A Student Guide. Further Education Bursaries and Education Maintenance Allowances Session 2015/16

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1 A Student Guide to Further Education Bursaries and Education Maintenance Allowances Session 2015/16 ALL FULL TIME STUDENTS ATTENDING NON ADVANCED COURSES MUST COMPLETE THE BURSARY/EDUCATION MAINTENANCE ALLOWANCE FORM TO ENSURE COURSE COSTS ARE COVERED 1

2 All Scottish Further Education colleges subscribe to a single national Bursary policy. This policy sets out the conditions on which bursaries may be awarded and sets the rates for the calculation of each award. The college may also determine local policy and local arrangements within the framework set out in the national policy. This policy supports the aims of the Scottish Further and Higher Education Funding Council (SFC s) corporate plan. These encompass: fair access to a diverse range of learning programmes; learning provision that is relevant to students lives and careers, society and the economy, and of a high quality; the generation of effective knowledge exchange; and supporting Scotland s international ambitions. This booklet aims to provide guidance and information for those considering applying for a Bursary/Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA). It is not an exhaustive statement which can cover the full range of personal circumstances. Full details are contained in the Scottish Funding Council Policy (SFC) document which can be found on the SFC Website. 2

3 FURTHER EDUCATION BURSARY (Education Maintenance Allowance see page 12) 1. WHAT IS A BURSARY? A bursary is a means tested discretionary grant made by the college to help maintain you in education beyond the statutory school leaving age of 16 years. Depending on individual circumstances an award may include sums to cover maintenance for you and an adult dependant, travel expenses and necessary course expenses. 2. WHO CAN APPLY FOR A BURSARY? Anyone who satisfies the residential requirements set out in the Secretary of State s Direction may be eligible. In most cases, if you have been ordinarily resident in the United Kingdom for the three years prior to your date of application, and are resident in Scotland on the start date of your course you are likely to be eligible. There are a number of special cases in relation to residency requirements and we will provide full information as well as guidance for those affected by this issue. 3. WHICH COURSES ARE ELIGIBLE FOR BURSARY SUPPORT? Bursary support may be available for a course or programme of study which leads to an approved vocational qualification up to but not including Higher National Certificate. Usually such courses are validated by the Scottish Qualifications Authority or examined by the Scottish Examination Board. In special circumstances other programmes of study may be supported. Generally bursaries are made available to support a full-time student who attends a course which requires a full-time weekly commitment. 4. FOR HOW LONG WILL BURSARY SUPPORT BE AVAILABLE? It is expected that a vocational qualification will normally be completed within a one year course or programme. In certain circumstances, courses may be approved by the College Board for a maximum of three years of study. We will also offer bursary support for short full time/introductory programmes. 5. ARE ALL BURSARIES THE SAME? There are three categories of further education bursary which are applied according to your age. a student up to the age of 19 years of age a parentally supported student a self-supporting student 3

4 Category: Students up to the age of 19 years of age A student who is beyond their statutory school leaving date and up to 19 years of age on the start date of their course. Full-time students aged up to 19 will fall within the EMA programme. Students who turn 20 during the academic year 2015/16 will be assessed for bursary from the start of the year. If you are required to stay away from home whilst attending college you may be eligible for Residence costs or an away from home allowance from bursaries as well as an EMA weekly allowance. See page 11 for definition of an EMA student. Category: Parentally Supported Students Students who are aged 20 or over but under 25 years of age on the start date of their course. Category: Self-Supporting Students Students who are aged 25 or over on the start date of their course or students who have not yet reached the age of 25 prior to the start date of the course if one of the below conditions apply. The reason the self-supporting age is set at 25 is that the obligation for parents to support children undergoing education or training is set out in Section 1(5)(b) of the Family Law (Scotland ) Act This sets out the obligation of aliment and it covers both fees and student support. This can be found via the following link: Students who have not yet reached the age of 25 prior to the start date of the course may be considered as a self supporting student if one of the following applies: a) are married or living with a partner in an established relationship on or prior to the start date of the course (does not apply if that marriage broke down prior to start date of course; or b) have no parents living; or c) caring for a child dependant; or d) have supported themselves out of earnings for a period of no less than 3 years prior to the start of the course. Unless a student can prove three years of self-sufficiency by providing appropriate evidence as detailed below, parental support will be sought. The following circumstances may be counted as part of the 3 years: in employment and earning equal to or more than current income support levels; or supported by a partner with earnings equal to or more than current income support levels; or on a training programme operated on or behalf of the Employment Service, Scottish Executive (formerly Scottish Office) or Scottish Enterprise or Highlands and Islands Enterprise; or 4

5 in receipt of unemployment benefit/job seekers allowance and/or can provide confirmation that they were available or registered for employment or actively seeking employment; or in receipt of sickness benefit, invalidity pension, incapacity benefit, maternity allowance, severe disablement allowance, statutory sick pay or statutory maternity pay; or in receipt of income support or New Deal payments; or proof from the relevant social services department to confirm the student has been in care for the necessary qualifying period; or caring for a person (adult or child) who is dependent on them. (primary carer). a copy of a formal rent agreement for the relevant period; or in receipt of housing benefit for the relevant period; or proof of estrangement from parents. Documentary evidence covering the full 3 year period must be provided if you are under 25 years of age and wish to apply as a self supporting student. The college reserves the right to apply additional eligibility criteria. 6. WHAT IF I HAVE STUDIED BEFORE? If you were under 18 years of age when you last studied, you are eligible to make an application for bursary support. If you have received financial support to study within the last four years your application will be considered subject to guidelines laid down by the Scottish Further and Higher Education Funding Council (SFC). Full details of previous study must be submitted giving dates, course attended, funding received and qualification gained. A supporting letter outlining why you should be funded for a further course should be submitted with the bursary application. If you did not complete the course of study due to illness, a doctor s certificate must be submitted in support of your application. If you did not complete for any other reason then we require a written account outlining the full circumstances. The college may have access to a national database of information on previous student awards which can be used to vet applications. 7. WHAT IF I AM IN RECEIPT OF BENEFITS? You are not entitled to receive a maintenance bursary and benefits at the same time. If you are in receipt of JSA or Income Support and you are required to be available for work you must sign off and apply for a maintenance bursary. 5

6 If you are in any of the following categories you will be expected to remain on your benefits and apply for a non maintenance bursary for help with approved study and travel expenses. (These expenses may be means tested in certain circumstances). Single parents in receipt of Income Support. Single parents who have been working prior to starting a full time course at college would be expected to claim Income Support and apply for a nonmaintenance bursary if your youngest child is under the age of 5. * This information is subject to change. For further clarification please contact your local Lone Parent Adviser. Applicants under 19 years of age who are estranged from their parents should claim Income Support and apply for a non-maintenance bursary. Applicants whose spouse/partner has a right to claim benefits and who themselves are not required to register as being available for work. Applicants who are in receipt of certain DWP benefits and not required to register as being available for work. Applicants in receipt of Incapacity Benefit. 8. WHAT WILL THE BURSARY CONSIST OF? According to the needs of the individual the bursary may include sums to cover the costs of:- tuition fees maintenance allowance, taking account of an adult dependant if applicable residence fees (full or partial dependent on household income) personal allowance if staying in the college residence study expenses for necessary materials, clothing and equipment - this will be provided in kind by the college necessary and reasonable travelling expenses allowance for students with additional support needs for learning Maintenance allowances are intended to go towards board and lodging, clothing, laundry, pocket money and living expenses for the short vacations which occur in the course of the academic year. Maintenance allowances are not intended to provide support during the summer vacation. 9. WHEN SHOULD I APPLY? When you have been offered a place on a college course or programme and you have accepted that place in writing then you should apply for a bursary as quickly as possible. A completed bursary application form is required for ALL students prior to commencing studies in Session 2015/16. 6

7 10. WHAT KIND OF INFORMATION WILL I BE ASKED TO PROVIDE? When you complete the Further Education Bursary application you will be asked to provide information on the following:- Personal details - name, age, address etc Details of the course/programme you wish to study Details of your bank account Details of previous financial support for education Details of your own or parental income, including child maintenance/support Details of your proposed travel arrangements Details of DWP benefits, including working tax credit You are asked to supply copies of original documents which will be kept on file for audit purposes. The college reserve the right to request original documents for review. Failure to provide sufficient documentary evidence will result in delays to your application being processed. If you are unable to provide the required documents at the time of application then the college can, at its discretion, offer a Provisional award. These awards may be adjusted on receipt of the necessary documentation. Failure to provide the information can result in the award being suspended. 11. HOW WILL THE INFORMATION BE PROCESSED? All information supplied will be treated confidentially and when processed it will be stored under the terms of the 1998 Data Protection Act on a computer system at the college. 12. HOW WILL I BE ASSESSED? You will be asked to complete a standard application form and to provide full details of your personal and domestic circumstances. Students who live in the parental home will be awarded a standard maintenance allowance while students who live in the matrimonial home or who live independently and who satisfy criteria set by the college will normally be eligible for a higher maintenance allowance. In addition, allowances may also be paid for a dependent spouse according to predetermined criteria. Your assessment will also take account of any financial contribution which you, your parents, step-parent, mother/father s partner or spouse/partner could reasonably be expected to make towards your expenses. Assessment of this contribution is made against the gross aggregated household income of both parents, step-parent, mother/father s partner, spouse/partner or the applicant as appropriate. 13. HOW MUCH WILL I RECEIVE? The actual amount paid to you depends on your personal circumstances. colleges in Scotland offer the same basic bursary rate. All 7

8 The basic allowance is shown as a weekly rate for guidance only. Bursaries are normally paid four weekly. Standard (at home) Allowance Higher (away from home) Allowance Students up to 19 (EMA) N/A Allowance or Residence Costs Parentally supported students Self-supporting students ADDITIONAL WEEKLY ALLOWANCES a) Dependant Allowance Paid for an adult dependant The above allowance will only be considered when the adult dependant is totally dependent on your income, e.g. has no earned/unearned income of their own and not entitled to claim benefit in their own right. b) Additional Support Needs for Learning Allowance Special consideration will be given to disabled students who are obliged to incur additional expenditure arising from their attendance at college. TRAVEL EXPENSES If your home is outwith a 2 mile radius of the college you may qualify for travelling expenses. No payment for travel expenses will be made where transport is provided by the college. Students under the age of 18 at the start of the course will receive help with travel expenses. Travel expenses for students over the age of 18 at the start of the course are means tested and eligible students will be issued with travel expenses or in some cases a bus pass. Students are expected to access the cheapest mode of public transport. Please note: Full travel costs may not be met by the college. You may be eligible to apply for additional support through the Discretionary Fund. Students must have enrolled and be actively taking part in a full time further education course before applying. Application forms are available from your campus Education Office after the start of your course. STUDY EXPENSES Study expenses may include books, instruments, tools, materials, PPE and special clothing which are specific to the course of study you are undertaking. If you qualify for expenses, you will be issued with the items at the start of the course. Students under 18yrs who have been assessed as meeting the residency criteria will not have this element of their bursary award means tested. 8

9 14. STUDENT STAYING IN THE COLLEGE RESIDENCE Depending on household income, students staying in the college residence may be eligible to have some of their accommodation costs paid from the bursary fund. The amount awarded will be transferred directly to the residence. A student may also be eligible to receive a personal allowance of per week. 15. WILL I HAVE TO MAKE A CONTRIBUTION? The following will be taken into account when calculating your award; Any unearned income which you expect to receive during your time at college Gross income of your parent(s), step-parent, mother/father s partner OR spouse/ partner Any brothers and/or sisters who are dependent on your parents when parental income is used OR dependants of yourself and spouse/partner The contribution is the amount left after all calculations have been carried out. The contribution is then deducted from the full bursary award and the remainder is the amount you will receive. If the contribution is higher than the bursary award then you will be given a non-maintenance award. Details of Your Income You are asked to provide details of any unearned income you expect to receive during your time at college, e.g. income replacement benefits, pensions, trust income, maintenance/alimony payments, Working Tax Credit etc. The maximum bursary will be reduced as follows: Unearned Income: Earned Income: The award will be reduced on a pound for pound basis for unearned income in excess of per week. Income from employment will be disregarded. Details of Parental/Step-Parent, Mother/Father s Partner, Spouse/Partner Income The income used for these assessments is normally the gross earnings for the previous tax year, e.g. P60, accounts or evidence of taxable income if you are self employed, Working Tax Credits, income from pensions, alimony or maintenance, bank or building society interest, dividends, taxable benefits etc. If there are other students in the family who are in receipt of SAAS or bursary awards then the parental/step-parent, mother/father s partner, spouse/partner contribution (if any) will be divided among the students and deducted from the award. To help you estimate your contribution to the bursary award the scales are listed below: 9

10 Parental (includes step-parent, mother/father s partner) Contribution Students up to the age of 19 PARENTAL INCOME CONTRIBUTION Less than 20, , , , , , Over 34, If the income identified is 20,351 or more, then the assessable parent will be liable to contribute to a student s support. Colleges will calculate this based on an initial payment of 45 and a payment of 1 for every 9 over 20,351. Parental (includes step-parent, mother/father s partner) Contribution Parentally supported students (aged 20 to 25 years old) PARENTAL INCOME CONTRIBUTION Less than 24, , , ,735 1, ,664 2, ,099 3, , ,000 3, If the income identified is 24,275 or more, then the assessable parent will be liable to contribute to a student s support. Colleges will calculate this based on an initial payment of 45 and a payment of 1 for every 9 over 24,275 up to a threshold of 50,977 where it will change to 1 for every Self-supporting Student INCOME CONTRIBUTION Less than 20, , , ,538 1, ,568 3, ,000 3, ,300 3,

11 If the income identified is 20,643 or more, then the partner/spouse will be liable to contribute to a student s support. This contribution is calculated as an initial payment of 45 and a payment of 1 for every 9 over 20,643 up to a threshold of 50,977 where it will change to 1 for every The contribution will be reduced by 152 in respect of each child (other than the applicant or an award holder) dependent on the parents/spouse/partner. 16. HOW WILL I BE PAID? Payments will be paid into your bank account on a four weekly basis. Excepting the first instalment which you will receive into your bank account on the Friday of the first week provided you have completed the required paperwork. 17. WHAT ARE MY RESPONSIBILITIES? All bursaries are subject to the satisfactory conduct, progress and attendance of the holder and may be suspended or withdrawn where attendance falls below an acceptable level. You will be issued with guidelines on conditions of award at a later date. It is your responsibility to inform your Campus Education Office if your circumstances change or if you leave the course. 18. CAN I APPEAL? Bursaries are assessed in accordance with national and college policies and guidelines. Appeal can be made in writing to the Student Finance Support Manager, SRUC, Elmwood Campus, Carslogie Road, Cupar, Fife, KY15 4JB 19. HOW CAN I FIND OUT MORE? The college offers a range of information, guidance and support services where specialist staff will deal with your enquiry. You can find out more by making a phone call, dropping in to college or by making an appointment with the Campus Education Office staff. The Scottish Government s website showing the cost of learning under the learner funding section provides high level information for students and can be found via the following web link: ing 11

12 EDUCATION MAINTENANCE ALLOWANCE (EMA) 1. WHAT IS AN EMA? An EMA is an allowance of per week for students up to the age of 19 years of age and who are planning to stay in further education after they reach the statutory school leaving age (i.e. after the end of their compulsory education). Payments will be made direct to your bank account. 2. WHO WILL BE ENTITLED TO AN EMA? Income Eligibility EMA will be means tested. Gross taxable income will govern the nature and amount of support students may receive. Eligibility for 30 per week will be for those in households of income of up to 20,351 and income of up to 22,403 for households with more than one dependent child (as well as applying to all children under the age of 16, this applies to those who are over the age of 16 and up to the age of 25, if they are in further or higher education and are parentally supported). 3. WHEN SHOULD I APPLY? When you have been offered a place on a college course and you have accepted that place in writing then you should apply for an EMA as soon as possible. Applications received six weeks after course start date will only be eligible for payment from the date of receipt of the application.. Students who are 15 years old at the start of the course but will turn 16 after 1 October 2015 and before 28 February 2016, should complete and submit the application form at the start of the course. If eligible, payments commence automatically in January 2016 providing all other criteria is met. 4. CAN I GET HELP WITH OTHER COSTS? EMA holders who have to stay away from the parental home may be eligible for an away from parental home element from bursaries. This allowance amounts to per week and is in addition to the EMA allowance. EMA holders who stay in the residence may be eligible to have some accommodation costs met from bursaries in addition to the EMA allowance. EMA holders will also be assessed for a Further Education Bursary to cover travel and study expenses which are not means tested for those under HOW WILL I BE ASSESSED? Applicants will require to satisfy a financial assessment, based on total taxable parental income. Documentary proof will require to be supplied to support the application. The financial assessment will be based on the tax year ending 5 April The information requested is similar to that required for a bursary assessment. 12

13 6. HOW WILL I BE PAID? Directly into your bank account on a two-weekly basis two weeks in arrears. EMAs are not paid over the college holidays. 7. WHAT ARE MY RESPONSIBILITIES? You must enter into a Learning Agreement with the College. All EMAs are subject to the satisfactory conduct, progress and attendance of the holder. Payment can be withheld, without warning, based on the following: i) if attendance falls below 100% in any week no payment will be made for that week unless all absence has been covered by a medical or self certificate or been approved by college staff prior to absence. A maximum of 5 college days will be accepted in a 12 week period for self certificates. ii) if Learning Agreement conditions are not met (attainment and conduct) 8. CAN I APPEAL? EMAs are assessed in accordance with national and college policies. As part of college policy there is provision for an appeals procedure and information about this procedure will be provided on request from the Student Finance Support Manager. The completed application form for Further Education Bursary/Education Maintenance Allowance should be returned to: Central Funding Team SRUC Elmwood Campus Carslogie Road Cupar Fife KY15 4JB Direct Phone Nos: If you have any queries regarding completion of your application please contact us. The information within this guide is subject to change inline with any SFC policy amendments. 13

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