From April 2021, the Lifetime Skills Guarantee gives adult learners (who will be studying for their first full Level 3 qualification) the opportunity to study without paying course fees. It is part of the government’s National Skills Fund to help adults to gain the skills they need for employment, and to improve their job prospects.
This Level 3 course offered at Colchester Institute is included in the Lifetime Skills Guarantee.
This programme will be free if you meet the eligibility criteria listed below. If these do not apply, you may need to pay a fee, and the fee is located further down the course information page. You can apply for a loan to cover all of your tuition fees.
Do I have to pay a fee?
The information in this section applies to this course, and as such may not apply to other courses with different funding criteria.
This course is for learners aged 19 and over.
You will not pay tuition fees for this course if you are:
aged 19-24 on the 31st August 2022 and have an active Education, Health and Care Plan
aged 19 and over at the start of this course and you do not already have a qualification at this level (a full Level 3 or equivalent).
* This means that you have not previously attained a full Level 3 or equivalent (2 A Levels or 4 AS Levels, or QAA Access to Higher Education (HE) Diploma at Level 3, or a Level 3 Tech level or applied general qualification (e.g. BTEC)).
In some cases, if you need to first enrol on a lower level course, before progressing to a level 3, this may also be fully funded by the government.
You will pay tuition fees if you are:
aged 19 and over at the start of this course and have previously achieved a full Level 3 qualification
Learners required to pay tuition fees can either self-fund (whereby you or your employer pays for the course) or apply for an Advanced Learner Loan to cover all, or part, of the tuition fees for this course.
The minimum loan you can get is £300, but the maximum will depend on how much the fees are and the type of course you take.
What if I am on a low income or unemployed?
From 1st April 2022 adults in England who already have an existing full Level 3 qualification or higher, or have previously achieved any other qualification included in the Level 3 adult offer, may be able to study this qualification for free.
You will not pay tuition fees provided that your qualification was achieved before 1st April 2021 and you meet either of the criteria below:
aged over 19, unemployed and in receipt of benefits
employed and earning under the National Living Wage annually (£18,525)
For students with an identified low household income, there may be financial support available through the College’s discretionary bursary fund. Although the funds cannot be used to pay for course fees they can be used to contribute towards other course related costs such as travel, childcare, books and equipment.
Advanced Learner Loans
Am I eligible for an Advanced Learner Loan?
To qualify for an advanced learner loan to cover the fees for this course you must be:
19 years old or over on the first day of your course (there’s no upper age limit)
A UK national or have ‘settled status’ (this means there are no restrictions on how long you can stay)
Living in the UK on the first day of your course, and have lived in the UK, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man for three years immediately before this
Most learners that fall into this bracket will be eligible, it doesn’t depend on your household income and there’s no credit check!
If your nationality or residency status is different to the above, then please contact the national Advanced Learner Loan helpline on 0300 100 0619 or check the Advanced Learner Loan website: https://www.gov.uk/advanced-learner-loan where you will be able to find further information on eligibility.
How do I apply for an Advanced Learner Loan?
Once you have applied and been offered a place on the course, the college will provide you with a ‘learning and funding information letter’. These are normally sent out in early July.
You need this to complete the loan application and you cannot apply for a loan until you have received this.
Once you have applied for a loan and it has been approved you will receive an official letter from Student Finance England.
Am I eligible for a bursary?
Applicants thinking of enrolling on this course can apply for funding to help with the costs associated with attending college. Bursary funds are targeted at students where there is an identified low household income.
If your household income is below £25,000 per annum, you are likely to be eligible for support through the 19+ Bursary Fund (19+ and taking your 1st Level 3 course) or Advanced Learner Loan Bursary Fund (for students paying tuition fees with an advanced learner loan).
The bursary fund cannot provide help with costs unrelated to your course, such as general living expenses, nor can it be used as an attendance incentive.
Applications to the fund are not normally considered if the household income exceeds £25,000 but may be considered in some instances if the household is experiencing severe financial hardship.
Funds are targeted at course related costs such as travel, childcare, books and equipment.
Regardless of income or employment status, students self-funding (including where an employer is covering course fees), are not eligible for financial assistance through any discretionary bursary funds.
When can I apply?
Bursary Fund applications for courses starting in the 2022/23 academic year will be open from June 1st 2022.
For courses starting in September 2022, applications should be made by 1st November 2022. If you find yourself in financial hardship after this date it is important that you still contact Student Services. Applications received after 1st November will be considered on a pro-rata basis subject to need and the availability of funds.
Where total course fees exceed £200 you (or your employer, if they are paying your course fees) can choose to pay your fees in instalments through a monthly payment plan.
40% of the fee or £500 (whichever is lower) will be payable at enrolment.
The balance must be paid within 6 months or by the end date if the course is less than 6 months in duration.
Payment in full in advance
Payment should be made in full at the time of enrolment. Acceptable payment methods include Debit Card and Credit Card (excluding American Express). Please note that we are no longer able to accept cash or cheque payments.
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