Kirsty Williams, Cabinet Secretary for Education
A number of normally Welsh domiciled students have been incorrectly assessed as being eligible for postgraduate loan support by Student Finance England (SFE) for 2016-17.
These students were wrongly notified that they were eligible for support by SFE before the error was noticed and prior to the amendment of the IT systems within the Student Loans Company. I am also aware that a small number of these students have received the first instalment of the support they were offered.
The Welsh Government has been in talks with Student Finance England and the UK Government urging them to provide help to those affected and to make sure no student suffers financially for a mistake in their assessment process. I wrote to the Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation calling on him to ensure students are compensated for the SFE’s mistake.
I have since received assurance from Student Finance England that all available options will be used to compensate those who have suffered financial loss as a result of the error. SFE have now written to all affected students to advise them of their options to appeal and how to make a formal complaint.
The Welsh Government will be introducing regulations for post-graduate support for 2017/18 and will soon formally respond to the Diamond review, which includes recommendations on grant support for post-graduate students.
In the meantime, my officials will continue to work with Student Finance England to ensure students receive the help and guidance they need.