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Further education student financial support

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Further education can mean the learning of basic skills such as numeracy or literacy, or work related training for commerce and industry.

Further education can lead onto higher education or university and is usually provided by local colleges or schools.

Further education normally refers to post-16 study. There is funding available to help you make the most of further education opportunities.

If you’re aged between 16 and 18 you normally won’t have to pay your tuition fees and you might also be eligible for an Education Maintenance Allowance.

Some Local Authorities also provide their own support to learners.

If you’re 19 or over and studying full-time you might be charged tuition fees. Most further education colleges offer free or discounted tuition to learners from low income families, disabled learners or for learners on benefits.

You might also be eligible for a Welsh Government Learning Grant (external link).

Professional and Career Development Loan

If you are 18 or over you can apply for a Professional and Career Development Loan if you don’t qualify for any other support.

You can borrow anything between £300 and £10,000 if your course is vocational - that means it will help you in your career. The loan covers up to 80% of your course fees (or 100% if you’ve been out of work for three months or more) plus the costs of books and other learning materials.

The Government pays the interest while you’re learning and you don’t start repaying the loan until you finish. It’s well worth considering if you don’t qualify for other sorts of support.

For further information and advice, call 0800 100 900 or visit the Careers Wales website (external link).

Part-Time Further Education

If you’re 19 or over and studying part-time, you might be charged tuition fees. Most further education colleges offer free or discounted tuition to learners from low income families, disabled learners or for learners on benefits.

If you find that you have financial difficulties during your studies, your college may also be able to help you. If you find yourself in this position, talk with your college to see if they can help.

If you study a part-time course more than 275 hours over the year, you may also be eligible for a Welsh Government Learning Grant.

If you’re out of work and studying part-time, you might still qualify for Jobseeker’s Allowance. Your course needs to be less than 16 hours a week and you need to show that you’re still available for work. Check this with your local Jobcentre Plus office.

Childcare Support

If you are in Further Education and are studying at an institution or college in Wales you can apply for help from the Financial Contingency Fund. Students studying in England should contact their university or college for more information.

If you are on a work based learning course you can apply for help from the learning provider where you’re studying. If you are staying in school or are learning in the community you should apply for help from the local council where you’re studying.

Local Family Information Services (FIS) in each local authority can assist parents/carers to find appropriate childcare and other services.

Transport Costs

If you need help in getting to and from a place of learning, or need to travel as part of your course you may qualify for free or subsidised transport.

If you’re over 16 and staying at school you’ll usually qualify if you live in the school’s catchment area but need to travel more than a set distance to get there.

If you’re aged 16-19 and studying full-time at a further education college, you’ll usually qualify for free transport. If you’re aged 19 or over or studying part-time you may also qualify for free or subsidised travel.
 
Ask for details from the student welfare officer wherever you’re learning or planning to learn.