments or any other aspect of the service, please contact Student Finance Wales directly.
If you have any queries about this information notice, please contact the Higher Education Division, Welsh Government:
Large print, Braille and alternate language versions of this document are available on request.
We welcome correspondence in Welsh or English.
Annex 1: event provisions and application deadlines
|Type of student||Event provisions and application deadlines|
The applicant will receive the allowance from the date of the event if:
The applicant will receive the allowance from the date the application was received if:
The applicant will receive the allowance from the date the application is received if:
Payments will only commence following confirmation of their signed EMA Agreement.
For purposes of an event a continuing student is different to a person treated as a returning student. A continuing student would be a person who is not already approved for EMA and is in the second or subsequent year of their course/studies.
|Returning students||Event provisions do not apply to returning students as they will already be approved for the allowance.|
|Type of student||Event provisions and application deadlines|
The applicant will receive a pro-rated WGLG (FE) grant from the date of the event. This is subject to that event occurring in the same academic year of study. An application must have been received within nine months of the student’s course start date in the academic year.
For the purposes of an event a continuing student is different to a person treated as a returning student. A continuing student would be a person who is not already approved for WGLG (FE) and is in the second or subsequent year of their course/studies.The application deadlines for continuing students are the same as per a new student above.
|Returning students||Event provisions do not apply to returning students as they will already be approved for the grant.|