Funding and loans

One of the biggest factors in deciding whether to return to education is the cost. If you’re under 19 years old courses are free. If you’re 19 years old or over, you’ll find the costs can vary depending on your circumstances and the type of course you are studying.

Outlined below is information about eligibility for fee remission, loans and learner support funds.

For more information about the costs of studying or a FREE fee assessment please contact our Client Services team on 01388 443 000 or email: start@bacoll.ac.uk

Am I entitled to any fee remissions?

Your course is free* if you are:

  • If you are aged between 16 and 18 years of age on 31st August 2017 and studying full time, your course will be fully funded and is therefore free
  • If you are aged 19 – 23 and studying at level 3 and do not already hold a qualification at level 3 then your course will be fully funded and is therefore free
  • If you are aged 19 -23 already hold a qualification at level 3 or above and are studying at level 3 or above then you are able to apply for an Advanced Learner Loan to fund your course
  • If you are aged 24 or over and are studying at level 3 or above then you are able to apply for an Advanced Learner Loan to fund your course
  • Unemployed and in receipt of Job Seekers’ Allowance (JSA), Employment Support Allowance (ESA) or universal credit and are aged between 19-23 years old and studying at Level 2 or below
  • An unwaged dependant of those listed above

*Subject to terms and conditions and eligibility criteria.

The above excludes all designated Higher Education courses in partnership with the University of Sunderland. Other exemptions may apply.

Advanced learner loans

If you are 19 years old and over and resident* in the UK you can apply for an Advanced Learner Loan for Further Education courses at Level 3 and 4.

Loans are not means tested or subject to credit checks, and once you start earning above £21,000 you may pay as little as £5 per month. You will not have to repay your loan back until after you have completed your course.

From 1 August 2016 – 17 academic year

Advanced Learner Loans will be available for learners aged 19 and over studying a level 3 or 4 approved course of study (Level 3 Entitlement will still apply).

Higher Education Loans will also be available for  levels 5 and 6.

How much can I get?

How much you get depends on the:

  • Type of course
  • Course fees
  • Maximum loan available for your course

You can take out a loan for the maximum amount to cover your fee or you can pay all or part of the fee yourself. The minimum loan you can receive is £300.

How is the loan paid?

Student Finance England will pay your agreed loan to your college or training organisation once they’ve confirmed your attendance on the course.

How many loans can I get?

You can have a maximum of four  Advanced Learner Loans. You can only take out one loan at a time, this excludes A-Level courses.

You don’t pay anything back if your loan is for the Access to Higher Education Diploma and you progress to, and complete, Higher Education study.

Loan Repayments Explained

  • Repayments are based on your income, not what you borrow or the number of student loans you have.
  • You’ll repay nine per cent of your income above the £21,000 annual threshold
  • If you’re employed, your employer will take your repayments directly from your salary
  • If you’re self-employed, you’ll make repayments as part of your annual self-assessment tax return

More information

Students going to university or college in 2017/18 can apply for their student finance now, Click here.

Higher Education Loans

If you are a Higher National or Foundation Degree student at Bishop Auckland College you may qualify for a student loan to cover the full cost of your tuition fees in the same way as degree students at university. If you are studying for a Higher National Diploma (HND) you can also apply for the ‘living costs’ element of your loan.

Applying for a loan

This loan is not income assessed or means tested and you will only start to make repayments when you are earning over £21,000 a year.

Interest rates

Interest on your loan will be applied at the rate of inflation plus three per cent up until the April which falls three years after the anniversary of the start date of your course.

Interest you will then be charged will be:

  • The rate of inflation if you are earning below £21,000
  • The rate of inflation and up to three per cent on a gradual scale if you earn between £21,000 and £41,000

Loan Repayments Explained

  • You will begin to repay your loan in the April which falls three years after the anniversary of the start date of your course, even if you are still studying
  • You will only make repayments if you are earning over £21,000 a year
  • If your course is shorter than the three years, you will start to repay your loan from the April after you graduate
  • You repay only 9% of your income above £21,000. The amount you repay depends on how much you earn. For example, if you earn £25,000 the 9% would only apply to the £4,000, meaning you would only repay £30 a month
  • Repayments will be deducted from your regular salary normally, through the tax system
  • If your income falls below £21,000 at any point in your career the repayments will be suspended
  • Any outstanding balance is written off after 30 years

More information

For further information on student finance visit: www.gov.uk/student-finance

Discretionary learner support funds

The discretionary learner support funds provide financial support to students to help them access further education. The funds are prioritised for those who face financial hardship and are subject to eligibility requirements.

They can be used to help with:

  • Essential course items
  • Childcare costs (provider must be registered with Ofsted)
  • Travel costs for students over 19 years old
  • Course fees

Our Student Funding and Transport Officer can be contacted on 01388 443032 for further advice.

To apply for financial support please download the application form here 

Please print the application form and complete in BLOCK CAPITALS. We have included a guide for each age group below to assist you and explain which ‘evidence types’ are required to support your application.

Guide to applying for financial support for 16-18 year olds

Guide to applying for financial support for 19 year olds +

Guide to applying for financial support for Advanced Learner Loan Students

The completed application form and evidence should be posted to:

 Student Funding and Transport Officer
Bishop Auckland College
Woodhouse Lane
Bishop Auckland
Co Durham
DL14 6JZ

Please note: We cannot accept application forms without the requested evidence. Failure to provide evidence will result in your application being returned to you and will delay payment of funding.

Payment Methods

All fees will need to be paid in full on enrolment. We accept payment via cash, cheque, direct debit and chip and PIN with a valid debit or credit card. If your employer or sponsor is paying for your course we request written proof be brought at enrolment.

Spreading the cost

We also offer payment plans for courses allowing you to spread the cost. If you are setting up a payment plan, 20 per cent of the total fee will be required in the first instance upon enrolment and payment plans are not available for course fees under £100.

The following provisions will apply:

  • Fees from £100-£199. A standing order mandate for a 3 month period
  • Fees from £200-£499. A standing order mandate for a 6 month period
  • Fees from £500 upwards. A standing order mandate for a 9 month period

To set up a payment plan please bring your bank details with you. All payment plans will need to be completed prior to the end of the course and if students subsequently cancel their course the payment plan will continue in accordance with the student refund policy.

A copy of the College fee policy is available upon request.