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.
Who can apply?
You must be classified as a Home status student. Normally this would mean that you have been a UK resident for at least the last five years before starting your course or 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 international student
- an EU undergraduate student getting the 2017–18 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, studying less than 50% of the full time equivalent
- enrolled on a 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 PhD, MPhil or research student
- a postgraduate student who has chosen not to take the full £10,280 postgraduate loan or £10,000 professional career development loan
- an undergraduate student who has not applied for Student Finance based on their household income (or taken the full maintenance loan they are entitled to)
Full-time undergraduate students (including foundation year):
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).
Normally all students have to also receive the full tuition fee loan.
Part-time undergraduate students
If you started your degree before September 2012
You must be studying at least 50% of the full-time equivalent course in the 2017–18 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 degree after September 2012
You must be studying at least 25% of the full-time equivalent course in the 2017–18 academic year.
You must also have applied for the new part-time Tuition Fee Loan from Student Finance England.
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) laid down by NASMA. For example, the CLC for a single person is £121 per week. Failure to demonstrate this may result in a reduction in any award made or even a rejection of the application.
You must be able to show that you have at least £214 per week available to you to cover your general living costs. If you have dependent children or are unable to work because of a disability, the amount required is £178 per week.
This is known as the Minimum Required Provision (MRP) and can be met via earnings, benefits, a partner’s earnings, savings, loans, overdrafts etc. You will need to have applied for the full £10,000 professional and career development loan (PCDL) or the full £10,280 Student Finance England postgraduate loan. If you apply for the PCDL and are rejected you will need to provide evidence of this.
Part-time postgraduates must be studying at least 50% of the full-time equivalent course (or the maximum amount of modules you can study per academic year on a part-time basis) to be eligible to apply for LESS.
If you receive a postgraduate loan (PGL), as Student Finance pays this directly to you, the University will classify you as a self-funded student. You must have paid all your fees for the whole academic year before you can apply to LESS (not just the first instalment). Read more about paying your fees.
If you have a PCDL of £10,000 and the loan covers your tuition fees in full, please provide a copy of your agreement letter showing the instalments due to the University of Westminster with your application.
An award can be anywhere between £100 and £3,000 (in exceptional circumstances) for the 2017–18 academic year. The exact amount of award will be determined by the University depending on the level of financial need you demonstrated, but bear in mind that demand always exceeds the amount of money available, so awards might not cover all your needs and applications may be refused.
Please do not assume the grant as part of your budget until you have been notified that you will receive an award.
When should you apply?
You can apply to LESS from October 2017 until 22 June 2018 (your application must be with the Student Funding Office by this date).
No applications will be accepted after this time under any circumstances. The University will aim to get a written decision to you within six weeks. This may not be possible at busy times of the year, or if your application is incomplete.
Applicants must submit a completed application form along with copies of supporting documentation.
This must include (not all will be applicable to your situation):
- evidence of your funding from Student Finance
- cost of accommodation (rental agreement)
- the last three months bank or building society statements for all accounts held (receipts and an explanation for transactions over £200 will be required)
- travel expenses
- study costs (printing, books etc)
- childcare costs – Ofsted-registered only
- all benefit entitlement letters
- medical evidence, such as sick notes
Please note that non-essential expenditure may be taken into account in our calculation 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.
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 69% of the students who submitted an application for LESS received assistance from the fund.
How to apply
Students can either hand applications in to our drop-in service or send them in the post to the address below. We are unable to accept applications by email.
If you would like your application and supporting documents to be checked, our opening hours are Monday-Friday. Please check with the office about opening times that may vary between term and non-term time.
Please ensure you have read the full guidance notes issued with the form for a detailed list of requested evidence. Successful applicants will get a bonus on their award if all the necessary information is supplied with the first submission.
If the office does have to request extra documentation, your assessment will be delayed. Missing information may also lead to it being rejected entirely.
First Floor, 101 New Cavendish Street
London W1W 6XH
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