The Cost of Further Education Courses
Many people go into a further education course aged 16, after GCSEs. One factor which may influence their decision about whether to carry on studying is money. Students may well consider whether they can afford to continue studying, or if they need to get out and earn some money.
Further education courses are not just for teenagers either. They are also a popular choice for adult learners as a way to improve their career prospects, or even to change career altogether.
There are a wide range of further education qualifications it’s possible to study for
Qualifications on offer include:
- AS and A levels
- Key skills qualifications
- OCR Nationals
Free CoursesYoung people aged 16-19 are eligible for free further education courses at publicly-funded colleges. In order to qualify for free fees you’ll need to be studying for a course which is eligible for Learning and Skills Council (LSC) funding.
Some students over 19 may also have their fees waived or receive help with them. This is dependent on individual circumstances.
Getting Paid to LearnIf you’d prefer to get a job but would still like to get a qualification, you could think about an apprenticeship. If you undertake an apprenticeship you will even be able to earn while you learn. There are over 180 apprenticeships to choose from, in all different sectors.
Apprenticeships can pay £80 a week and above.
Adult LearningIf you’re over 19 and studying for a further education course you may have to pay some fees. Full-time fees for further education courses are around £1,040 but help is available.
Adults may also choose to study for an access course. Access courses are designed to help the over 19s get back into studying, and prepare them for higher education. Access courses cost around £300 per year.
Other CostsThere are other costs you’ll need to bear in mind when you’re studying for a further education course. Luckily there is financial help available with further education costs. Our articles on Paying for Further Education Courses and The Education Maintenance Allowance will tell you more on this. Some other costs you’ll need to cover are:
- Books and Course Costs
Even if your course is free, your course materials won’t be. You may need to buy books or other course materials. If you’re studying a practical subject, such as art, design or fashion, you will need to buy the materials for making things.
You will need to budget for the costs of travelling to college and back. Most students use public transport but some drive, or save money by cycling.
Most students studying for a further education course will live at home. However, in some cases this isn’t possible. You might have to live away, for example, if you want to study for a specialised course only offered at selected institutions.
If you live away from home you’ll need to pay for accommodation, household bills and food on top of other expenses. Help may be available with this.
Even if you stay at home your parents may expect a small contribution for lodgings and household costs like food and bills.
You’re likely to meet a lot of new friends while you’re studying for a further education course so you’ll need to budget for socialising and entertainment.