Support for Adult Students
We are here to help you achieve your goals and support you along every step of the way.
The best part is, you’ll become part of the South Devon College community and access all the benefits that come with being a student here. By choosing to study at South Devon College, you’ll not only have access to learning support but also welfare support. There are bursaries to help with travel, childcare and course materials, including a laptop, and you’ll also qualify for an exclusive student discount card helping you save money across hundreds of shops and services. You also have access to the Learning Resource Centre, exclusive Gym membership offer, cafes and state-of-the art classroom and facilities.
Don’t just take our word for it, find out more below!
We strive to offer both support and encouragement to adults hoping to study with us. Whether you would like to learn a new skill, embark on a career change or return to learn after a break, it’s never too late to follow your ambition.
If you need a helping hand with which direction to take, you can book an appointment with the Helpzone team for free, impartial advice and guidance. We have a dedicated Adult Guidance Senior Co-ordinator who is Level 6 trained in Advice & Guidance, available to support your journey.
There is plenty of support available to you, if you need access to funding, childcare or flexible study time, we can help you break down the barriers so you can achieve your goals. There are many funding and fee options available to you, we have outlined the main support options below. If you are unsure as to what support you qualify for, please contact the Helpzone Funding Team by calling 08000 380123 or email [email protected]
Please see below for information regarding tuition and exam fee waivers and support and our Adult Bursary Fund support.
Tuition Fees, Support and Waivers
Depending on the level and type of course you choose, we may be able to offer tuition and exam fee support.
Level 1 and Level 2 Courses:
- Adults who work and earn under £18,525 are entitled for free tuition for L1 or L2 courses
- Adults who are in receipt of means-tested state benefits such as; Universal Credit, Employment & Support Allowance, Income Support or Job Seekers Allowance may be eligible for free tuition for L1 or L2 courses
- Adults aged 19-24 may be entitled to funding to study a Level 1 or Level 2 course, if they have not studied at that level before
- Those entitled to tuition and exam fee waivers and support are still required to pay the Adult College Fee, this is up to a maximum of £120, which can be paid in instalments.
Please note that funding options are always provisional until they are confirmed in May. ‘Full Cost’ courses are not eligible for tuition fee or bursary fund support.
Level 3+ College Courses:
- Adults of all ages may be entitled to funding to study a Level 3 course, if they have not previously studied at Level 3, or higher. For further information regarding eligible courses please contact Helpzone by emailing [email protected]
- Adults aged 19-24 may be entitled to funding to study a Level 3 course, if they have not studied at that level before
- Adults who work and already hold a Level 3 qualification but they earn under £18,525 may be entitled for free tuition
- For those not entitled to Level 3-6 fee support, Advanced Learner Loans are available! Repayment begin when you earn more than £27,295 a year
Please note that Adult funding for Level 3 courses depends on the course eligibility and personal circumstances.
Advanced Learner Loans for Level 3 – 6 Courses
If you are not entitled to course funding, as outlined above, and want to study a Level 3 Access to Higher Education Diploma, or a Level 3 to 6 Vocational Qualification, you’ll need to pay for the cost of your course. If you’re thinking about returning to education, you may qualify for an Advanced Learner Loan. These loans help you to pay the fees charged by colleges and training organisations. The Advanced Learner Loan is a Government-funded loan to help adult students. It’s easy to apply for, doesn’t take your household income into account and doesn’t involve a credit check. Repayments are linked to what you earn and not how much you borrowed. You only start making repayments when you’ve finished your course and you’re earning over £27,295 a year. Until then you don’t need to pay back anything, but you can make voluntary repayments at any time.
Please note that Advanced Learner Loans can only support tuition fee funding for FE College courses, they cannot support HE/Higher Education courses as these are managed by Student Loans Company (SLC) and funded through Student Finance.
Here are some key facts about the loan:
- Repayments are linked to what you earn and not how much you borrowed
- You are only required to start making repayments when you’ve finished your course and you’re earning over £27,295 a year. Until then you don’t need to make repayments, but you are able to do so voluntarily.
For information on the GOV.UK website, click here.
Find out if you are eligible for the Advanced Learner Loan here: Eligibility tool
Adult Bursary Fund (Further Education)
We recognise that Adults need as much support as possible when coming back into education, therefore our Adult Bursary offer is assessed on the learner’s earned income. Therefore, if your earned income is below £35,000 per year you can apply for Bursary Support from 9th May 2022!
- Category A: Learner’s earned income between £35,000 – £30,000 we can support with travel. This would be either of the below options:
- Bus Pass – Transport and travel costs can be a huge barrier to your education, we are delighted to work in partnership with Stagecoach, offering our exclusive SDC Stagecoach bus passes, allowing 24/7 free and unlimited travel!
- Travel Costs – For those who drive, we can provide you with petrol allowance payments which are calculated using your home-postcode and paid directly into your bank account on a termly basis (Capped at £1,000)
- Category B: Learner’s earned income between £30,000 – £20,000 we can support with travel as stated above and the below depending on your course:
- Course Equipment and Kit – We can support all essential items, whether it be a hairdressing kit, catering uniform and kitchen utensils, or even AAT accountancy books…
- Course Materials – Depending on which course you choose, our bursary funds can support you with cash to fund items required such as; steel toe-capped boots for construction courses, Adventure Sport exhibition costs such as buying walking boots, tents and rucksacks, to even supporting your printing costs!
- DBS Certificate Fee – For courses requiring a DBS certificate, our bursary funds can cover this for you
- IT Devices – We understand that access to devices such as laptops and tablets, can be a challenge. For bursary-entitled learners studying 50+ hours over the year, we will provide you with an IT Package Voucher! Redeemable at our college shop outlet, Essentials, you will be able to redeem your voucher for either a laptop or a tablet!
- Childcare Costs – We understand that your childcare commitments of paramount importance. Our bursary funds can help to fund your childcare costs whilst you study. We can support with both nursery/school and registered childminder fees. For learners aged 20 and above at the start of your course, you can apply for your childcare through our Adult Bursary Fund.
- For learners ages under 20 at the start of your course, you can apply for your childcare direct through the Government scheme, Care to Learn; Care to Learn – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) Find out more about the help you can receive with childcare costs by using the Childcare Choices calculator.
- Category C: Learner’s earned income is below £20,000 we can support with the above and the below:
- Meal Allowance – You can spend a maximum of £3.30 per timetabled day at any of our food outlets. All you need to do is scan your student ID card at the till. If you do not use one day’s lunch credit, you will lose that day’s credit.
- Course Fees & Exam Fees – For adults undertaking a Level 1 or Level 2 course, bursary-entitled learners who do not qualify for a tuition fee waiver, may be entitled to fee support through our bursary scheme. Depending upon your income total, we can support up to 90% of your fees!
Earned income between £30,000- £25,000: 50% support
Earned income between £25,000- £20,000: 75% support
Earned income below £20,000: 90% support
There is a limited amount of funding available for tuition fees. Your application to the fund will be means tested and proof of earned income will be required. Please contact us below for further information.
Click here to apply for your bursary
For further information, please contact the Helpzone Team at South Devon College, on [email protected] or Freephone 08000 380 123.
University Centre South Devon (UCSD) Bursary
There is support available to you if you want to study at UCSD. To find out more about the UCSD bursary click here. Alternatively, please contact the Higher Education Team on [email protected]
For free and impartial advice, please see: Money Advice Service
Book a Free Adult Advice and Guidance Session
We’re always happy to help find the right option and support for you. Please fill out the form below and a member of the team will be in touch to arrange your appointment to discuss your options in more detail.
Frequently Asked Questions
In the meantime, here are answers to frequently asked questions from other adults wanting to learn something new.
Q. Can I study English and maths at South Devon College?
Absolutely! Refreshing or developing your skills in English and maths can have a significant, positive impact that lasts a lifetime. The ability to read and write confidently is essential in a variety of careers, but can also benefit you greatly in your day-to-day life and open up possibilities you hadn’t previously considered.
Q. Will people on my course be a similar age to me?
Don’t worry, we don’t have an upper age limit on our adult courses, therefore groups tend to be varied. If you are coming to study on a full time vocational course it is likely you will also be learning alongside some of our 16-18 year old students. Studying among students with a varied age range is a great way to diversify your social circle and gain an enriching experience!
Q. Can I undertake an apprenticeship if I am over 19?
Of course! It is an assumption that apprenticeships are only for people under 18, however we find that most employers value the experience and dedication of older students. The biggest barrier tends to be the way; however some companies are willing to pay more than the national living wage for the right candidate. With an apprenticeship, you are most likely to be able to progress within the company once your apprenticeship has finished.
Q. As an adult can someone help me decide which course is best for me?
Yes, our award winning matrix accredited guidance team are here to help you make the right decision that is best for you. We can assist you every step of the way to give you the right information and advice that helps you to choose a course that suits your ability, interests and long term goals. We understand that stepping back into education or employment can be a huge one to make and we want to make sure you are supported with this move so that it is a positive experience.
Q. Is there any financial assistance available as an adult to help you study at South Devon College?
We have a dedicated financial welfare team within the Helpzone that can look at funding options; depending on your current circumstances and the course you are looking to study. We can advise and support you to apply for bursaries to help with tuition fees, childcare costs, and travel support.
Q. Am I eligible for an Advanced Learner Loan?
An Advanced Learner Loan is a great way of accessing funding for your tuition fees when no other support is available. It is not means tested, which means all those who fit the eligibility criteria get to take advantage of the loan.
Q. What facilities do you have on site?
The Vantage Point Campus in Paignton has several eating areas. These outlets provide a variety of options for all tastes. We also have a shop on site which sells newspapers, snacks, sweets, drinks, stationery, toiletries and pharmaceutical provisions. You will also have access to our fantastic resources including the Learning Resource Centre which provides a quiet area for study and access to IT and support with lots of study resources.