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  1. Study at the OU
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  3. Qualifications
  4. Ways to pay for a qualification in Wales

Ways to pay for a qualification in Wales

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Students starting their studies from September 2014 will be able to apply for a Tuition Fee Loan. If you are planning to begin your studies with a module starting before 1st September 2014, please contact the Financial Support Office for information on the financial support available.

Tuition Fee Loan

You could be eligible to pay your tuition fees by taking out a fee loan, which means you don’t have to pay your fees upfront and, in most cases, you won't have to repay anything for up to four years.

Tuition Fee Loans are not means tested so it doesn’t matter how much you earn and there is no upper age limit. To qualify you'll need to study an OU module worth at least 30 credits. And you'll need to be studying for an undergraduate qualification that's higher than any you already have.

Key Facts

  • You can pay all or part of your fees with a fee loan of up to £2,625
  • Nothing at all to pay upfront.
  • Nothing at all to pay for up to four years.
  • Repayments are based on what you earn, not what you owe and are deducted automatically by your employer through the UK tax system.
  • You only start making repayments when your salary exceeds the income threshold, currently £21,000.
  • If your salary stops or drops below £21,000, your payments stop too.
  • Interest is applied to your balance at the Retail Price Index (RPI) plus up to three per cent, once the University confirms that you are participating on your qualification.
  • You’re not committed to borrowing the cost of a full degree – you only borrow what you need to cover the coming year’s fees.
  • Unlike other forms of borrowing, it doesn’t affect your credit rating and won’t stop you getting a mortgage or car loan.
  • You can pay a Tuition Fee Loan off early if you want to.
  • After 30 years, any remaining balance you owe is written off, no matter how much is left.
  • Tuition Fee Loans are managed by Student Finance Wales.

So, based on the current threshold of £21,000, say you earn £25,000 a year, you’ll only need to pay back nine per cent of your income above £21,000, which works out at £30 a month.

The following table gives example repayment amounts (for illustrative purposes only):

Income each year before tax Amount of income from which repayments will be based Monthly repayment
Up to £21,000 £0 £0
£22,000 £1,000 £7
£25,000 £4,000 £30
£30,000 £9,000 £67
£35,000 £14,000 £105
£40,000 £19,000 £142

For more information about fee loans, speak to an OU adviser or contact Student Finance Wales directly on 0300 200 4050 or visit www.studentfinancewales.co.uk.

Financial support

There are several grants available to people living in Wales depending on your income and your course of study. You may also be eligible for a free place on an Access module and for extra help from the Financial Contingency Fund.

Course Grant

If you are on certain benefits or have an annual household income below £28,180 you could be eligible for a Course Grant of up to £1,155 to help pay for course-related costs such as a laptop, internet access or travel to tutorials.

Additional income allowances may also be given if you have a partner and/or dependent children. These are £2,000 for a partner, £2,000 for your first child and £1,000 for each further child. For example, if you have a partner and two children who are financially dependent on you, you could have a household income of up to £33,180 and be entitled to receive some financial support.

If you live with your parents, their income will not be included in any assessment of your household income.

Adult Dependants’ Grant, Parents’ Learning Allowance and Childcare Grant

These additional grants provide financial help to students who have dependent children or adults in their household. The grants are means tested and you will need to be studying between 60 and 120 credits' worth of modules to qualify (usually with a minimum of 30 credits for any one module).

Access modules

If you’re on certain benefits or have an annual household income of less than £25,000 and are new to higher education, you may also be eligible for a free place on one of our Access modules if you study the module as an additional preparatory stage towards an OU qualification.

Financial Contingency Fund
Once you have started studying with us you may be able to apply for additional help towards your study costs if you are experiencing financial hardship. Students with an annual household income not exceeding £25,000 can apply for assistance from the Financial Contingency Fund.

This fund is provided to assist students who are facing higher than expected costs as a result of their study. It cannot be used to pay for tuition fees, but will support course-related costs such as travel, childcare and internet access. Funding may be limited and is allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.

You need to allow plenty of time if you’re applying for financial support so please apply as early as possible.

For more information about financial support, contact the Financial Support Office.

Employer sponsorship

Sponsorship means your employer pays your fees. If the qualification you’ve chosen is geared towards your job or developing your career, you could ask your employer to sponsor you by paying some or all of the fees.

Your sponsor needs to complete an individual sponsorship agreement, which you can download online when you register or which you will find in your registration pack.

If your employer is reimbursing you we can send you a receipt of payment or a statement of academic record when you have completed your module.

For further information, speak to an adviser.

Credit or debit card

You can pay part or all of your tuition fees upfront securely with a debit or credit card. We accept most well-known credit and debit cards. We also accept payment by bank transfer.

Other ways to pay

OU gift vouchers

You can pay for part or all of your tuition fees with OU gift vouchers. Vouchers are currently available in the following denominations: £10, £20, £50 and £100.

Find out more about buying or redeeming vouchers.

Mixed payment methods

You may also be able to pay via mixed payment methods.

For more information about these payment options, speak to an adviser.

Disabled Students’ Allowance

Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSA) help with additional study costs that result directly from your disability or specific learning difficulty.

Allowances are not means-tested and may go towards specialist equipment (such as an adapted computer), non-medical study support (for example, a sign-language interpreter; a note-taker or a dyslexia support worker) or other related expenses. You can also apply for help with study-related travel costs that directly result from your disability.

You may be eligible for a DSA if you’re studying at least 30 credits towards an OU undergraduate qualification that lasts for more than one year.

For further information, visit our Services for disabled students website.

Os dymunwch siarad â siaradwr Cymraeg i drafod unrhyw agwedd o astudio gyda’r Brifysgol Agored, cysylltwch â’r Brifysgol Agored yng Nghymru.

If you would like to speak to a Welsh speaker to discuss any aspect of OU study please contact the OU in Wales.

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