Student Finance

Student Finance

Student Welfare & Finance Officer

As part of the Student Finance Team our Student Welfare & Finance Officer provides one-to-one, confidential information, advice and guidance which is non-judgmental and impartial, to support you whilst you are in education with the following:

  • Check that you are in receipt of full entitlements/maximising your household income

  • Issues with welfare benefits

  • Accommodation issues i.e., homelessness, estrangement

  • Signposting and advocating with internal/external partners for support

  • Higher Education funding - explain what you are entitled to and help in applying and dealing with complex issues and concerns whether you are/stay at college or go onto university.

We’re delighted you’re thinking of joining Dudley College for your studies. We wanted to tell you more about the types of financial support you may be able to receive, depending on your personal circumstances. To jump to a specific section on the page use the links below.

Bursary funding

There are two categories of 16-18 Bursaries:

The Vulnerable Bursary

This is specifically for students who have been defined as ‘vulnerable students’. Eligible learners will also be allocated travel support. Please note looked after children and some care leavers are not eligible for Free meals.

You can only apply for a Vulnerable Bursary of up to £1200 if you are in one of the groups that have been defined by the Government as being a ‘vulnerable group of students’ and meet the eligibility criteria. This includes young people who are living apart from their parents and are:

  • Looked after (in care) or have recently left care (Care Order in force)
  • A care leaver
  • In receipt of Income Support (or Universal Credit) in their own right (not their parents)
  • Disabled and in receipt of both Employment & Support Allowance (Universal Credit) and Disability Living Allowance (Personal Independence Payments) in their own right (not their parents)
  • Have caring responsivities for a child and are living independently from their parents – have a tenancy agreement in their own name.

You will need to provide up to date evidence to confirm receipt of your Benefit, plus a tenancy agreement in your own name ~ or a recent letter from Social Services confirming your care status.

How to apply for the vulnerable bursary fund

Eligible learners must complete a 16/18 bursary application form and a bank details form. These forms must be emailed back to the student finance team along with relevant evidence to studentfinanceteam@dudleycol.ac.uk.

Please ensure you save the application form and bank detail form before emailing back to the Student Finance Team.

How the vulnerable bursary fund is paid

If you are eligible the fund is paid each week one week in arrears directly into your bank account. All awards are made subject to attendance of at least 85% good progress and behaviour, the fund is withheld if standards are not met.

The Discretionary Bursary

This support is for discretionary travel and free meals where learners meet government requirements. This support is for students who are not defined as ‘vulnerable please see below for details.

The Discretionary Travel Bursary

All full time 16/18-year-old student will be issued with an electronic West Midlands Travel bus pass to a mobile device in the first term to help with the transition to college You will need to install the Mticket app on your phone and create an account within the app using your Dudley College Email Address which is your student number followed by @dudleylearners.co.uk.

The app needs to be on your phone not that of your parents or guardians. Links for the app are as follows:

Please note, for support to continue for term 2 and 3 you must apply for the discretionary Bursary by completing a 16/18 bursary application.

If you do not have access to a smartphone contact the student finance team on the email address above or call us on 01384 363555 for assistance.

To be eligible for discretionary travel bursary you must:

  • be 16 or over and under 19 on 31st August 2020
  • be enrolled to a full time course
  • have ‘home’ student status or have been granted full ‘refugee’ or ‘asylum seeker’ status (British Citizens normally have ‘home student’ status)
  • have been ‘ordinarily resident in the UK, EU or EEA continuously for the last 3 years before the start of your course, with ‘settled status’ which means having indefinite leave to enter or remain (ILE/ILR)
  • be living more than 1 mile from your primary study campus.

The following students are not eligible for discretionary travel bursary:

  • Students on Higher Education Courses
  • Students on Worked Based Learning/Waged Apprenticeships
  • Students aged 19 or over on 31 August 2020 (Separate 19+ Bursary Funds are available)

Free college meals

The Government Free College Meals scheme is available to students who are from low income households but is different to free school meals, so you may not be eligible for a free meal at college even if you received a free meal at school.

If you are eligible you will receive credits on your ID cards to spend at any of Dudley College food outlets. The daily meal rate is £2.41 for each day you are timetabled to be in college, the credit is a daily amount and is not rolled over so any unspent credit will be cleared from your card and each day you will start again with £2.41.

To be eligible for free meals you must be:

  • Aged between 16 and 18 years on 31 August 2020
  • or
  • Aged over 19 who are continuing on the same study programme (19+ continuers) you started before you turned 19
  • or
  • Have a valid Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP) – no income evidence is required for leaners with an EHCP however a copy must be provided to prove eligibility.

In addition to the above you or your parents must be receipt of one or more of the following benefits:

  • Income Support
  • income-based Jobseekers Allowance
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • support under part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • the guarantee element of State Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit (provided they are not entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual gross income of no more than £16,190, as assessed by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC))
  • Working Tax Credit run-on – paid for 4 weeks after someone stops qualifying for Working Tax Credit
  • Universal Credit with net earnings not exceeding the equivalent of £7,400 pa

You can apply for free college meals, by completing a 16/18 bursary application, you must supply recent income evidence so that an assessment can be made any application received without necessary evidence will not be processed. The form should be emailed back to the student finance team along with relevant evidence to studentfinanceteam@dudleycol.ac.uk.

Adult Learners financial support

There are also some funds available to support learners who are aged 19 or above.

19+ discretionary hardship fund

The 19+ Bursary Fund is a means tested fund and is in place to help Dudley College students whose household income is below £30,00 per annum and may be experiencing financial hardship to complete their course. Funds are awarded to eligible students to help them cover the essential costs of attending College, such as transport, equipment and exam fees and childcare. The fund cannot help with tuition fees. To apply for help from the 19+ discretionary hardship fund please complete an application and a bank details form.

Please ensure you save the application form and bank detail form before emailing back to the Student Finance Team.

To be eligible to receive the 19+ discretionary hardship fund you must:

  • be 19 or over on 31st August 2020
  • be enrolled to a course that is approved for funding by the Education & Skills Funding Agency – we will check this before making any awards
  • have ‘home’ student’s status or have been granted full ‘refugee’ or ‘asylum seeker’ status (British Citizens normally have ‘home student’ status)
  • have been ordinarily resident in the UK, EU or EEA continuously for the last 3 years before the start of your course, with ‘settled’ status which means having indefinite leave to enter or remain (ILE/ILR)
  • not exceed the income threshold limit of £30000 Joint income if living with spouse/partner and single applicant living independently.

The following students are not eligible to apply:

  • Students on Higher Education Courses
  • Students on Work Based Learning/Waged Apprenticeships
  • Students aged 19- 23 at the start of their course studying their 2nd level 3 programme unless they have applied for and been awarded an Advanced Learner Loan
  • Students aged under 19 on 31 August 2020 students can apply to the 16-18 Bursary Fund)
  • Students aged 24 and over studying a level 3 or above unless they have applied for and been awarded an Advanced Learner Loan

How to apply for the 19+ discretionary hardship fund

Complete a 19+ Discretionary hardship fund form and once complete return to the student finance team at studentfinanceteam@dudleycol.ac.uk along with income evidence.

Support for childcare

Adult learners over the age of 20 can apply for help with the cost of childcare to cover timetabled hours. An OFSTED registered childcare provider must be used and no support can be offered for informal or unregistered childcare. Childcare funding will be for agreed hours/costs only and is capped at £40 per child per day, where a childcare provider charges above the capped rate, the learner is expected to pay the difference and Dudley College reserve the right not to meet the costs of retainer fees when said fees are deemed to be too high.

Please note: where a child is aged 3 or 4 at the start of the 2020/21 academic year or turns 3 during the year they will be eligible for Nursery Education Funding (NEF) this entitles eligible children to 15 hours of free nursery education, this also relates to some 2 year olds who may be eligible for the government scheme called Time for Twos, these 15 hours must be used to cover the learners childcare needs in the first instance whilst at college. Where the 15 hours is not sufficient to cover all timetabled lessons Dudley college may fund a small “top up”.

Learners who are under the age of 20 at the start of the academic year can apply for another government scheme called care2learn, please speak to a member of the student finance team on 01384 363555 for further information.

To apply for help with childcare you must complete a childcare form in addition to a 19+ form form. You will also need to provide us with a copy of your child’s birth certificate. Please do not begin using a childcare provider before you get confirmation of eligibility from Dudley college as any fees incurred with be your responsibly. Incomplete forms, or forms submitted without the required evidence, will not be accepted.

What happens next once I have applied for support with childcare?

You will receive notification telling you what you have been awarded and how this will be provided. No awards will be made to you until you are fully enrolled to your course.

Can I appeal against the college’s decision?

You have the right to appeal if your application is refused or your award is withheld. You must submit your appeal, in writing, within 10 working days of the date of your refusal. Additional information will be required to support your appeal.

Further information and advice is available from the Student Finance Team on 01384 363555 or by emailing studentfinanceteam@dudleycol.ac.uk.

Independent financial advice is available at www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk.

Your Local Authority may have information about funding available to help with the costs of adult education.

Advanced Learner Loans

If finances have been holding you back from starting a course, you can now apply for a loan to help with the cost of course fees! You must be enrolling onto an eligible course at Level 3 or above.

Your household income isn’t taken into account and there’s no credit check. You will not have to pay anything back until you have finished your course and are earning over Student Loans company threshold.

How much can you get as an advanced learner loan?

The amount you will get depends on:

  • the type of course you take
  • how much the fees are for the course
  • the minimum loan you can get is £300.

Which courses are eligible for an advanced learner loan?

Courses at Level 3 or above qualify (such as a Certificate/Diploma or an Advanced or Higher Apprenticeship).

Eligibility for advanced learner loan

To get a loan you must be:

  • 19 or older on the first day you start your course and the start day of your course must be on or after the 1st August 2020 (there’s no upper age limit)
  • 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 3 years immediately before the start date of the course Studying at this College or a training organisation in England approved for public funding.
  • If you are aged 19 – 23 and do not already have a full Level 3 qualification, you will be entitled to receive free tuition and won’t need to apply for an Advanced Learner Loan. If you are aged 19 – 23 and already have a full Level 3 qualification, you can apply for an Advanced Learner Loan.

How many advanced learner loans can I apply for?

You can apply for more than one Advanced Learning Loan (up to 4 in total). You can also receive a loan for courses of the same level and type (e.g. Level 3 Diploma in Hair and Level 3 Diploma in Barbering). You’ll be able to take out further loans to complete different types or levels of eligible courses.

How to apply for an advanced learner loan?

You can apply for apply for an Advanced Learner Loan at www.gov.uk/advanced-learner-loan. You will be able to request the course code from our student finance team from May for courses starting from 1st September 2020.

You will need a National Insurance number before any money can be paid and should have this available to enter on your loan application form. You need your passport details or another form of identity to apply – e.g. your birth certificate.

Paying back your advanced learner loan

You pay back your loan (plus interest) when you have finished your course and start earning more than the Student Loans Company income threshold. If your income drops below this amount your repayment will stop. Each month you pay back 9% of any income over the threshold.

Leaving or changing your course once you have your advanced learner loan

If you leave or change your course after 2 weeks you will have to pay back any money that has been paid to the College.

Access to Higher Education (HE) and an advanced learner loan

If you get a loan to cover tuition fees for an Access to HE course (e.g. a course that will prepare you for Higher Education) and then successfully complete a higher education course, you will not have to repay the remaining loan for the Access course.

Support for course related costs and childcare

Learners who take out an Advanced learner Loan can assess the 19+ Discretionary hardship fund in the same way as our 19+ learners, please see above for detail on how to apply.

For more details about Advanced Learning Loans please visit www.gov.uk/advanced-learner-loan or contact the Student Finance team on 01384 363555.