This is an update to the original finding your funding post as some things have changed significantly. That post is still useful for a discussion of different prices and considerations but benefit remissions and funding rules need an update. How this applies to any specific course you are looking at can be checked directly with the provider, this is a guide to what is going on generally.
It used to be that FE colleges and other government funded learning organisations could offer significant reductions in course fees to people on most income-based benefits. The funding body, the Learning and Skills Council has been wound down and replaced by the Young Peoples Learning Agency and the Skills Funding Agency for adults. From August 2011 the benefits (and therefore people) entitled for those reductions will be cut massively.
The only benefits eligible for such a reduction (if the course is funded by the SFA) will be:
- Job Seekers Allowance and Employment Support Allowance
The distinction now is anyone with any money coming in at all is no longer eligible and the fee reduction will only be offered to people “unemployed on active benefits”, so out goes working tax credit, housing benefit, income support and the like.
The reductions available to students with lower level qualifications is also changing: whereas anyone without a level three qualification was eligible for a reduction of the same level course this is now only available to 19-25 year olds. The “level remission” eligibility is now simply:
- Anyone without a level 2 qualification (5 or more GCSEs at C or above, NVQ level 2 etc)
- 19-25 year olds without a level 3 qualification (A level, NVQ3 etc)
The Adult Learning Grant (and EMA for young people) have been scrapped and further education as a sector is seeing funding cuts of about 30%. (If you sense hostility in this post you would be right and I have timed it in advance of tomorrows March for the Alternative. Rant over!)