Review Date: July 2017
Next Review Date: July 2018
Free2learn is committed to maintaining a fair and transparent policy for the setting of fees for the delivery of publicly funded and non-funded courses. In establishing such a policy the Free2learn takes account of Government Policy, the needs of its local communities as well as local and national economic conditions. The objective of the policy is to set the framework of charges that are applied both for publicly funded and non-funded courses. This policy applies to all Free2learn campuses.
All Free2learn staff involved in advice, guidance, enquiries, applications and enrolment will be able to explain and justify the following:
- The total fees and charges for undertaking each programme of study.
- The different elements which constitute such fees.
- When and how fees are payable.
- How courses that are additional to main programmes of study are treated for fee purposes.
- The regulations imposed by external bodies, with regard to the remission of fees.
- The Free2learn’s refund procedures.
- The appropriate support mechanisms to address issues of financial hardship (the Discretionary Learner Support Fund).
- This policy will be reviewed once a year except where significant changes in Government policy necessitate a more immediate review.
- No change to the fee structure should disadvantage learners part way through a programme of study (e.g. where a learner is under 19 at the start of a Publicly Funded programme of study, they will benefit from the free tuition and examination fees throughout their programme of study even though they may be 19 years old at the start of their subsequent year of study).
- Free2learn aims to comply with the directives on fees from the Public Funding bodies and other relevant funding bodies, but will also take into consideration other factors including but not limited to likely impact on learners and recruitment levels.
- The fees set by Free2learn will aim to cover the full costs for delivering education and training.
- The actual fee charged for each course will be determined by the Free2learn’s Senior Management Team and will be published annually. The Fees will be determined taking into account the current funding guidelines, Free2learn targets and prevailing market conditions.
- Free2learn reserves the right to withhold examination entries and abstain from claiming for certification in the event of having overdue course related debt.
- Fees can be defined as:-
- Mandatory fees
- Optional fees
- Learners eligible for remitted fees will not be charged any fees that are considered mandatory to achieve their qualification(s).
- Learners ineligible for remitted fees will be charged all the fees that are considered mandatory to achieve their qualification. The discretionary learner support fund can provide support towards costs, where financial need can be demonstrated.
- With the exception of learners on an agreed instalment plan, mandatory fees are payable in full in advance of the start of the course. For courses that last for more than one year, mandatory fees are payable separately for each year of study at a level set at the start of the programme, unless otherwise stated. The subsequent year’s fees only include tuition and other additional mandatory fees.
- For fees of £300 and over, an individual may set up an instalment plan at or prior to enrolment. Where a learner provides evidence that they are to be sponsored by their employer or other organisation, fees will be invoiced to the sponsor and must be paid prior to the commencement of the course. Learners may be given opportunities in addition to their core programme. Any fees related to these opportunities may be charged to all learners
- Learners whom are aged 19 and over and wish to study programmes which are at level 3 and above may be eligible to apply for an Advanced Learning Loan. Application should be made direct to the Learner Loans Company and a letter of confirmation that the loan has been granted should be produced by the end of the first term (6 Weeks) or, if confirmation is not available at that time, a payment of 50% of the total course fee must be made to Free2learn (which will be refunded upon presentation of the letter of confirmation). Failure to do so will result in the learner being removed from the course. The loan only covers fees for the period that the learner attends Free2learn and is paid direct to the Free2learn on a monthly basis. Learners will be required to sign a declaration at the point of taking out a loan to confirm that they understand that fees will still be payable if they withdraw for any reason. In addition, if the Free2learn has cause to pursue the debt, the learner will also be liable for reimbursing Free2learn for any associated court and/or legal costs incurred. The Free2learn may, in the event of collecting unpaid fees, pass learners details onto a third party.
- Irrespective of the learner’s status there are no remitted fees for these courses; they must be paid in full. These learners are not eligible for support from the discretionary learner support fund, but other support may be available. Free2learn sets a commercially viable level equivalent to publicly funded rates for all non- ‘Home-based’ learners studying Further or Higher education funded courses, i.e. learners residing outside the EEA and/or those who do not satisfy the funding bodies’ residency eligibility criteria. These fees cover the full cost of the programme, due to the absence of public funding. Fees must be paid in full before the start of the course and there is no remission available for these learners. It is the learner’s responsibility to obtain the appropriate visas and other relevant documentation to enable them to legally undertake the programme of study in England. These learners are not eligible for support from the discretionary learner support fund, but other support may be available.
- Where a programme of study is recognised as encompassing a number of individual qualification aims these will be treated as a single programme for the purpose of calculating fees.
- Where a learner wishes to enrol on further unrelated courses, additional fees will be payable. Payment
- Fees are payable at enrolment by the following methods:
- Credit or Debit Card
- Approved Instalment Plan (EEA residents only, subject to status) via Direct Debit
- Bank Transfer (please contact our Finance Team for further details)
- Where learners elect to pay their course fees by an approved instalment plan, a 20% deposit is payable at enrolment with the remaining balance paid over a maximum of 6 consecutive monthly payments, or where the course is shorter than this, at least 6 weeks before the expected end date of the course. Documentation (i.e. bank statement) providing evidence of bank details must be presented at the time of enrolment in order to set up direct debit payments. Direct debits can only be made from a bank account with a UK sort code.
- In the event of failure to meet any Direct Debit / Instalment Plan commitment, the full fee will become due for immediate payment, and the Free2learn will actively seek to recover this debt and any court and/or legal costs incurred in the process of debt recovery.
- Where a course is closed or cancelled by the Free2learn a full refund will automatically be made to all learners enrolled without request.
- Should a learner decide to withdraw from a course, in accordance with the Consumer Rights Act 2015, refunds will only be granted if withdrawal is made in writing and is within the ‘cooling off’ period. The 14 day ‘cooling off’ period commences from the day after the learning agreement/contract has been signed. If the learner withdraws after this point, no refund will be granted and the learner will be liable for the fees for the entire course
- If a learner is dismissed for misconduct, no refund will be granted.
- In the case of cancellations made by an employer or sponsor in advance of 48 hours of the start of the course, the Free2learn will offer credit towards other offerings of the course or alternative courses, which should be redeemed within 12 months. Cancellations within 48 hours of the start of the course or after the commencement of the course will not be offered credit.
- ‘Publicly Funded’ is defined as those courses funded by:- ‘Education Skills Funding Agency’ (ESFA) responsible for funding 19+ Classroom-based and workplace learning and apprenticeships and ‘14-18 delivery and 19-24 high cost, high needs learners
- ‘Additionality’ is defined as the extra courses which, together with the primary course, form a cohesive programme of study e.g. first aid for learners studying child care, food hygiene being mandatory before learners can do any food preparation or cooking.
- ‘Home-based’ learners are defined as having been domiciled in the European Economic Area (EEA) for the last 3 years or more. Currently this comprises Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. Also included are the overseas territories of the countries above, a complete list can be found on the Nationality Eligibility Form.
- ‘Full Time’ is any programme of learning which lasts at least 540 guided learning hours within a 12 month period.
- ‘Funding Age’ for workplace learning or apprenticeships is the age at the start of the programme. For all other funding provision it is the age of the learner on 1st September in the year in which they start a programme of study.
- ‘Fees’ – Fees are composed of the following elements:-
- Mandatory fees. The following are fees that the Free2learn has identified are mandatory to achieve a course:-
- tuition fees
- awarding body registration fees
iii. examination and/or certification
- other additional fees (if applicable)
- Optional fees.
Learners are given a broad range of opportunities in addition to the mandatory requirements of their courses. If the learner wishes to purchase, for example, their own personal kits, uniform or go on additional trips, they have the opportunity to do so at their own cost.
Remission Categories’ and ‘Remitted Fees’ learners studying a publicly funded programme of study who are in receipt of ’active benefits’, or who satisfy other remission criteria, such as aged 19-23 studying a first level 2 programme, aged 19-23 studying a first level 3 programme or studying a Skills for Life programme (excluding ESOL), cannot be charged the mandatory fees shown above.
- ‘Active benefits’ are Job Seekers Allowance or Employment Support Allowance – Work Related Activity Group (ESA WRAG). The ESA WRAG group were those previously claiming Incapacity Allowance that have been assessed as being able to enter the labour market. Learners who are claiming other state benefits, who are not working and are actively seeking employment may ‘Self Declare’ and receive the same remission support as those on ‘active benefits’.
- Learners can purchase kit, equipment etc, for their own use. Learners may be charged for any ingredients; kit or items they wish to take home. Trips which are not mandatory to the success of the learner’s programme may be charged.
Signed: Gabriele Gherscovic