June 3, 2020

Have your say – Consultation on further education support and charging policy at CAFRE

DAERA has had a long standing policy of providing financial support, on a means-tested basis, to students of any age studying full-time Further Education (FE) courses at CAFRE through a Living Expenses Grant. Childcare Allowance, Hardship Funding and Disability Support are also available separately. Currently part-time FE students are not eligible for support.

DAERA commissioned a review of this FE support and charging policy at CAFRE in 2018/19. The review found that the current support model was no longer fit for purpose and did not adequately support students most in need or those students who studied on a part time basis. The recommendations arising from the review included: (i) identifying options for widening FE support to part-time students and, as a consequence, eligibility to other support mechanisms; and (ii) identifying options to ensure that the FE Award targets those most in need, helps with ongoing costs of living expenses including transport costs and reduces the number of hardship applications. The Review found no evidence in support of introducing charging for FE courses at CAFRE.

Emerging findings and recommendations of the review were presented to stakeholders, including CAFRE students, at focus groups held in October/November 2019. The feedback from these events has helped to shape proposals for the future direction of FE student support. The proposals include:

• extending support to part-time students for books and equipment associated
with their part-time study;
• increasing the rate of support available;
• raising the lower household income threshold;
• lowering the upper household income threshold; and
• maintaining current policy of no charges for FE courses.

These proposals now form part of a public consultation on FE Support and Charging policy at CAFRE and you are invited to respond on the DAERA website.

As a CAFRE student you will appreciate how important this consultation is and you are encouraged to provide a response by the 11 September 2020 deadline.

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