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.
- If you’re aged 19 or over, you could access a level 3 qualification for free. This is part of the support available from the government to help you gain the skills you need to get the job you want - whatever your stage of life. You can get a free level 3 qualification if you:
- Are 19 or over and do not already have a level 3 qualification.
- Already have a level 3 qualification or higher but who meet the ‘Low Wage’ criteria by earning below the National Living Wage annually (£20,319 from April 2023).
- Already have a level 3 qualification or higher but are unemployed Please note, not all Level 3 courses are eligible.
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.
Advancer Learner Loans are available for students aged 19 and over who want to undertake FE courses at Level 3 or higher. They 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 Helper Service.
Advanced Learner Loans won't affect your credit rating, they aren't means tested and aren't based on your income or current financial situation.
Repayment is generous. With an Advanced Learner Loan you won't have to pay a penny back until the April following your course completion and then only if you are earning over £27,295.00 a year. When you start earning over 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 and can get more than one at the same time. 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. You will be charged interest (Retail Price Index) whilst you complete your course and until your secure work with a salary of over £27,295.00. Once you are earning £27,295.00 or more repayments will be automatically calculated by your employer and taken from your salary (interest will be Retail Price Index and up to +3%)
Access to HE Students, if you take out and Advanced Learner Loan, progress to and complete a Higher Education course then the government will “write off” your Advanced Learner Loan balance.
To qualify for a loan you must be aged 19 or over and living in the UK on the first day of your course, be a UK national or have “settled status” and you must have been living in the UK, Channel Islands or Isle of Man for at least three years.
Advanced Learner Loan covers a range of courses at Level 3 and above 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.
Yes, qualifications you have already achieved will not affect your Advanced Learner Loan application.
Whilst you can only take out one loan for an Access to HE course, you can take loans out for two similar level courses e.g. L3 Certificate in Plumbing and L3 Certificate in Plastering
You can take out up to four Advanced Learner Loans in total, these can be taken at the same time if you wish.
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.
Applications are done online via the Student Finance England website https://www.gov.uk/advanced-learner-loan/how-to-apply .
If you would like some support with this application please visit College Information Services at one of the campus receptions
For more information call 01934 411411
You will need to ask college for a “Funding Information Letter” which gives the details, for the course you intend to study, for your application.
You will also need to be able to prove your identity either by a Passport or a Birth Certificate as well as providing your National Insurance number
Advanced Learner Loans repayments are deducted from your salary before you receive it.
Remember you only start repaying your Advanced Learner Loan once you are earning £27,295.00 or more. You will pay back 9% of any earnings over the £27,295.00 threshold. E.g. 9% of £3205 (£30,500 - £27,295) which is £288.54 annually or £24.04 per month
Any outstanding balance is written off 30 years after the scheduled course end date.
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 https://www.gov.uk/care-to-learn/applying-for-care-to-learn
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