Fees and Loans - Buckinghamshire Adult Learning

Fees and Loans

Fees & Loans

If you are unable to access or complete your learning programme because of financial considerations, we may be able to offer financial help towards tuition fees. For accredited courses, we might also be able to help with exam fees and other associated costs, such as travel, childcare, annual registration fee and materials.

Support for individuals requiring additional information or guidance during the application process is provided by Student Finance England. This can be accessed by calling 0300100 0607. More information is also available at: • nationalcareersservice.direct.gov.uk   • Advance learning loans.pdf • www.gov.uk/advanced-learning-loans/overview

Can I get help with my course costs?

If you have genuine financial difficulties that would prevent you from enrolling, you need to complete a Discretionary Learner Support Fund form. This form is available from any Adult Learning Centre or by phoning 01296 382403. Once submitted, we will review the information and let you know if we are able to provide some financial support. Please note, even if you pay reduced fees, additional costs such as registration fees, and/or materials may still be payable.

Certain courses are free of charge if you meet certain eligibility requirements. However, if you have not completed a paper enrolment form, we need you to sign a form to confirm this. Our accredited course codes end in the letter ‘F’.

We need to be sure that our funds are used to support those who need financial help, but we also want to keep the process as simple as possible. Where the financial help you need does not exceed £250, we only require proof of benefit and a signed statement. Where greater support is needed, we will need to collect additional information and evidence of household income. To be eligible, learners must at the time of enrolment have been a resident in the UK or EU for the past three years, or they must be ordinarily resident and be a partner of someone who meets these rules.
For students aged 16 – 18 in full-time education, their area of study must be different to that of their full-time course. They also need to have signed authorisation from their school or college in confirmation and to signify approval.
Please note: details are subject to change in response to Government guidance. Non-UK or EU learners will be charged £10 per hour overseas rate.

What does a course code ending in 'F' mean?

The course is FREE if:
• you are aged 16-18 on 31 August 2017 OR
• you are 19-23 and do not have 5 GCSEs at A*-C (or equivalent) OR
• you are 19-23 and do not have 2 AS/A Levels OR
• you are studying English or maths and do not have a GCSE A*-C in the subject OR
• it is Level 2 or below and is directly relevant to your employment prospects and the needs of the local labour market, plus:
• you are your partner are in receipt of a means tested benefit (please refer to List 1) and you want to enter employment OR
• you want to enter employment and are a dependent of someone in receipt of a means tested benefit (please refer to List 1)

List 1
• Job Seeker’s allowance
• Employment and Support allowance (Work Related Activity Group)
• Universal Credit
• Income Support Housing Benefit
• Council Tax Benefit (not single occupancy)

What does course code ending in 'A' mean?

Course code ends in ‘A’
We will pay the first £75 of your course fee, plus give you a 50% reduction on the balance, up to a maximum of £200 per year if:
• you or your partner are in receipt of a means tested benefit (please refer to List 2) OR
• you are a dependent of someone in receipt of a means tested benefit (please refer to List 2) OR
• you are in receipt of Working Tax Credit or Disability Living Allowance or Incapacity Benefit and household earned income is less than £25,000 (excluding Disability Living Allowance or Incapacity Benefit).

List 2
• Job Seeker’s allowance
• Employment and Support allowance (Work Related Activity Group)
• Universal Credit
• Income Support Housing Benefit
• Council Tax Benefit (not single occupancy)
• Guaranteed Pension Credit
• Employment Support allowance (contribution based)

Can I get further advice?

Our staff are trained to give information and advice on fees. If you would like further assistance, please phone 01296 382403 or email studentenquiries@buckscc.gov.uk

Are there registration and exam board fees?

An annual £10 registration fee applies upon enrolment.  The registration fee is not applicable for one-day workshops’

Exam board fees are included in the course fee except where indicated.

Are fees effected by the size of the group?

Fees for courses are based on a minimum enrolment of nine learners. If the class does not reach its minimum number we may close the course or offer you the opportunity to reduce the number of weeks with no corresponding reduction is fees or we may increase the fee to the small group rate of £7.75 per hour.

I am an overseas learner...

Please note that learners who have not been living in the UK or EU residents who have not been living in the EEA for at least the last three years will need to pay the Overseas Student Rate for any course which is £10.50 per hour.

Does my age affect what I pay?

The minimum age to join a course is 16 years for accredited courses. 16-18 year olds in full-time education may need signed authorisation from their school or college when they join a Buckinghamshire Adult Learning course. Most qualification courses, i.e. those ending in an ‘F’, will be provided free of charge provided the course is not a GCSE resit programme or connected with any full-time programme that they are on at school. Full fees need to be paid for any non-qualifying course.

Payment by Direct Debit

To help spread the cost of your learning, we offer a direct debit option for course fees over £150. Where the course is more than 25 weeks, a 34% deposit is due, followed by two equal direct debit payments due on 15 November and 15 February. In all other cases, a 25% deposit is payable followed by three consecutive month direct debit payments.

A Direct Debit mandate must be returned within ten working days, or the full fees become immediately payable. We will phone you to obtain a debit or credit payment. If you would like to discuss the direct debit option in more detail, please phone 01296 382403.

Can I get help with childcare costs?

If you are claiming a full concession for a qualification course, you may be entitled to apply for help with childcare costs, for the time you are attending your course/s. This help is available for those aged 20 and over.

Can I get help with travel and material costs?

If you are claiming a full concession for a priority qualification course, you may also be able to claim back the cost of getting to your course and for the cost of essential books and course materials.

Course fees do not include materials or book costs, except where otherwise stated. It is inadvisable to buy materials for your course until you are certain it is running and until your request for financial assistance has been approved. For further details, contact our Adult Learning Enrolment team on 01296 383582.

** the amount we have available to fund discounts and provide financial assistance towards other costs is limited. Applications may not be successful if funds have already been committed. Once support has been offered, however, this will apply for the whole of the course. In order to support as many students as possible, we may limit the amount provided to an individual learner.

Course Loans

Do you want to do a Level 3 or higher course?

Will you be aged 19 – 23 and already have a first, full Level 3 OR you are aged 24+?

Then you can apply for a loan to cover the cost of your course

From 1 August 2013, the Skills Funding Agency will no longer fund us directly for anyone aged 24 or over undertaking a Level 3 (or higher) qualification, unless this is an Apprenticeship programme. Instead you can apply for a loan from the Student Loans Company. This loan is referred to as a ‘Learning Loan’. The loan is not means-tested and anyone can apply. However, the minimum loan that can be taken out is £300. This loan starts to be repayable once earned income exceeds £21,000 per annum and any balance that has not been repaid is written off after 30 years.

What courses/qualifications are covered?

The Level 3 qualifications that we offer include the following:

  • Certificate & Diploma in Accounting (AAT) – Level 3
  • CACHE – Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools – Level 3

What will the qualification cost me?

For every qualification, there will be a specified maximum amount of loan that can be applied for. In all cases, we have set our fees at this amount so that the full tuition fees may be funded through a loan. You do not have to take out the full amount of the loan. You can pay all or some of the fees directly. The loan does not cover materials and other costs relating to your qualification.

What information do I need to apply for a loan?

Once you have chosen the course that interests you and you decide to enrol please contact us and we will send you a Learning and Funding Information Letter. This will contain all the essential information you will need to complete an application, should you decide to apply for a loan from the Student Loan Company. The Student Loan Company will notify you if your application has been successful. It is your responsibility to ensure the loan is available to cover the cost of your course. If the loan application is not approved you will be personally liable for the fees.

How much will I need to repay?

Your monthly repayments will be based on your income. You will only start making repayments when your income is more than £404 per week, £1,750 per month or £21,000 per year. The amount of the repayment will be 9% of your income above these amounts.

What happens if I stop working?

If you stop working, so that your income drops below £21,000, (£1,750 per month or £404 per week), your loan repayments will be suspended.

How much interest will I pay?

While you are studying, the interest rate is Retail Price Index (RPI) plus 3%. After April 2016, the interest is based on your income:

  • £21,000 or less – RPI
  • £21,000 to £41,000 – RPI plus up to 3% depending on income
  • £41,000 and over – RPI plus 3%

Can I start my course before I have obtained my loan?

If you enrol and state that your method of payment will be a Learning Loan, we will allow you to start your course and remain on it for a maximum of six weeks, whilst the loan facility is being organised. However, we will require you to complete a direct debit mandate to enable us to collect the fees over the remainder of your course, should either the loan request be declined or you decide not to proceed with the loan application. This will only be processed once the 6 weeks have elapsed and if we have not received any payments from the Student Loan Company by this time. If subsequently we do receive such fees, we will refund you appropriately.

Please remember – By enrolling on a course, you are agreeing to pay the total price for the whole course, including all outstanding balances. Once your loan application has been approved, the Student Loan Company will on your behalf, pay us a pro-rata amount of the loan you have taken out. Whilst you are attending, if you withdraw, the Student Loan Company will not make any further payments to us and the loan you have taken out will not increase any further. However, you will be liable for the balance of the fees due in respect of the course on which you have enrolled in. Please also remember that if the Student Loan Company rejects your application you will still be responsible for the total price of the course.

How much interest will I pay?

It’s important for you to consider your own circumstances and look into all options for paying for your course before choosing to take out a loan. You can get individual financial advice from the Money Advice Service at www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk