Students on benefits are being given the opportunity to join courses at a discounted rate at City of Bath College after extensive lobbying by the Association of Colleges (AoC).
From today, students over 19 who are in receipt of income-based job seekers allowance (JSA), income based Employment Support Allowance, Council Tax benefit, Housing benefit, Income support or contribution-based Employment Support Allowance are eligible for a reduction in fees for certain courses.
However, the fee reduction applies only to those students who are taking courses as a direct route into employment. Meanwhile, students who meet this criteria but have already enrolled will be given a refund.
The reduction in fees also applies to students aged over 19 who are unemployed, although this depends upon unemployed parents or partners who are in receipt of the aforementioned benefits.
Matt Atkinson, City of Bath College Principal, said: “While it is regrettable that these changes to national guidelines have taken place at the last minute, they are great news for many of our students applying for courses in the 2011/12 academic year.”
Atkinson explained that the discounted courses available include art, business, carpentry, music performing arts and stonemasonry.
“Our message to would-be students is that it’s not too late to sign up to a college course,” he said.
The City of Bath College has over 8,000 students enrolled onto either one or 1600 full/part time courses.
Adults in receipt of benefits other than JSA and Employment support allowance may still be able to obtain reduced course fees on a range of full-time vocational diplomas and BTECs.