Funding & 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 Student Funding and Transport Officer on 01388 443113 or email:

See what Martin Lewis says about student loans here.

1. Am I entitled to any fee remissions?

Your course is free* if you are:

  • If you are aged 16, 17 or 18 years of age on 31st August 2020 and are studying full time, your course will be fully funded and is therefore free.
  • If you are aged 19-23 and you are studying at level 2 and you have not previously attained a full Level 2 qualification (or you are studying an entry or level 1 qualification to help you progress to a full level 2 qualification), your course will be fully funded and is therefore free.
  • If you are aged 19-23 and you are studying at level 3 and you have not previously attained a full Level 3 qualification, then your course will be fully funded and is therefore free. Otherwise you will be 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.
  • From April 2021 Adults aged 24 and over, who don't already have a full level 3, may be eligible to be fully funded on some level 3 courses or you can apply for an Advanced Learner Loan to fund your course.
  • If you are undertaking an English or maths qualification and you have not already gained a GCSE English and/or Maths qualification (grade C/ 4 or above) then your course will be fully funded and is therefore free.
  • In receipt of low wage, I am employed and earn less than £17,004 annual gross salary (you must provide a wage slip, three months in date, or your current employment contract stating gross monthly/annual wages)

Your course may be fully funded and therefore free, if you are unemployed and one or more of the following apply:

  • You receive Jobseeker’s allowance (JSA), including those receiving National Insurance Credits only
  • You receive Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and are in the work- related activity group (WRAG)
  • You receive Universal Credit, earn either less than 16 times the national minimum wage/ national living wage a week or £343 a month (this is subject to change) and are determined by Jobcentre Plus as being in one of the following groups: All Work-Related Requirements Group, Work Preparation Group, Work-Focused Interview Group.
  • You are released on temporary licence and studying outside a prison environment and not funded through the offenders’ Learning and Skills Service (OLASS)

*Subject to terms and conditions and eligibility criteria. For example exceptions apply if you have not been a resident in the UK, EU, or EEA for three years or more. More information can be found here.

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

2. 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 £26,575 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.

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. You are only able to apply for an Advanced Learner Loan for Access to Higher Education once, if you do not complete you will not be eligible for further funding for this course.

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 £26,575 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 2020/21 can apply for their student finance now, Click here.

3. 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 £26,575 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 £26,575
  • The rate of inflation and up to three per cent on a gradual scale if you earn between £26,575 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 £26,575 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 £26,575. The amount you repay depends on how much you earn. For example, if you earn £27,000 the 9% would only apply to the £425, meaning you would only repay £3.19 a month
  • Repayments will be deducted from your regular salary normally, through the tax system
  • If your income falls below £26,575 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:

4. 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 443113 for further advice or to help apply for financial support.

To apply, please fill out the online form here. 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

Any evidence you are unable to submit online should be posted to:

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

Or email

Please note: We cannot accept application forms without the requested evidence. Failure to provide evidence will result in your application being cancelled.

5. 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.