1 FINANCIAL HELP FOR STUDENTS FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE GUIDANCE 2015/2016
2 2 Introduction When you are planning your College course, it is important to consider how to manage your finances. This booklet aims to provide background information about financial help for which you may be eligible from the College or from other sources while you are a student. Full-Time Students If you are aged 16 to 18 when your course of further education commences, no tuition fees, registration or exam fees (apart from exam re-sit fees) are payable. If you are aged 19 or older when your course of further education commences, you are a mature student and will be liable for course fees. See the section Course Fee Waivers (page 7) for details of exemptions. Payment of course fees can be arranged through instalments by direct debit. Please discuss this option on enrolment. Students aged 24 years and older, studying on a level 3 course or higher may be able to apply for a 24+ Advanced Learning Loan. See the section 24+ Advanced Learning Loans (page 10) for more information. All full-time students will be asked on enrolment to pay a 50 Student Resources Fee, which contributes to the cost of learning materials, student diary, access to textbooks, CD-ROMs, DVDs etc.
3 3 Part-Time Students If you are aged 16 to 18 when your part time course commences, you may be exempt from paying tuition fees and registration/exam fees (apart from exam re-sit fees), providing the course is not a no concessions or Enriching Your Talents! course. You will have to pay fees for membership to professional bodies. Part time students aged 19 or older will be liable for course fees. See the section Course Fee Waivers (page 7) for details of exemptions. Payment of course fees can be arranged by instalments through direct debit. Please discuss this option on enrolment. Students aged 24 years and older, studying on a level 3 course or higher, may be able to apply for a 24+ Advanced Learning Loan. See the section 24+ Advanced Learning Loans (page 10) for more information. Other Course Costs Remember that other costs are incurred while studying. Your course may involve field trips or residential trips, art materials, hair and beauty items, stationery, etc. You should be informed of the essential course costs relating to your course(s) on enrolment if not, ask. You may be able to apply to the College for help to pay essential course costs. See the section on Discretionary Learner Support (page 8) for information on financial support available to students
4 4 Benefits IT MAY BE POSSIBLE TO CLAIM CERTAIN BENEFITS WHILE YOU STUDY. PLEASE CLARIFY YOUR POSITION REGARDING BENEFITS WITH YOUR LOCAL DEPARTMENT OF WORK & PENSIONS BEFORE ENROLLING ON A COURSE. Housing Benefit & Council Tax Benefit Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit are means tested benefits and are claimed from your local District or Borough Council. Full time students may be entitled to help if they: claim Income Support, income related Employment and Support Allowance or income based Job Seekers Allowance. are a lone parent have certain disabilities are over the qualifying age for pension credit. under 21 years old, not on a higher education course and started their course before they were 19 years old Part time students can claim Housing Benefit throughout their studies providing they satisfy the qualifying rules. Contact your local Council for advice or visit
5 5 Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) If you are a full time student, you cannot usually claim JSA because you are treated as unavailable for work. You can study while receiving JSA if you are studying on a part-time course (as evidenced by your Learning Agreement). You must continue to pass all the basic rules for JSA including being available for work and actively looking for work. Should a suitable job be offered to you, you must be able to rearrange your study around employment or leave your course. Income Support You may study full-time without losing Income Support if you are: A disabled student Are under 21 years old and estranged from your parents or with no one acting in place of your parents, and started your course when you were 18 years old or younger The lone parent of a child under 5 years of age for whom you are responsible for and who lives in the same household as you You can qualify for Income Support while a part-time student if you satisfy all the basic rules of entitlement and fit into one of the groups of people who can claim Income Support.
6 6 Council Tax Exemptions If you require evidence that you are a full-time student for the purpose of Council Tax, please call in to the College Information Service (CIS) Office on the ground floor of B Block or send a written request to the Data Request Administrator in the CIS Office stating your name, address, date of birth, course name and start/end dates. Student Bank Accounts If you are looking for a bank account, the main high street banks and building societies offer various incentives, particularly for student accounts. It is worth comparing the accounts on offer so that you choose the right one for you. Free College Meal Students aged between 16 and 18 on 31 August 2015 may be eligible for a free College meal if they, or their parents, are in receipt of the one or more of the following benefits Income Support, income-based Job Seekers Allowance, income-related Employment and Support Allowance, support under part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999, the guaranteed element of State Pension Credit, Child Tax Credit (provided they are not entitled to Working Tax Credit) and have an annual gross income of no more than 16,190, as assessed by Her Majesty s Revenue and Customs. Applications for this should be submitted on the College Bursary application form.
7 7 Course Fee Waivers If you are aged over 19 years old and studying up to a level 2 qualification, you may be entitled to a course fee waiver if you are in receipt of:- Job Seekers Allowance or Employment and Support Allowance (in the work related activity group) or Universal Credit because you are unemployed and are required to undertake skills training and need help to move into work, progress in work or remove a barrier to getting into work You may be eligible for a course fee waiver if you are between 19 and 23 at the start of your course and are studying your first full level-2 qualification or your first full level-3 qualification or are a level-4 jumper and studying your first level-4 qualification without having achieved a first full level-3 qualification For further information about course fee waivers, please contact our Admissions Team.
8 8 Discretionary Learner Support (DLS) Strode College manages the Discretionary Learner Support fund (DLS) to help students who are, or whose families are, on a low income or have a particular financial difficulty. Financial help, funded by the Education Funding Agency and the Skills Funding Agency, is available for all students aged 16 years or older, studying a course of further education at Strode College, whether they study on a full-time or part-time basis. Once a completed application form has been submitted together with all of the required supporting evidence, we will endeavour to inform you of the outcome of your application within 15 College working days. For further information about Discretionary Learner Support contact Mandy Greville, Financial Advisor, in the Student Support Centre on Discretionary Learner Support Students who are 19 years or older and are on a low income (less than 19,513 if single or 30,810 if cohabiting) or have a particular financial difficulty and are studying a course of further education, either on a fulltime or part-time basis, can apply for financial assistance towards their essential course costs from the 19+ Discretionary Learner Support fund. Those students using Professional and Career Development Loans may receive limited additional help from the DLS fund, if eligible.
9 Bursary The Bursary scheme is made up of two parts:- Guaranteed Payment Scheme Discretionary Learner Support It is administered by the College and receipt of the bursary is conditional on the student meeting expected standards of behaviour, attendance and quality of work Bursary - Guaranteed Payment Scheme Students aged under 19 years old who are in vulnerable groups - those in care or care leavers; those in receipt of Income Support/Universal Credit in their own name; young people in receipt of Employment Support Allowance and Disability Living Allowance/Personal Independence Payments are eligible to receive a guaranteed bursary of up to The College has the flexibility to pay more to those who need it Bursary Discretionary Learner Support Students aged under 19 years old who come from a household with a low income (less than 26,000) can apply to the Bursary Fund for financial assistance towards their essential course costs such as materials and equipment.
10 Advanced Learning Loans 24+ Advanced Learning Loans have been introduced by the Government for learners aged 24 and over studying at level 3 or Level 4. To be eligible for one of these loans you need to be: Aged 24 or over at the start of your course Resident in the UK Undertaking an eligible course at an approved college or training organisation in England. Eligible courses include A Levels, Access to Higher Education Diplomas, other diplomas and certificates, that are approved for public funding. Qualifications not approved for public funding are not eligible for loans. Getting a loan doesn t depend on your income and credit checks aren t carried out. Repayment of the loan will depend on your income and won t begin until your income is over 21,000 a year. If you are unsure about taking out a loan and want to seek independent financial advice, visit the Money Advice Service website at The Money Advice Service is a free and independent financial service established by the Government and will be able to provide you with help and advice.
11 Advanced Learning Loans How To Apply If you are unsure whether the course you d like to take is right for you, then you can contact the National Careers Service on or visit their website at Once you have identified the qualification you wish to do, contact the College Admissions Team, who will be able to confirm whether there are places available on the course. Once you have been offered a place on your course, you will be sent a Funding and Information Letter which contains the information needed to make a loan application. Loan applications can be made on line or application forms downloaded from You will need to provide: Details of the course you wish to study Details of the College Amount of Tuition fee Amount of Loan you wish to take out Personal details and evidence to confirm your identity. For UK passport holders, this will just be your valid UK passport details. National Insurance number
12 Advanced Learning Loans How To Apply (cont) You can apply for a loan once your course has started and your loan application will last for the duration of the course, even when the course lasts for more than one year, so there is no need to reapply each year. If you change your mind before the start of the course and decide you no longer want to undertake your course or you don t want to take out a loan for the course, then simply contact Student Finance England who will be able to cancel your loan application. If you change your mind once you ve started your course and leave your course after more than 2 weeks then you will be liable to repay the loan payments made on your behalf, which will be based on the length of time you attended the course. 24+ Advanced Learning Loans Fees There s a maximum amount of loan available based on the type of qualification you re doing. The College will be able to advise you of this amount. You can take out a loan for the maximum amount to cover your tuition or you can pay all or part of the tuition fee yourself. If you leave your course part way through your course, you will not have to repay the full loan amount. The loan is paid to the College in line with your attendance. When you stop attending, payments will stop and you will only be liable to repay the amount (plus any accrued interest) that s already been paid to the College. If you leave part way through your course you may be required to pay the College the remainder of the fees
13 Advanced Learning Loans Repayment Loan repayments will be automatically deducted from your earnings through the tax system once you ve left your course and your income is above 21,000. Repayments will start from April 2016 and will be 9% of your income over the 21,000 threshold. Where learners have taken out more than one loan, repayments will be amalgamated into a single monthly payment. You can make voluntary repayments at any time to pay off your loan more quickly. Any outstanding balance on the Loan amount will be written off after 30 years. Repayments will not be taken out of pensions and no liability is carried forward after death. 24+ Advanced Learning Loans Bursary Fund Learners who are funded through the 24+ Advanced Learning Loan scheme may be eligible for additional help towards childcare and travel costs from the 24+ Advanced Learning Loan Bursary Fund. For further information contact Mandy Greville, Financial Advisor, in the Student Support Centre on It s important you consider your own circumstances and look into all options for paying for your course before choosing to take out a 24+ Advanced Learning Loan. This is not the responsibility of the College. If you want advice on managing your finances, you can get impartial money advice from the Money Advice Service at moneyadviceservice.org.uk.
14 14 Transport to College Parking is limited at Strode College, and we encourage all students to travel by public transport wherever possible. Full time students travelling by bus are able to purchase a County Ticket Bus Pass from Somerset County Council (SCC). The cost for this is 675 for the academic year 2015/2016. The County Ticket entitles the holder to travel throughout Somerset and on cross border routes to and from Wiltshire, Dorset and Devon North Somerset and Bath & North East Somerset. Unless stated otherwise, students may use these flexible tickets to travel at any time of the day, evenings, on weekends and during vacations. Full details of operators providing unrestricted and restricted County Ticket services can be found on the application form. To apply, please download an application form from the SCC website For further information, advice and guidance on transport to and from College and the County Ticket Bus Pass scheme, please contact our Admissions team on
15 15 Strode College Travel Bursary All full time students who buy a Somerset County Ticket Bus Pass will receive 175 from Strode College towards the cost of the ticket. There is no need to apply for this bursary, but bank details are required for reimbursement. Those students aged under 19 years old who have a family income below 26,000 (gross), can receive additional support of 300 towards the cost of the Somerset County Ticket bus pass. For further information and application form contact Mandy Greville, Financial Advisor, in the Student Support Centre on Care to Learn The aim of Care to Learn is to give financial support to teenage parents who want to continue their education or training and need help with the cost of their childcare and travel expenses. If you are aged less than 20 years old at the start of the academic year and require financial assistance towards the cost of childcare, please apply online to Care to Learn at or contact Care to Learn on
16 16 Student Financial Support for University Level Study Students applying for university level courses will need to apply for funding through Student Finance England (SFE). Information about this can be found at in the Education section. There are also information leaflets outside the Careers Room in the Learning Centre. You can ask specific questions about applying and assessment by contacting SFE on The College Careers Adviser, Chris Harvey, can answer broader questions about how much support you can get and address any concerns you may have about the cost of university study and can be contacted on Educational Trusts and Charities In some circumstances you may be eligible for help from Trusts and Charities. For further information contact Mandy Greville, Financial Advisor, in the Student Support Centre on
17 17 Professional and Career Development Loans A Professional and Career Development Loan is a bank loan. You make an agreement with a participating bank to borrow an amount between 300 and 10,000. Then once you ve stopped studying, you pay it back in the normal way. The difference with a Professional and Career Development Loan is that the government pays the interest on the loan while you re studying and for one month afterwards. After this, you ll pay interest at the rate fixed when you took out the loan. Interest rates on the loans are set so they re competitive with other unsecured personal loans that are commercially available. To get a Professional and Career Development Loan application pack, call National Careers Service on But before you apply, it s important to be sure that a Professional and Career Development Loan is the best way for you to get help paying for learning that leads to work.
18 18 Other Information Stationery, art materials, College clothing, memory sticks and many other useful items can be purchased at competitive prices from the College Shop, located in A Block near the Refectory. You can also buy print credits there and have photocopying, binding and laminating done by the shop staff. Educational Visits are paid for at the College Shop. You may be asked for your student ID or proof of enrolment. Useful Websites Home.aspx
19 19 Checklist Am I eligible for Discretionary Support Funds? Can I apply for a 24+ Advanced Learning Loan? Can I claim benefits while studying? Do I have to pay course fees? What costs does the course involve? Clothing? Materials? Stationery? Books? Trips? Will I have to pay an awarding body registration fees or exam fees? Will I receive a Student Loan (HE students only)? Do I have enough income to complete the course? For further information contact Mandy Greville, Financial Advisor, in the Student Support Centre on
20 20 Further Information Discretionary Support Funds, Financial queries Student Support Centre Mandy Greville, Financial Advisor Career, Higher Education & Adult Guidance Chris Harvey Admissions Full Time Admissions Part Time Admissions Transport Exams Exams Team This information is correct at the time of going to press (June 2015). We cannot accept any liability for any inaccuracies. 2015/2016 Financial Help for Students. Strode College, Church Road, Street, Somerset, BA16 0AB Tel No: Fax No:
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