Course designation

Course designation

Only institutions with automatic designation or specific designation will have their courses eligible for student support.

Automatic designation

Institutions with a HEFCW approved fee and access plan will have their full-time higher education courses automatically designated for student support.

The arrangements for part-time courses are different. One of the requirements for the automatic designation of a part-time course is that it is provided by a publicly funded educational institution in the United Kingdom. For more information on fee and access plans, contact

Specific designation

On 1 April 2018, responsibility for managing the specific course designation process in Wales was transferred from the Welsh Government to HEFCW.

Institutions that wish for their courses to be designated for student support on a case by case basis will now have to apply to HEFCW.

HEFCW’s role in managing the specific designation process is to exercise the functions in relation to regulation 5(8) of the Student Support 2017 Regulations and regulation 8(2) of the Student Support 2018 Regulations but only in so far as to:

  • handle queries and applications from providers seeking specific course designation
  • assess supporting evidence from providers taking account of the current Welsh Government policy
  • make recommendations to the Welsh Ministers on whether to designate specific courses on the basis of the supporting evidence received from applicants
  • maintain an accurate list of designated courses and liaise with the Student Loans Company (SLC) to ensure that this is reflected in the information it makes available to students who wish to apply for student support
  • develop appropriate monitoring processes to ensure that providers with courses which have been awarded specific designation continue to meet the criteria set out in the current Welsh Government policy

We have now published guidance documents for:

The Welsh Government’s Policy and a list of those courses currently specifically designated for student support can be founded on the Student Finance Wales website.

For more information contact