Living Expenses Support Scheme (LESS)
(Formerly the Westminster Additional Grants Scheme)
The living expenses support scheme 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 which 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 prior to starting your course or are in receipt of full student finance support.
Full-time Undergraduate students (inc 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. Further information may be found on Gov.uk
- Pre-September 2016 students – You must have been assessed for the maintenance grant and taken the full maintenance loan offered to you.
- September 2016 students – Full maintenance loan (grant not available).
All students will normally have to be receiving the full tuition fee loan also.
Part-time Undergraduate students
If you started your degree before September 2012
You must be studying at least 60 credits in the 2016/17 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 30 credits in the 2016/17 academic year. You must also have applied for the new part-time Tuition Fee Loan from Student Finance England.
You must be able to show that you have at least £210 per week available to you to cover your general living costs and £115 per week per dependant.
This is known as the Minimum Required Provision (MRP) and can be met via earnings, a partner’s earnings, savings, loans, overdrafts etc. You will need to have applied for the full £10,000 Professional and Career Development Loan or the Student Finance England Postgraduate Loan. If you apply for this 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 the Living Expenses Support Scheme.
All postgraduates must have paid their tuition fees or have their fee payments in place before submitting an application. However, If you receive a postgraduate loan (PGL) from student finance, you must have paid all your fees for that academic year before you can apply to the living expenses support scheme.
An award can be anywhere between £100 and £3,000 (in exceptional circumstances) for the 2016/17 academic year. The exact amount of award will be determined by the University depending on the level of financial need demonstrated by you, 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?
Applications for the Living Expenses Support Scheme for 2016/17 have now closed.
The University will aim to get a written decision to you within four weeks. This may not be possible if your application is incomplete or at busy times of the year.
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/building society statements for all accounts held (receipts and/or 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/sick notes
You may think that there may be more deserving cases than yours and you should not submit an application. Our assessment process will determine the level of assistance to offer to each applicant and the funds are intended to assist as many students as possible.
Still not sure whether to make an application?
Last year 71% of the students who submitted an application for LESS (formerly WAGS) received assistance from the fund. Therefore we encourage applications.
We are unable to accept applications by email. Students can either hand applications into our drop-in service or send them in the post. If you would like your application and supporting documents checked, our term time drop-in opening hours are Monday-Friday, 12–2pm.
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 to 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.
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