The Government is concerned that the higher fees paid and consequent debt incurred by undergraduate students in English universities and English students in other UK countries since 2012-13 may be a deterrent to progression to postgraduate study.
PSS awards are, therefore, aimed at students who have been charged the higher fees and incurred higher debt, namely:
- English students entering undergraduate study at any UK institution from September 2012
- non-UK EU students entering undergraduate study at any English institution from September 2012
- Scottish students entering undergraduate study at any English, Welsh or NI institutions from September 2012
- Northern Irish students entering undergraduate study at any English, Welsh or Scottish institution from September 2012
The following categories of students should not be treated as eligible for a PSS award:
- students from Wales who entered undergraduate study from September 2012, since the Welsh Government through the Student Loans Company provided tuition fee grants to all Welsh students to cover the increase in fees
- students from EU countries outside the UK who entered undergraduate study from September 2012 at an institution in Wales, if they were in receipt of a tuition fee grant from the Student Loans Company that covered the increase in fees
- students from Scotland or other EU countries outside the UK who entered undergraduate study from September 2012 at an institution in Scotland, if their fees were paid for them by the Student Awards Agency for Scotland
- students from Northern Ireland or other EU countries outside the UK who entered undergraduate study from September 2012 at an institution in Northern Ireland
- students who studied for their undergraduate degree outside the UK.
It is recommended that the student is asked to supply evidence that they were required to meet the costs of higher variable fees for their undergraduate degree arising from the changes to undergraduate fee regulations introduced from September 2012. This should include evidence of the fees charged to the student and any SLC grants, bursaries or other allowances that may have been provided. While data is held centrally by the SLC, data protection and time constraints mean it is not feasible to allow institutions to verify this information with them directly. As students accessing this fund will be those about to graduate, or recently graduated, and therefore likely to still be in direct contact with their undergraduate institution and SLC, seeking evidence from the student is the most efficient route to gaining this evidence.