In spite of the evidence which points to the fact that adults who continue learning following compulsory education go on to be more productive and lead healthier lives, the numbers around mature students who return to education continue to drop. The numbers have more than halved since 2011.
Confusion around access to funding has been cited as the main reason many believe to be the cause of this, although there are many other factors at play. In a joint effort with the Newcastle College uniformed public services department, we make further investigations to explain the types of funding available:
Changes in government funding
The UK’s coalition government made a decision to decrease grants while increasing tuition fees three-fold, a move which has discouraged many people from applying to get into higher education.
Younger students are more informed and willing to take on student debt as a result of the many UK universities’ targeting of school leavers to try and bump up application numbers while reducing the impact of fees. Adults on the other hand are less likely to want to take on such as financial obligation.
Access to funding
While there are different forms of funding available to adult learners such as adult learner loans and free or partially funded learning courses, the confusion over eligibility seems to make for another deterrent for mature students.
Changes in the Adult Education Budget (AEB)
To receive full funding for the one-year trial for the 2018/19 funding year, you would need to be earning less than £15, 736.50 annually (gross salary). Full eligibility requirements can be obtained from the local college you’re applying to, otherwise funding is offered on a first-come, first-served basis.
Professional and Career Development Loans
Final applications for this scheme will be accepted on 25 January 2019. A low interest loan of up to £10,000 is on offer, issued by the bank to help cover the costs of courses and training which will help you in your career. Find out if you’re eligible here.
19+ Discretionary Learners Fund
Costs covered in the fund vary by college and course, so it depends entirely upon your individual circumstances. Find out more here.
Advanced Learner Loan
Advanced Learner Loans and Advanced Learner Loan Bursaries are available for eligible 19-years+ learners who are studying for their Level 3, 4, 5 or 6 qualification at an approved college or training provider in England. Find out more here.
Course-specific grants or bursaries are also available, depending on the planned course for study, from training to be a teacher, a social worker or nurse or to work within certain trades. Even courses such as drama and dance have some bursaries and grants available.
Childcare costs make for one of the obstacles which contribute to the struggle with which parents wanting to return to education have to contend with, in which case there is a childcare grant for those who choose full time higher education. This is of course in addition to the childcare support available as part of the 19+ Discretionary Learner Support Fund.