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90% of colleges say their bursary funds won’t meet students’ needs – new AoC survey reveals

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Today (17 July), @AoC_Info is releasing its follow up survey to the one published in early May on the profound impact of Covid-19 on colleges, staff and students.

Key findings:

  • In many colleges all or most students under 19 have continued their learning remotely in the summer term with more than half of planned learning hours being delivered remotely.
  • Most of the colleges report that teaching staff were confident in delivering remote learning.
  • High quality digital resources are most available for Maths, Computing and IT, Business and Health and Social Care.
  • The vast majority of colleges have plans in place to enrol students online and will offer online college induction in September.
  • Many colleges have evidence of increased student hardship and report that their bursary / hardship funds are under more pressure as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic requiring an average of an additional £300,000 per college.
  • Over half of colleges report that their existing and additional bursary funding from DfE has not enabled them to purchase laptops and/or connectivity to support all their disadvantaged learners.
  • Three out of four colleges would need additional resources to support the provision of free college meal vouchers to current eligible students over the summer.
  • Four out of five colleges anticipate major transport difficulties around September re-opening.
  • The vast majority of colleges report additional demand for mental health and wellbeing services for students during the Covid-19 pandemic and have put additional mental health and wellbeing support in place for their students.
  • Just under half of colleges are planning to make redundancies by the end of the autumn term 2020 and a fifth will have made redundancies by September 2020.

Deputy Chief Executive, Julian Gravatt said:

“This survey, issued in 2020, aims to do the same as our first, but with a greater focus on the challenges of preparations for a more comprehensive reopening in September. The latest AoC sector survey indicates the financial challenges students and colleges are facing.

Nearly 90% of colleges have evidence of increased student hardship and that their bursary funds will not be able to meet these demands. The survey data indicates that an average of £300,000 of additional resources will be needed to meet this need. 

At the same time 46% of colleges expect they will need to make redundancies by the end of the autumn term 2020. 21% will have made redundancies by September 2020. In this week’s fiscal report, the Office of Budget Responsibility highlighted September as a likely peak in redundancies. Colleges only cut jobs as a last resort where they have exhausted all other options.”

You can view the full survey results here.


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