Introduction

UWE Bristol is committed to a fair and transparent policy in respect of the charges made to students. We recognise that students may occasionally be unable to meet their financial obligations to us for tuition or other fees due.

If you are experiencing financial hardship, difficulty budgeting, problems with your funding body, have faced unexpected costs or don't know how you will pay for fees please talk to us. You can contact the Student Money Service on sms@uwe.ac.uk or you can speak to the Credit Control Team at creditcontrol@uwe.ac.uk or by calling +44 (0)117 32 87888.

If you don't feel comfortable taking to these teams, speak to a Student Support Adviser or your Academic Personal Tutor. Whatever you do, don’t ignore your finances. The sooner you make contact with us the more likely we are to be able to help you.

Conditions

By making an application for a waiver of fees you are declaring that you have no reasonable alternative source of funding available to you.

  • Your application will be considered on its individual circumstances. 
  • You must supply evidence supporting your application.
  • We won't consider any applications without appropriate evidence.

It is your responsibility to stabilise your financial position to ensure you are able to meet your financial obligations, therefore:

  • you will normally receive a fee waiver only once and for only one year
  • a second and exceptional application may only be made on grounds different to those of the first application.

Evidence

It is your responsibility to demonstrate the circumstances that have led to your inability to pay the fees due. If you are not sure if your circumstances meet the criteria for a waiver or if you are not sure what evidence you should/can provide please contact the Student Money Service on fee.waivers@uwe.ac.uk for support and guidance.

We won't consider applications without evidence but you don't have to provide the evidence straight away. We will hold unevidenced applications for six weeks.

Inability to pay or general lack of funds in and of itself is not sufficient grounds for a fee waiver. If you require assistance with budgeting or general student money advice try our advice pages on:

Personal circumstances

Personal circumstances as accepted by an award board are not in themselves sufficient for the granting of a fee waiver, although the circumstances themselves may be considered separately in regard to a fee waiver application. We may ask you to supply the evidence again to demonstrate how this has affected your ability to pay.

Registering/reregistering without sufficient funds

By registering with the University, you are agreeing to pay the fees due. If you register without making minimum reasonable provision you will be ineligible for a fee waiver and will be referred to credit control to arrange a payment plan. If you think you are going to have difficulty paying your fees please contact the Student Money Service at SMS@uwe.ac.uk as soon as you can to discuss your circumstances.

It may be that we agree to suspend your registration to prevent the accrual of further financial liability and/or debt.

Where it is subsequently demonstrated that financial hardship was reasonably known or expected in advance of the academic year, a fee waivers will not be granted and you will be referred to credit control to arrange a payment plan.

Debt

If you are in debt to the University you should contact the Credit Control Team at creditcontrol@uwe.ac.uk or by calling +44 (0)117 32 87888 or the University’s appointed debt agent in the first instance.

If you are in debt you may have the option to arrange a payment plans to clear the debt and, where necessary, this may be passed to the University’s debt collection agent. If you are a current student with tuition fee debt you will be prevented from reregistering until the debt is cleared. 

The cancellation of historic debt is at the discretion of the University and will be considered by the Fee Records Operation Group.

Minimum reasonable provision (MRP)

You are expected to have made minimum reasonable provision to fund your studies. This includes ensuring you have sufficient funds to cover tuition fees and living costs in full for the year of study. We use a fixed ‘living cost’ amount known as a ‘composite living cost’ to determine how much you need each week. Please contact sms@uwe.ac.uk for the details.

Any application for a fee-wavier must demonstrate that your inability to pay is not due to a failure to make necessary provision but due to circumstances that could not have reasonably been foreseen. If you are not sure if you meet these criteria please contact fee.waiver@uwe.ac.uk for support and guidance.

Home undergraduates

You should have applied for and received the full tuition fee and maintenance loan available to you. If you are ineligible for funding from student finance you need to demonstrate sufficient funds to cover your course and living costs.

Postgraduate students eligible for the Postgraduate Loan (PGL)

You need to demonstrate sufficient funds to cover the costs of your course either through work, savings or access to the PGL. You need to be aware that a PGL alone is often insufficient to cover all costs and additional provisions need to be made as well. A fee waiver application may be refused if a PGL is available but not taken.

International students

You are required to demonstrate sufficient funds that are available to you when your course starts in order to secure your visa. Please seek advice from the International Office in the first instance.

UK Home/EU students

You must have exhausted all other funding options before applying for a waiver. In general, fee waivers will not be considered during the cooling off period as you have the right to suspend or cancel your registration without liability. Fee waivers will be considered on the following grounds that arise during the course of the year:

  • Ill health
  • Bereavement
  • Care or caring responsibilities

General time limits

Fee waivers will only be considered for events that occur after the start date of your course. Events that occur either before this start date or after the end of the course year will not be considered. If things happen before or after your course we recommend you contact a Student Support Adviser or Money Adviser to discuss your circumstances.

Access to further funding

If you have access to government funding either undergraduate tuition fee loan or the Postgraduate Loan you should apply for this additional fee support. In some cases, you may also be eligible for additional support from Student Finance on the grounds of compelling personal reasons.

International students

At the discretion of the International Office, the following applies in cases where the international refund policy does not.

Applications from international students studying on a tier 4 visa will be considered with reference to the requirements of UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) and may be made on the following grounds:

  • Bereavement
  • Caring responsibilities
  • Ill health

General time limits – exception for international students

In addition to consideration under the international refund policy, events that happen after you have arrived in the UK but before the start of your course year may be considered. You should consult the International Office first regarding the international refund policy.

Loss of sponsorship/third party support

You remain ultimately responsible for your tuition fees even if you are being sponsored by a third-party employer or commercial entity, or a family member.

Failure of the third party to pay on your behalf will not automatically guarantee a fee waiver.

We will do everything in our power to collect your fees as instructed and we will let you know if we encounter problems.

If your sponsor fails to pay and you become liable for the payment of your fees the University will work with you on a suitable payment plan.

Request consideration

All applications are considered by the Fee Record Operations Group who will make a recommendation to the appropriate faculty regarding your application.

You will be notified by email of the outcome after the faculty has considered the recommendation of the group.

When we won’t consider requests

  • Exam boards
  • Appeals
  • Complaints
  • Disciplinary proceedings
  • Fitness to study
  • When applications are made solely on the grounds of financial hardship even where minimum reasonable provision can be demonstrated.
  • When further statutory support is available.
  • If you are a degree apprenticeship student.
  • If you are a student at a partner organisation.
  • Request for fee waivers made as part of a complaint - these will be considered to be part of the complaints procedure first.
  • On the grounds solely of academic failure.

Potential outcomes

Making an application for a fee waiver does not guarantee that fees will be waived. The following recommendations may be made instead:

  • Suspension, until finances are stabilised
  • Withdrawal 
  • Referral to the university’s debt collection agent
  • Offered a retake in specified modules without further charge

All recommendations of the Fee Record Operations Group and the final decision of the faculties will be presented to the University Student Funding Group for review at its meetings.

Appeals

You can appeal on the following grounds:

  • Material irregularity in the process and handling of the application.
  • Further significant and relevant evidence has become available.

Appeals should be made within 30 working days of the receipt of an official outcome.

Appeals on the basis of new evidence are considered by the Fee Record Operations Group. Appeals regarding the handling of an application are considered by a senior manager independent of the Fee Record Operations Group.