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Introduction

This Factsheet is about Student Finance. It should be read together with our general information booklet about our service.

If you normally live in Wales and are studying either in Wales, or anywhere else in the UK, you may be entitled to student finance to cover the costs of your tuition fees and living costs.

Student Finance Wales provides finance, on behalf of the Welsh Government, towards fees and living costs incurred by students when studying in higher education. From April 2015, the Student Loans Company (SLC), as the agent of the Welsh Government, is responsible for the assessment of students’ eligibility to receive financial support, and for processing and making payments of student loans and grants. (Prior to this, local authorities in Wales were responsible for the assessment of eligibility.)

The SLC, under the umbrella branding of Student Finance Wales, has a complaints procedure to which complaints should be addressed. If you disagree with a decision on whether you are entitled to financial help you will need to follow the appeals procedure. Whilst the SLC is not a body that falls within the Ombudsman’s jurisdiction, when the SLC is carrying out a function of the Welsh Government (in assessing, administering and processing grants and allowances to students in Wales), its actions fall within the Ombudsman’s jurisdiction. However, you must complain to the SLC before bringing your complaint to us. Complaints about student finance prior to April 2015 may first need to be put to the relevant local authority where the authority was involved in assessing the student’s eligibility for funding.

 

What the Ombudsman can do

The Ombudsman can potentially consider complaints regarding:

  • poor communication;
  • failures in relation to the assessment and administration of applications for student finance;
  • failures in the administration of grants and allowances following a decision of entitlement.

 

What the Ombudsman cannot do

The Ombudsman cannot:

  • consider complaints about student finance matters that have not been devolved to the Welsh Government – e.g. the Repayment of Teachers Loan scheme;
  • consider appeals against properly made decisions.

 

Issues to bear in mind

You do not need to make your complaint to the Ombudsman using a solicitor or any other advocate; his service is free and impartial and we aim to make the process as easy to follow for complainants as possible.

 

Further information

You can get free, independent advice from your local Citizens Advice Bureau who may be able to assist you in making a complaint: http://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/
You can also find more information about how to complain about student finance on the following websites:

 

Contact us

If you are unsure whether the Ombudsman would be able to look into your complaint, please contact us .