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Policies

Student Fee Policy

Introduction

As a designated Sixth Form College, the College is able and required to charge student fees in some circumstances. This policy describes the way in which student fees are set and managed. This policy is reviewed annually and approved by the Corporation (usually at the Summer Corporation meeting).

Rationale for Student Fees

Student fees for courses and for different student categories are reviewed and set by the College annually and take the following factors into account:

  • The College’s mission and wider vision;
  • Regulatory Body funding guidance (SFA Funding Rules 2016/17, EFA Funding Guidance For Young People 2016/17)
  • Government Priorities
  • Sources of funding for the course (e.g. special project funding; full-cost; business specific; student support funds available);
  • Local market factors;
  • Delivery costs (mode of study; course length; resources; examination and professional fees; staffing costs etc);

When fees are charged, these usually represent no more than 50% percent of the SFA (Skills Funding Agency) income per fully funded student, or are on a full cost recovery basis. However, if the student is aged 19 or over at the start of their course and studying at L3 or above, they will be required to pay the cost of the course in full or apply for an advanced learner loan. For courses where no funding is available, the student is required to pay the cost of the course in full regardless of their financial status.  These are generally known as full-cost courses. Course fees for adults are published in the brochure, and on the website.

Government policy requires Colleges to focus on the following key priority areas:

  • 16-18 year olds;
  • 19 + students without a first full-level 2 qualification;
  • 19 –23 year old students without a first full-level 3 qualification;
  • Students without Functional English or Maths qualification, or GCSE English or Maths.

The College Leadership Team approves student fees.

A separate fee policy exists for full-cost International students.

Course Fee Components

Course Fees are made up of the following components:

A   Tuition Fees (contribution towards the full cost of the programme – 100% for full-cost courses)

B   Examination Fees (payable in advance to exam boards for external accreditation)

C   Material Fees and other Incidental Costs (these often apply to practical courses and those involving visits and field work, students will be notified in advance of likely costs)

A & B. Tuition and Examination Fees

The government fully funds tuition and examination fees for the following groups of students meeting current criteria for EU residency or special consideration:

  • 16-18* year old students on fundable programmes,
  • Full-time/part-time adult students aged 19-23 who have not achieved a full-level 2 qualification and who are now studying for one;
  • Full-time/part-time, 19-23* year old adult students who have not achieved a full-level 3 qualification and who are now studying for one;
  • Adult students aged 19-23 who require additional help to make the step up to learning at full level 2
  • Students on a Functional English or Maths qualification, or GCSE English or Maths
  • Adult students who are unemployed and in receipt of an active work benefit for funded qualifications at level two or lower and enrol onto a funded qualification course.
  • Discretionary remission for those on other benefits who wish to be employed and need the qualification to progress towards employment.

*Age of student is based on age on 31st August at the start of the relevant funding year. For funding eligibility purposes, any student who was aged 16,17 or 18 on 31 August in the funding year when they began a programme of study continues to be funded as a 16- to 18-year-old student. This wider definition ensures that the funding eligibility of a student does not change if they become 19 years old during their programme.

Non fee paying students are exempt from tuition fees and examination fees. Exceptions may occur when students start a new level of examination or assessment during the course, or wish to take additional assessments including re-sit examinations. Staff will give students advice about any additional examination fees.

Students may be liable to charges for examination entry fees, at the College’s discretion, as a result of:

  • unsatisfactory course attendance;
  • failure to meet course work deadlines;
  • unauthorised absence from an examination;
  • the student leaving the course without a negotiated transfer to another course.

*Additional guidance on examination fee charges and the process for 16-18, EFA  funded students is given in appendix 1.

Students not meeting the current criteria for EU residency or special consideration will be subject to fees that relate to the full cost of the programme as described in the current funding guidance. (N.B. in any situation, such students must be legally entitled to be in the UK.

Material and Other Incidental Costs

In addition, students may be required to contribute to the cost of visits and enhancement activities and the cost of consumable materials on practical courses.

Adult students on daytime programmes (Adult ‘infill’ students)

Each year the college gets a small number of applications from adult students wishing to study by joining existing 16-18 provision as full-time or part-time students. These students are defined as ‘infill’ students. Students will be prioritised according to meeting the government targets, as outlined above, and places are made available at the discretion of the College.

Places on funded courses will initially be given to students who are fully funded, usually with a full level 3 entitlement. Other students may be given a place, subject to initial guidance, and these students will be charged a fee per qualification studied (see Appendix Two). Students aged 19 and over may be eligible to apply for an advanced learner loan via the Student Loans Company (SLC) to cover these fees. In this case, the College will supply the student with the information they will need to apply for the loan.  Loan applications must be made independently by the student.

Discretionary Learner Support Fund

A number of low income students may be expected to pay fees. In light of the local economy and low wages in the area adults from low income families are entitled to apply for support from the college’s Discretionary Learner Support Fund for help with their fees and other course related costs. Such applications will be assessed on an individual basis, based on students’ personal financial situations. Applications to this fund need to be supported by relevant evidence.

Payment of Fees

All students are encouraged to pay course fees at the point of enrolment; however payments can be made by instalments according to the type and duration of the programme (see Appendix Three). The full outstanding amount will become payable immediately if the student fails to meet instalment deadlines set. All claims for fee remission must be supported by appropriate evidence at the point of enrolment. Any claims for support from the Discretionary Learner Support Fund must be resolved before the start of the course otherwise payment of full fees is required before students start a course. If the fee is to be paid by a student’s employer, a letter of confirmation or an official company order indicating their commitment to pay the fee due, must be produced at the time of enrolment.  A copy of the confirmation will be passed to finance and an invoice will be raised immediately.

Payment can be made by any of the following methods

  • Cheque
  • Cash
  • Credit/Debit card

It is the student’s responsibility to apply for 19+ Advanced Learner Loans if they decide to pay for their course/programme via this facility. Students who fall into this category will be asked to leave or make alternative arrangements for payment if the College has not received notification from the Students Loan Company within the first six weeks of the course/programme.

The College will pursue unpaid debts and use the services of a debt collection agency if required.

Refunds

Refunds of tuition fees will be given in the following circumstances

  • When the course does not run or cancelled due to low numbers
  • When the course dates and or times are changed and these are no longer suitable for the student
  • When a student withdraws from a course before the first meeting date.

All other requests for fee refund will be at the discretion of the College and evidence, for example, evidence on the grounds of withdrawing for medical reasons, may be required to be produced.

The College administration charge and any external fees already paid over to awarding or other bodies will not normally be refunded.

Appendix 1

Examination Fee Charges and the Process for Charging 16-18 EFA funded students

16-18 students funded by the EFA will not normally pay for examination, assessment or board registration fees. Students will be liable for charges in the following circumstances:

  1. In year resit examinations (unless these are part of the planned course delivery programme agreed by an Assistant Principal on an individual basis). Note students will not normally pay for exam entries on ‘resit’ programmes in subsequent years provided the students is enrolled onto a timetabled course which supports student achievement in that course or unit.
  2. Failure to attend the examination sitting or meet the declared College coursework deadline for externally assessed components without good reason (illness or family bereavement supported by a doctor’s note or other appropriate evidence for the situation)
  3. The student’s ‘commitment performance’ as reported in the Student’s performance Indicators is judged to be unsatisfactory by the relevant Director of Teaching and Learning and approved by the relevant Assistant Principal. The criteria for ‘unsatisfactory performance’ are:
    1. Poor record for unexplained absence (less than 85% over the relevant period)
    2. Poor record of meeting internal deadlines for set work.
    3. Poor record of attendance at agreed support sessions to support the student in the subject or in assessed generic learning needs and disabilities.

Before a student’s commitment performance can be judged ‘unsatisfactory’ the student must be given a formal improvement plan, this will set appropriate challenging but manageable conditions for the student’s performance to be judged ‘satisfactory’. A minimum time period of at least 20 College days will be allowed for a student to demonstrate that performance has satisfactorily improved.

A student can appeal against an ‘unsatisfactory judgement’ or exam fee charges through the normal channels (in writing to the appropriate Assistant Principal involved in the first instance). Liability for fee payment for ‘poor student commitment performance’ will only be used as a last resort, when normal student disciplinary measures have been exhausted.

Any fee charged must reflect the actual cost to the College by an external agency (eg examination board) for the type of qualification. It would not normally include additional internal costs such as administration and invigilation costs, however to reduce administrative costs the fee charged will be fixed at the minimum fee for that type of qualification eg AS Level module.

Appendix 2   Contributions for 19+ Learners Students must be 19 or older on 31st August 2016 to be eligible for SFA funding

Provision

19-23 year-olds

24+ Unemployed

24+ Other

English and Maths up to and including Level 2

Fully funded*

Fully funded*

Fully funded*

Level 2

Fully-funded* (first and full)

Fully funded

Co-funded

Learning to progress to Level 2

Fully funded (if no first and full level 2)

Fully funded

Co-funded

Level 3

Fully funded* (first and full)

 Loan-funded

Loan-funded

Loan-funded** (previously achieved Level 3 or above)

Traineeship ***

Fully funded (including 24 year-olds)

N/A

N/A

English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) learning up to and including Level 2

Co-funded

Fully funded

Co-funded

Fully funded - unemployed

Learning aims up to and including Level 2, where the learner has already achieved at Level 2 or above

Co-funded

Fully funded

Co-funded

Fully funded - unemployed

 

* Must be delivered as one of the qualifications required for the legal entitlement.# Excludes flexible element where funding depends on age and level

** Availability of loans at Level 3 does not replace a 19- to 23-year-old’s legal entitlement to full funding for a first full Level 3

*** Excludes flexible element where funding depends on age and level


*16-18 year old apprentices are fully funded.  19+ Apprentice eligibility starts on their 19th birthday.

Although the college receives the co-funded amount for 19+ apprentices, we have taken the decision to charge no fees for apprenticeships.  This is due to other agencies in the area not charging fees and ensuring we remain competitive.  The same policy applies to our distance learning provision.

Following introduction of the apprenticeship levy and changes in funding for apprenticeships in April 2017 this document may have an addendum added in-year

If a learner falls into one of the following categories, please seek further advice:

  • in custody who are released on temporary licence (RoTL) following learning outside a prison environment
  • has left the British Armed Forces after completing four or more years of service or who has been medically discharged due to an injury in active service, after completing basic training

Appendix 3

Payment by Instalments for Fee Paying ALT Students 2016/17

Course length

Instalment Payments

Up to 12 weeks

Course fee paid in full

13 to 20 weeks

(Sept Start)

50% deposit with remainder to be paid by a maximum of two further consecutive monthly payments (eg 50% September, 25% beginning of October and 25% beginning of November)

13 to 20 weeks

(January start)

50% deposit with remainder to be paid by same system as above

Full year

As above