There are various sources of finance available to students depending on their individual circumstances.
Find out below whether you will need to pay for your course or if you might be entitled to any financial assistance.
The other pages in this section provide information on the other forms of financial help available.
Do I have to pay for my course?
16 to 18-year-olds
If you are aged between 16 and 18 when you start your course and are taking a course leading to a qualification, the tuition and exam fees are free. However, there may be some additional costs for optional trips, residentials, recommended text books and professional start up kits.
19-year-olds and over
If you're aged 19 or over, you may need to pay tuition fees and exam fees, but many students will be eligible for discounts on these.
- If you're 19 to 23 and do not already hold a full Level 2 (five or more GCSEs at Grade A* to C; NVQ Level 2 or equivalent) or full Level 3 (an Access to Higher Education Course, BTEC National Certificate or Diploma, NVQ Level 3, or two or more A Levels or equivalent) qualification you will be exempt from paying tuition fee and exam fees if you undertake a full Level 2 or full Level 3 qualifications.
- If you are 19 and over, undertaking an Entry Level, Level 1 or Level 2 course you may be exempt from paying tuition and exam fees if you receive an active benefit (e.g. Universal Credit, Employment Support Allowance, Job Seekers Allowance) and are seeking work.
- If you are aged 19 and over and study GCSE Maths or English and do not already hold a C grade or higher in the subject that you are studying you will be exempt from paying tuition fee and exam fees.
The bursary and the Discretionary Learning Support Fund
You may be eligible for financial support towards the cost of studying a further education course at Weston College. To be eligible you will need to meet one of the following criteria:
- Your residual household income is under £32,000 (gross income less £1130 for every child aged under 19 at the 31 August 2018)
- You are in Care or are a Care Leaver
- You are an unaccompanied asylum seeker
Please note, that in order to process your application smoothly, it is helpful for you to apply over the summer holiday. This will enable College staff to make an early assessment of your needs.
16 to 18 Year Olds Discretionary Bursary and 19 plus Discretionary Learner Support Fund
Funds are available to help students in financial need with the cost of coming to College. If eligible, you could receive money for things like transport to College, meal vouchers or help towards the cost of books and equipment and other related expenses.
All FE students will be sent a letter in the first week of August explaining the operation of the 16 - 18 discretionary bursary / 19 plus Discretionary Learner Support Fund. You can also apply online by clicking the link above.
If you are a late applicant to the College and did not receive this letter or have mislaid it then do not worry, our student funding staff can assist you.
16 to 18 year olds Guaranteed Bursary
The government has a scheme where some students will be guaranteed a bursary of £1,200 next year. You can apply to get this if you are in one of the following categories.
- You are living in care and are aged 16 or 17
- You are a care leaver and are aged 16, 17 or 18
- You are aged 16, 17 or 18 and receiving Income Support in your own right
- You are aged 16 , 17 or 18 and receive both Employment Support Allowance and Disability Living Allowance in your own right
The £1200 Guaranteed Bursary is a package of support comprising bus passes, meals package, books and equipment.
Bus passes are available at a subsidised rate of £70 (5 day pass) or £110 (7 day pass) per term (from September 2018). Further details are shown in the Bus Travel link.
Help is also available from the 16 to 18 bursary towards the £70 (5 day bus pass) cost for the Spring and Summer terms, subject to satisfactory attendance. All students will need to pay for the first term's bus pass themselves.
Students receiving support from the bursary can opt to pay the top up to convert the free 5 day pass into a 7 day pass.
Lost or stolen passes are not replaced free of charge but can be replaced at the non subsidised rate of £125 (5 day pass) or £165 (day pass)
Professional start up Kit, uniform or residential trips
The fund will also contribute towards costs you may need for kit & uniform (Hair and Beauty or catering) in order to undertake professional work experience or placement.
Subject to funds being available there may be additional support towards residential trips during your studies at College. Consideration will be to written requests received from October half term onwards.
Advanced Learner Loans
Don't let fees hold you back from the perfect course - our advanced learner loans help thousands of people get the qualifications they need to succeed.
Due to the success of our previous 24+ loans in helping our students achieve nationally recognised qualifications, the government has now extended the age restriction to allow people as young as 19 to apply for the loan.
Advancer Learner Loans are an alternative to paying up front for your course, taking out a bank loan or career development loan. Advice concerning the best route for you can be sought from the Money Advice Service.
Advanced Learner Loans won't affect your credit rating. These loans aren't means tested and aren't based on your income or current financial situation. This means that you can take out an advanced learner loan if you need it to pay for your course or not.
Repayment is generous. With an advanced learner loan you won't have to pay a penny back until you're earning more than £21,000 a year. When you start earning this amount, you'll only pay back 9p in every £1 of what you earn above it.
You can take out up to four loans at once. They can be used to pay for vocational, technical and professional qualifications at Level 3 and above. This means you can take them out to pay for A Levels, Access to Higher Education, some apprenticeships, and a number of other courses at Weston College.
It's low interest and easy to repay. Repayments will be automatically calculated by your employer and taken from your salary. While you're studying you'll only be charged the rate of inflation plus 3%. If you finish your qualification and are earning £21,000 a year or less you'll only be charged the rate of inflation. If you earn over £21,000 you'll only be charged the rate of inflation plus up to 3%.
Plus, Student Finance England will write off the loan if you use it to pay for an Access to Higher Education course and progress on to complete a university degree, which means the debt will be cancelled.
It’s easy to apply for the advanced learner loan, as long as you are aged 19 or over and living in the UK on the first day of your course, studying in an approved training organisation such as Weston College, and studying at Level 3 to 6 on the National Framework.
Please note if you have previously had a loan for a specific course e.g. Access to HE you will not be able to take out a second loan for the same course if you repeat it.
Contact us for free information and advice about the loan by calling 01934 411 481 or emailing email@example.com
Frequently asked questions
Am I eligible for a 19+ Advanced Learner Loan?
From the 2018/2019 academic year anyone aged 19 or over can qualify for an Advanced Learner Loan. The scheme has also been expanded to cover not only level three and level four courses, but also some level five and level six courses.
To qualify for a loan you must be aged 19 or over and living in the UK on the first day of your course and you must have been living in the UK for at least three years.
To be eligible for a loan you need to be a UK national or have 'settled status', meaning there are no restrictions on how long you can stay in the UK.
What courses can I do?
The loan covers a range of courses including A Levels, Access to Higher Education, Certificates, Diplomas and more. Apprentices may also be able to apply for a loan if they take applicable courses in addition to their apprenticeship programme.
Can I get a loan if I already have a similar qualification (i.e. I already have an A Level)?
Yes. Any qualifications you have already achieved will not affect your ability to apply for your first loan.
However, once you have taken out one loan you will not be able to get another loan for the same type of course at the same level. For example, if you have taken out a loan to complete a Level 3 Certificate in Plumbing you could not take out another loan for a Level 3 Certificate in Construction but you could take out another loan for a Level 4 Certificate in Plumbing.
How many loans can I take out?
You can take out up to four Advanced Learner Loans in total, these can be taken at the same time if you wish.
How much money can I borrow?
The minimum Advanced Learner Loan is £300 and the maximum you can borrow will be the fee listed on the Learner Aims Record Service or college whichever is the lesser amount.
How do I apply?
To apply for a course you can fill out an application form by visiting us at one of our campuses and we can help you with your application.
After submitting your application you will be assessed by the Student Loans Company and they will contact you and the College once you have fulfilled the criteria.
For more information call 01934 411 411.
What information do I need to apply?
You will need to ask college for a Funding Information Letter for the course/s you intend to study this will give you all the course details that are need to complete your application..
You will also have to provide your personal details, including your National Insurance number and evidence to confirm your identity (e.g. a valid UK passport).
How will I pay back the loan?
You do not have to pay back any of your loan until the April following the end of your course and only when you are earning more than £21,000.
Once you begin earning £21,000 loan repayments will be automatically deducted from your salary at a rate of 9 per cent. For example, if your income is £22,000 you will pay back 9 per cent of £1,000, which works out at £7.50 each month.
If you take out an Advanced Learner Loan for an access to higher education course and go on to complete a higher education course your loan will be wiped off completely and you will not have to pay it back.
Care to Learn
Care to Learn is a government childcare scheme for young parents aged under 20, providing up to £160 a week for childcare costs incurred whilst taking part in full or part-time Further Education.
All 16-19 year old parents joining Weston College are entitled to financial support with childcare through the 'Care to Learn' scheme.
For older students, if you are on a low income or in receipt of a range of income-based benefits you may be eligible for financial support for childcare through the Discretionary Learner Support Fund.
What is Care to Learn?
The aim of Care to Learn is to give financial support to teenage parents (mums or dads) who want to continue their education or training and need help with the cost of their childcare.
Online applications are available at www.direct.gov.uk/caretolearn or by telephone 0800 121 8989.
Who can get help?
A young parent can get help with their childcare if they are:
- Aged under 20 years
- On a course that they started before they were 20
- On a course that receives some public funding
- At a college, school or other course
- On a work based learning programme (non-employed status).
College Care to Learn contact - Fiona Waters, College Registrar - firstname.lastname@example.org