The Living Expenses Support Scheme (LESS) is here to help students who are in need of additional financial support during the academic year. The scheme aims to help and award students with an additional grant that can be used to meet any maintenance needs, such as rental costs, travel costs, childcare costs, day-to-day costs etc. The scheme cannot be used to pay tuition fees.
Am I eligible to apply?
The scheme is open to ‘home’ status students only. Normally this would mean that you have been a UK resident for at least the last five years before starting your course and are in receipt of full Student Finance support.
You are not eligible to apply if you are:
- not enrolled at the University of Westminster
- an EU undergraduate student getting the 2018–19 tuition fee loan only
- an EU postgraduate student who has not lived in the UK for more than five years before the first day of the first academic year of their course.
- assessment only
- enrolled on a conversion or professional course, such as the GDL, CILEx, ACCA, CIMA, RIBA (part 3) and the LPC
- a self-funded student with tuition fees outstanding – this includes students in receipt of the postgraduate loan as the loan is paid directly to the student
- a PG Dip, PhD, MPhil or research student
- a postgraduate student who has chosen not to take the full £10,609 Master’s loan or £10,000 professional career development loan
I’m a full-time undergraduate student
You will need to show that you have applied for the maximum student support available from student finance including the maintenance loan. This includes applying for finance based on your household income. Read more on student finance on the Gov.uk website.
- Pre-September 2016 students: you must have been assessed for the maintenance grant and taken the full maintenance loan offered to you.
- September 2016 onwards: full maintenance loan (grant not available).
In additional to this, usually students should be in receipt of the full tuition fee loan.
I’m a part-time undergraduate student
If you started your degree before September 2012, you must be studying at least 50% of the full-time equivalent course in the 2018–19 academic year. You must also have applied for the part-time Tuition Fee Grant and course grant from Student Finance England.
If you started your course before September 2018, you must be studying at least 25% of the full-time equivalent course and have applied for the part-time Tuition Fee Loan from Student Finance England.
If you started your course after September 2018, you must be studying at least 25% of the full-time equivalent course and have applied for the part-time Tuition Fee Loan from Student Finance England and be in receipt of the full part-time maintenance loan that you are eligible for, based on your household income.
All part-time students are expected to show they have made reasonable provision to fund their studies. By reasonable, we mean having a weekly income that is at least the same level as the composite living cost (CLC) as laid down by NASMA. For example, the CLC for a single person is £123 per week. Failure to demonstrate this may result in a reduction in any award made or even a rejection of the application.
I’m a module retriever
Full-time undergraduate students retrieving modules on a part-time basis must be attending classes and studying at least 50% of the full-time equivalent course. They must also have taken their full entitlement of student loan.
I’m a full-time postgraduate student
Guidelines are followed which assume that a student receives a minimum income level per week, regardless of whether or not this is the case. It is expected that students will have made reasonable provisions for themselves and any dependants before beginning their course. This means that Postgraduate students will be expected to show that they made adequate provision for tuition fees and living costs before starting the course. This could include income from earnings, a partner’s earnings, savings, loans – including the Master’s Loan (ML), overdrafts etc. You must have applied for the ML and show proof (even if the application was declined) to be eligible to apply to the Living Expenses Support Scheme.
You must have paid the tuition fees in full for the whole academic year before you can submit an application.
I’m a part-time postgraduate student
If you started your course before September 2012, you must be studying at least 50% of the full-time equivalent course in the 2018-19 academic year, or the maximum number of credits you can study per academic year on a part-time basis (dependent on your course structure).
If you started your course after September 2012, you must be studying at least 25% of the full-time equivalent course in the 2018-19 academic year.
You must also have applied for the ML and show proof (even if the application was declined) to be eligible to apply to the Living Expenses Support Scheme.
You must also have paid the tuition fees in full for the whole academic year before you can submit an application.
How is my application assessed?
The Student Funding team will assess your application. When making a decision about an award, we look at the shortfall between your expenditure (as defined by national guidelines) and your expected income.
Please note that non-essential expenditure may be taken into account and may reduce your award or even result in your application being rejected. This type of expenditure includes online gambling, private school fees or private healthcare and excessive spending on social activities.
If your application is incomplete or does not contain all the requested documentation, it will delay our decision. Please note that we reserve the right to request additional information if it would help with assessing your application.
We also reserve the right to either reject or reduce the amount of your award if you are found to have bank accounts that you have not declared and provided statements for.
How much will I be awarded?
An award can be anywhere between £100 and £3,000 (in exceptional circumstances). The exact amount of award will be determined by the University depending on the level of financial need you demonstrate. Please bear in mind that demand always exceeds the amount of money available, so any awards made will not cover the full shortfall you have and you should not assume that you receive an award until you are notified.
How will I be notified and paid?
We aim to provide a written decision within approximately 6 weeks of your application being submitted, although at very busy times this may not always be possible.
You will receive an email confirming when the assessment has been completed and an expected payment date which will be approximately 2 weeks after. Once we receive confirmation of payment, you will then receive an award letter informing you of the value of your award along with a link to a feedback survey. Your opinion and feedback are highly valued and vital in helping us to provide the best support and service to our students as possible.
Still not sure whether to make an application?
You might not want to apply because you think there are more deserving cases than yours. Please know that our assessment calculations will determine if you are showing financial need so we would always encourage you to apply. The purpose of the scheme is to assist as many eligible students as possible.
Last year 67% of the students who submitted an application for LESS received assistance from the fund.
How do I apply?
The 2018/19 Living Expenses Support Scheme (LESS) has now closed. Applications will open for 2019/20 from mid-October 2019.
We are unable to accept applications via email. Please submit the application form along with photocopies of your documents, as we cannot return documentation to students. Send to:
Student Funding Office
1st Floor Cavendish House
101 New Cavendish Street
Tel: +44 (0)203 506 6989
If you would like your application and supporting documents to be checked, please book an appointment through Engage for a 20 minute application check appointment.