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Figures on the student support awarded to applicants and paid to students or their higher education provider for 2021 (provisional).

The data covers applicants and students domiciled in Wales taking a designated higher education course at a university or further education college in the UK, as well as EU (outside UK) applicants and students taking a designated course in Wales.

Following the Diamond review of Welsh student funding, there were policy changes made in 2018/19 which saw tuition fee grants being phased out and reduced maintenance loan amounts offset by increased Welsh Government Learning Grants (WGLG).

Main results

  • The amount paid out in supporting higher education students was £1.2 billion, up 11.2% from £1.1 billion in 2019/20.
  • The number of students receiving funding also increased to 86,300, up 7.1% from 80,600 in 2019/20.
  • Since 2013/14 the amount paid out in higher education funding has increased by 78.7% (in cash terms) from £671.6 million, while the number of students receiving funding has increased by 32.8% (from 65,000).

Undergraduate tuition fee support

The total amount paid out for tuition fee loans for full-time undergraduates increased by 18.8% since the previous year, to £470.8 million. This is as a direct result of tuition fee grants being discontinued for new students in 2018/19.

The actual amount paid out in tuition fee support for full-time undergraduate students remained relatively stable at £495.9 million (an increase of 2.4% compared to 2019/20). But this is now made up of a higher proportion of loans than in previous years (95% tuition fee loans).

Undergraduate maintenance support

The number of full-time undergraduates in receipt of maintenance loans increased by 1.4% to 57,400 full-time undergraduates. The amount paid increased by 11.5% from £263.2 million in 2019/20 to £293.4 million in 2020/21. The significant increase in amount paid is a result of the increase in the maximum maintenance loan available in comparison to academic year 2019/20.

A total of £230.4 million was awarded in full-time WGLG & Special Support Grant, an increase of 18.0% on the £195.3 million awarded in 2019/20.

Postgraduate support

£77.7 million in postgraduate loans (masters and doctoral) was paid.

£26.7 million in postgraduate grants (masters only) was paid. A substantial increase from last year (£18.8 million) which was the first year postgraduate masters support included a grant element (which is means tested).

2021/22 early in-year data

Early in-year data for 2021/22 shows around 74,500 students receiving funding, a small decrease compared to the 75,300 at the same time last year.


Aron Nyberg

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