Fee Summary – England versus Wales

We’ve just had our first UCAS visit day of the year, for which those involved were given a handout showing the different fee arrangements for Welsh and English students applying to study at Cardiff University.

On the off-chance that some potential students might come across this blog and also for wider information – since there still seems to be quite a lot of confusion about the financial aspects of study in Wales – I thought I’d share the following useful summary here.

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Cardiff University will charge a tuition fee of £9,000 per annum to new undergraduate students beginning their studies from September 2012 onwards.

I currently live in Wales

Cardiff University will charge an annual fee of £9,000 per annum.  However, if you live in Wales and studying towards your first degree you will not have to pay your tuition fee upfront. You will be eligible for:

• a non-repayable tuition fee grant of £5,535 from the Welsh Government, subject to terms and conditions.
• a repayable tuition fee loan of £3,465 which you only start to pay back when you have finished your studies and are earning more than £21,000pa.
• support towards your living costs – a loan is available to help with your living costs such as food, accommodation, books and travel. Like the tuition fee loan, you only start to pay this back when you have finished your studies and are earning more than £21,000 a year.

You may also be eligible for an Assembly Learning Grant to provide additional help with your living costs such as food, accommodation, books and travel. This grant does not have to be paid back and the amount you receive depends on your household income:

• If your household income is £18,370 a year or less you will be entitled to a full grant of £5,000 a year.
• If your household income is between £18,370 and £50,020 a year you would be entitled to a grant of between £5,000 and £50 a year.

I currently live in England (or elsewhere in the UK)

Cardiff University will charge an annual fee of £9,000 per annum.  However, if you live in England and studying towards your first degree you will not have to pay your tuition fee upfront. You will be eligible for:

• a repayable tuition fee loan of £9,000 which you only start to pay back when you have finished your studies and are earning more than £21,000pa.
• support towards your living costs – a loan is available to help with your living costs such as food, accommodation, books and travel. Like the tuition fee loan, you only start to pay this back when you have finished your studies and are earning more than £21,000 a year.

If you are from England, you may also be eligible for a Maintenance Grant to provide additional help with your living costs such as food, accommodation, books and travel. This grant does not have to be paid back and the amount you receive depends on your household income:

• If your household income is £25,000 a year or less you will be entitled to a full grant of £3,250 a year.
• If your household income is between £25,001 and £42,600 a year you will be entitled to a partial grant.

Please note that the student support arrangements in England are subject to final ratification by Parliament.

I currently live outside the UK but inside the EU

Cardiff University will charge an annual fee of £9,000 per annum.  However, if you are from a country within the EU and studying towards your first degree at Cardiff University, you will not have to pay your tuition fee upfront. You will be eligible for:

• a non-repayable tuition fee grant of £5,535 from the Welsh Government, subject to terms and conditions.
• a repayable tuition fee loan of £3,465 which you only start to pay back when you have finished your studies and are earning more than £21,000pa.

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21 Responses to “Fee Summary – England versus Wales”

  1. So, if you live in Wales or somewhere else in the EU you get £5535 non-repayable, but if you live in England, Scotland or NI you don’t.

    How is the WG going to know if someone is earning > £21k when back in their own country – no tax system linkage.

    • telescoper Says:

      Yes, that’s correct.

      And for the second part – it won’t, so that money will be lost.

    • Is it the case that UK citizens must pay income tax in the UK (but can deduct tax payed elsewhere)? If so, then there is some linkage. (Of course, if no-one enforces the obligation to fill out a tax form, then it is easy to evade this tax. Not that in practice there would always be something to evade, if the deducted tax is more than that owed in the UK.)

      I personally like this idea. It avoids people becoming tax exiles but still reaping the benefits of citizenship if they need it. If they want to move somewhere where they pay less tax, fine, but then they should either be liable for UK tax or, if they don’t want that, give up their UK citizenship.

      Certainly there have been UK tax exiles. On the other hand, I seem to remember that the current system is based on citizenship, but I must be wrong. (There are various systems in use: citizenship, residence, place of work.) Things can become complicated when more than one country of residence, country of employment or citizenship is involved.

    • telescoper Says:

      I think the point is that a student could come to Wales from e.g. Germany, collect the bursary and loan, take their degree and then go back to Germany. Since the payback is done through the UK tax system, and such a person would never be a UK Taxpayer, then there is no mechanism to sort out the repayment.

      PS. Where you pay tax is not based on your nationality, but where you are domiciled.

      • “I think the point is that a student could come to Wales from e.g. Germany, collect the bursary and loan, take their degree and then go back to Germany. Since the payback is done through the UK tax system, and such a person would never be a UK Taxpayer, then there is no mechanism to sort out the repayment.”

        OK. I was thinking (though I shouldn’t have been) of someone from the UK studying in Wales then living in another country, earning quite well, and never coming back. Presumably such people wouldn’t be noticed either.

        “Where you pay tax is not based on your nationality, but where you are domiciled.”

        Presumably in the UK, and probably elsewhere. In many cases, one pays tax where the money is earned. So, someone working in one country and living across the border in another (obviously not very common when the UK is involved) would pay income tax in the country where the money is earned.

        A somewhat different situation (with somewhat different problems) are people who regularly work in several countries, such as formula-one racing drivers, travelling musicians, catwalk models etc. Such people might benefit more from living somewhere with a low tax rate.

  2. Andrew Liddle Says:

    It’s an awful and baffling system. The best way to think about it (especially in the English version) is as a graduate tax charged only on those who both study and later work in the UK. Although it is labelled as loan-and-repay, its characteristics are much more like a tax because repayment is by a fixed percentage of salary above a threshold. But for political reasons the Conservatives can’t call it a tax, because they want to portray themselves as a low-tax party and can’t allow this large sum to count in the tax haul.

    The systems in Wales and in Scotland are, in isolation, quite sensible and even progressive, but having to operate next to the English system makes a mockery of them.

    Clearly Cardiff is not expecting many potential Scottish students to come a calling.

    Is there any statement of how long you have to live in Wales for in order to qualify for their support?

    Andrew

    • telescoper Says:

      There is a bit I left out:

      Scotland and Northern Ireland

      Information relating to financial support for students Scottish and Northern Irish has not yet been confirmed by the respective governments.

      As for your question, I don’t know. The current regulations simply state that you should be “normally resident in Wales” and there’s nothing to say you can’t have moved here the day before going to University.

    • If the government’s goal is to reduce the public deficit, then one solution is to privatise some of the debt. That’s why a loan is “better” than a graduate tax, it seems…

  3. Matt Smith Says:

    The part I don’t understand is if you are from the EU you are eligible for the grant but not if your from England. Why is England an exception to EU law?

  4. Andrew Liddle Says:

    Because EU law only forbids discrimination against nationals from *other* EU member states. The Scottish fees-free system has replied on this loophole for years to prevent students migrating across the border for free education.

  5. John Peacock Says:

    Andrew: I’d like to think it’s the Scottish system that makes a mockery of the English one, rather than vice versa…

    But viewed from the outside, it’s hard to see the difference: either way, the UK borrows the same amount of money. In the Scottish system, the government spends this directly; in the English route, the money passes through a quango that assigns a notional debt to the students getting educated, but in the forseeable future very little of this will be repaid. In the next 10 years, of the fee money given to English universities, what fraction is expected to be recovered in that period? I’ll bet it’s not much more than 10%. Beyond the next decade, there will undoubtedly be another upheaval. So in practice, it’s largely a question of how money is labelled. The English system is really a scam like PFI: trying to pretend that government spending is smaller than it really is. The amazing thing in both cases is that the markets really do seem to fall for such a transparent con.

    But although it’s more honest about what’s going on, the Scottish system shares the same flaw as England and Wales: apart from a few headline cases right at the bottom of the income distribution, there is no support for living costs, which always dominated the cost of being at university until the 9k fees. The fact that this alone is already a huge bill is probably behind the fact that Scottish university applications have also fallen, even though studying is “free”.

    As advocated by many writers to these pages (including me), a better situation would have been a modest expansion of university to 15-20% of youth, with shorter vocational diploma courses at polytechnics for students who don’t want to go so far down the academic path. That would have allowed some meaningful level of grants to be retained, and most students and lecturers would have been happier. But I don’t know how we get there from the much expanded university sector we now have. It would be fascinating to dig through Department of Education documents from 1990 and see if the current crisis was anticipated by some, and if so why their arguments were ignored.

    • Andrew Liddle Says:

      Dear John,

      I agree with everything you say, particularly that the English system is largely about badging things to try and avoid them appearing as public spending and/or taxation even though they really are.

      What I meant to imply was that the pretty sensible Scottish (and Welsh) policies are undermined by the different policies running in England. In the Scottish case, it seems to me that the new systems reinforce strong barriers against Scottish students crossing the border to study in England (because they sacrifice the `free’ education) whereas flow in the opposite direction is more or less unimpeded.

      cheers,

      Andrew

  6. Peter: out of curiosity, how many UCAS visitors (or their parents) actually asked about the fees during the day? Was it many?

  7. Over here is says that “a non-repayable tuition fee grant of £5,535 from the Welsh Government, subject to terms and conditions”

    Which are these terms and conditions??

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