FE Bursary, EMA, Childcare and Accommodation Assistance at both FE & HE levels
College administered funding is assessed and processed through the Student Funding Department here at West College Scotland at both non-advanced (FE) and advanced (HE) levels. Funds are released pending minimum requirements of 100% attendance from students in each college week and satisfactory levels of conduct and progress at all times.
Funds are assessed following Scottish Government Policy Criteria. Anyone who satisfies the residential requirements can apply for funding. In most cases, if you have been ordinarily resident in the United Kingdom for the last 3 years and are resident in Scotland on the date your course starts, you are likely to be eligible. There are a number of special cases in relation to residency requirements that may need further clarity of eligibility and for those students who are not eligible to have their fees paid should make direct contact with the College Finance Department to ensure alternative arrangements are put in place prior to starting their course.
Getting your funding in place
It is vital that you get your funding in place as soon as possible.
An invitation to apply for funding does not secure your place on a course, therefore, students who have accepted a conditional offer of course place should check with their relevant course faculty for clarification of place on their chosen course.
You can apply for funding regardless of your course offer status providing you have accepted the offer made.
All funding applications are completed online. A link to apply for funds through West College Scotland is sent to the email address supplied at the time of applying for your course choice. Links are automatic and sent to all students who have accepted their place on a course of study here at West College Scotland.
Uploading evidence to support your funding application
You must have received the link to apply in order to gain access to funds that you may be eligible for.
The uploading of documentation facility within the online application process has been further developed to allow for clear pictures of required documentation to be uploaded seamlessly from smart phones/tablets making the submission process faster for students.
Late applications – limits on backdating
In line with Government Policy Criteria, where an application for funding is fully submitted beyond the 6 weeks from when the course started it cannot be backdated therefore in cases like this the funding award would start from the submission date of application.
Who should you contact if you need general assistance?
If you require help to fill in your application form or assistance with uploading of requested documentation requests; please ask for assistance from a Student Advisor in the first instance where there are facilities in place to accommodate student needs.
Student Advisors will refer any students a member of staff within the Student Funding Department for further assistance where necessary.
Who should you contact about the progress of your application, payment or more specialist enquiries?
Enquiries relating to processing of applications, payments of funds and of a more specialised nature should be made directly to the Student Funding Department.
There is a Student Funding helpdesk operational at each campus. This is opened from 10:30am to 1pm, which covers class break times. Students are not permitted to interrupt class times to enquire about their funding applications
Students can contact the Student Funding Department at the email address or on the telephone number provided below. Where there is a requirement to speak directly with a member of the Student Funding Team appointments can be made to suit the student need.
The Student Funding Department cannot help you with SAAS enquiries
The Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS) is an external funding body. If you need help and are not sure what to do, contact one of our Student Advisors. For progress updates on SAAS applications, you must contact SAAS direct.
Please check that you have fully submitted your online funding application along with all required documentation to allow for an assessment of award to be carried out. You can check your online funding application account to monitor the progress of your application and payments when applicable.
Incomplete and missing information is the main cause of delays when processing applications for funding. Also, you must ensure that you have fully enrolled onto your chosen course of study before any eligible payment of funds can be released.
Childcare assistance offered is per student. There is a limit per academic session that can be awarded providing students meet the eligibility criteria as set out in Government Policies. All childcare funds are paid directly to providers on the students’ behalf; however, childcare provision agreements remain between the student and provider – not with West College Scotland.
Educational Maintenance Allowance (EMA)
Eligible students aged 16 or 17 years at the start date of the course may be entitled to an Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) of £30 per week and a bursary to cover study and travel expenses (if they live more than two miles walking distance from the campus they attend).
EMA payments are dependent on students attending 100% each week and are made directly into your nominated bank account every fortnight, in arrears. Part payment for part attendance of any week will not be made.
Are you a student between the age of 16 and 19 years and studying on a part-time basis?
If so, the Scottish Government has announced changes to the Educational Maintenance Programme effective from the 1 January 2016 which may affect you.
If you are and you are studying on a course that leads to a recognised qualification, meets the needs of the employer or the course is a formal access course then you may be able to apply for the Educational Maintenance Allowance (EMA).
If your household income is below either £24,421 where there is only one dependent child, or £26,884 where there a more than one dependent child then contact Student Funding Department and staff will be able to advise if you are eligible.
The rates for EMA Household Income are based on academic year 2016-17 as academic year rates for 2017-18 have yet to be set by the Scottish Government and these will be updated accordingly once issued.
Further Education Bursaries
Bursaries are normally offered to eligible full-time students aged 18 years and over at the start date of the course to cover maintenance and travel assistance costs (if you live more than 2 miles walking distance from your chosen campus).
If your course requires study items these are normally bought on your behalf from bursary funds and then issued by your department. If you have any additional support needs whilst at college you may be entitled to support towards this from bursary funds. Please advise your course Curriculum and Quality Leader of your requirements prior to commencing your course.
Payments are made directly into your nominated bank account every fortnight, in arrears. Students must achieve 100% attendance in each week otherwise bursary payments will be stopped. Part payment for part attendance of any week will not be made.
Lone parents whose youngest child is under 5 years old will normally be advised to apply for a bursary to cover their fees, travel and study expenses in order to maintain existing benefits. Where there is an entitlement to other public funds, Bursary Maintenance Allowance will not be awarded.
Students who require childcare provision to allow them to attend college can apply to the Childcare Fund for support. The fund can only cover formal, registered childcare costs for the days students are timetabled to attend college and course placement days. The maximum allowance that will be paid for any one student is £7,000. The maximum allowance is not per child.
Only those students who qualify for bursary support at FE level and students’ at HE level who qualify for the maximum loan from SAAS can apply to the Childcare Fund for support.
Students who wish to use the College nursery facilities at either Greenock or Paisley campus should make an application as soon as possible to ensure a place is available. Places are limited and are given on a first-come first-served basis. All places are provisional pending full award of childcare provision from the Childcare Fund from the Student Funding Department. Students who do not qualify for the Childcare Fund will be expected to pay their nursery fees.
For arrangements and payment options, follow this link: Nursery Provision
- Receiving an invitation email to apply for Childcare Funds does not guarantee you will qualify for the fund and only those students awarded will have their nursery place confirmed at West College Scotland therefore it is imperative you do not delay in making your application.
- All payment of Childcare Funds to external providers’ are made direct to their stated bank account every fortnight, in arrears. Students must achieve 100% attendance in each week otherwise payments will be stopped. Part payment for part attendance of any week will not be made. All childcare provision agreements are between the student and the provider therefore any outstanding balances due to non-attendance or non-eligibility will be the responsibility of the student concerned and not West College Scotland.
Further and Higher Education Discretionary Fund
This fund was formerly known as the Hardship Fund.
It is intended to help students who have the responsibility of paying rent/mortgage costs and are not living at home with a parent/guardian. Documentary evidence of tenancy/mortgage agreements in the student’s name will be required to be submitted along with other supporting documentation which will be detailed upon making the application.
Only those students who qualify for bursary support at FE level, and students at HE level who qualify for their fees to be paid as well as the maximum loan from SAAS can apply to the Childcare Fund/Discretionary Fund for support. Students who are entitled to receive assistance from Department of Work and Pensions for Housing Benefit cannot receive assistance for accomodation costs.
All Accommodation Applications, if awarded, will be paid from the FE/HE Discretionary Funds depending on the course level. The maximum assistance towards accommodation costs offered per week is £30. Payments of award will be made direct to the student’s bank account. Students must achieve 100% attendance in each week otherwise payments will be stopped. Part payment for part attendance of any week will not be made.
Funding Award Conditions
Conditions of Student Support Funding Awards
Academic Session 2017-18
The Conditions of the Assessment of Funding Awards including the level of award are subject to change throughout the Academic Year due to financial considerations including external and internal funding arrangements. If any changes in conditions occur written notification shall be given and it is a condition of any award that the College will not be bound to continue making any payments which might otherwise be payable in the event of a material change of circumstances affecting the College’s financial position. Such circumstances include, and are not restricted to, a reduction or withdrawal of funding.
The College is registered under the 1998 Data Protection Act; under the ‘Act’ information will be stored on a computer system by the College.
The College is under a duty to protect the public funds it administers and to this end may use the information provided for the prevention and detection of fraud, audit and monitoring purposes. This information may be shared with the Scottish Funding Council, other colleges and organisations which administer public funds solely for these purposes.
The following conditions apply to the funding that you will be assessed for and your agreement of these conditions renders them binding upon you. By submitting your application for funding you are accepting of the following:
- Have read in full, understand and will comply fully with the Terms & Conditions of Student Support Funds from West College Scotland in respect of the course you have chosen to study:
- Agree to repay any sum arising from an overpayment of any award made to you within the academic year you are studying in;
- UNDER 18 YEARS OF AGE: YOU MUST MAKE YOUR PARENT/LEGAL GUARDIAN AWARE OF THE TERMS & CONDITIONS FOR FUNDING FROM WEST COLLEGE SCOTLAND AS STATED IN THIS DOCUMENT. PARENT/LEGAL GUARDIAN OF STUDENT, WHO IS UNDER 18 YEARS OF AGE, MUST CONSENT IN FULL TO THE ABOVE PRIOR TO ANY FUNDING APPLICATION BEING MADE
Funding Awards Conditions
If the College ascertains that incorrect financial information has been provided by you, your parent(s), guardian, spouse or any other person on your behalf, the College may at its sole discretion reclaim all or part of any award made. The College may also pursue a civil claim against any person making misrepresentations, and in any such cases that individual may be reported to the appropriate authority.
If your course lasts for more than one academic year you must, should you wish funding for any further years, make a separate application for each academic year. Your award will not be automatically renewed or guaranteed. Students can receive a maximum of three years funding in any six years (Supported Learning courses, only, may attract a fourth year depending on progression). This includes funding at Further Education and Higher Education levels.
Repetition of courses will not be eligible for funding in the repeated year at any level. This also
applies for courses undertaken at the same level as the previous year completed. EMA funding is excluded where another course is undertaken at the same level, however, cannot be paid for a repeat of the same course.
Funds are awarded on the basis that, prior to the payment of any part of the award; you will not be indebted to the College e.g. overpayment of funding and tuition fee arrears. If you are so indebted, the College reserves the right to withhold payment or a part of the funding award until either all payments due from you have been made to the College or an arrangement to repay, acceptable to the College, has been entered into.
Provisional requirements will be detailed in the Comments Section of the Assessment of Award. Any awards which have a provision attached shall be withdrawn should the required documentation not be submitted by the stated date. Any overpayments which may have arisen due to a provision being attached to an award shall be invoiced for repayment.
No payment of funds will be made until you have accepted your place and enrolled onto your course of study at West College Scotland.
It is your responsibility and/or that of any person to whom payments are made on your behalf to inform the Student Funding Department immediately of any change:
- Of bank details;
- In your financial circumstances or the financial circumstances of any person whose income has been assessed in calculating your funding award.
All other personal information such as home/term-time address, telephone numbers, email address, next of kin(s), etc. should be updated through the college Student Records Department to ensure that the main database of information is correct at all times for use of other departments requiring this information, i.e. The Student Funding Department in order to keep in regular contact with you regarding your funding award(s).
(Please refer to Online College Procedures)
You shall attend regularly the course of study in respect of which the funding is awarded.
For every attendance week you do not attain 100% attendance no funding shall be payable for that week. There will be no part payment made for any funds in the event of an unsatisfactory attendance week period.
The only exceptions are for any periods of illness covered by valid Self-Authorised / or Medical Certificates submitted to the College. These may be set against the 100% attendance requirement.
Attendance is checked the Tuesday following after a two week period therefore any absences must be covered by the Monday following the two week period. (View Attendance Periods)
If you have a caring responsibility please ensure to make the department you are studying under fully aware of your circumstances prior to commencing your course.
(Please refer to Online College Procedures)
In addition to attendance requirements you must be able to demonstrate to your lecturers that you are making the expected progress within your chosen course of study and that your conduct meets the expected standards within the College. Adverse reports from any lecturer or staff member throughout the college in respect of either of these may result in your funding being withheld. Any payments held during such periods shall not be reinstated. Should your progress and / or conduct remain unsatisfactory for two consecutive attendance periods your funding will be withdrawn for the remainder of the academic year. Where the funding is reduced or withheld due to an adverse report and subsequently attendance, conduct or progress is reported to have improved to an appropriate level, the Student Funding Manager in consultation with your department of study has the discretion to:
- Restart your funding with deduction of the relevant number of week(s) funds or
- Consider modification of the deduction where good cause can be shown to justify such consideration.
Travel assistance is awarded, where applicable, from the Bursary Fund to FE students only and is paid on a 2 weekly basis in advance requiring 100% attendance each week. There will be no part payment made for any funds in the event of an unsatisfactory attendance week period.
The attendance period will be checked retrospectively therefore any period of unsatisfactory attendance will affect any future advanced travel installments. (View Attendance Periods)
Travel is not paid for college holiday periods as there is not a need for students to travel into college.
First payment of travel assistance is made at end of the first attendance week of your course of study providing proof of enrolment has been received.
Main Funds issued by West College Scotland are as follows:
- EMA (EMA funds are not payable for college holidays).
- Childcare Assistance at both Further and Higher Education levels (Childcare funds are not payable for college holidays).
- Discretionary Accommodation Assistance at both Further and Higher Education levels
Instalments of the above awarded funds (excluding travel assistance) are paid two weeks in arrears and are dependent on 100% attendance being achieved in each week. There will be no part payment made for any funds in the event of an unsatisfactory attendance week period. The attendance period will be checked retrospectively. (View Attendance Periods).
Childcare Assistance: Childcare payments are made directly to the childcare provider fortnightly in arrears providing attendance has met the 100% minimum requirement in each week. Responsibility of childcare provision is between the student and the provider only therefore the college will not be held responsible to pay any outstanding charges incurred by you through non-entitlement under the criteria of the award. Students must notify providers of any withhold of funds due to adverse reports in regards to attendance, conduct and progress. It is also the responsibility of students to pay any outstanding charges incurred due to adverse reports or early withdrawal from their course of study. Childcare assistance is paid for periods when students are in college and on essential course placements ONLY. It is the responsibility of the student receiving the assistance to contact the Student Funding Department immediately should timetable hours change.
Funding is cash limited and allocated on a first come first served basis, therefore please do not delay when applying for your funding or submitting the required documentation as stated on your acknowledgement email. It is advised that students who wish to have their funding decision in place PRIOR to commencing their course should have their online funding applications complete and all supporting documents submitted by close of business on 17th July 2016.
Students will have a maximum of 6 weeks from the official start date of their course to apply and submit all required documentation in order to have their award backdated to the date they started their course. Applications submitted after the 6 weeks from start date of course will be assessed on the date the fully completed application and final required documentation was received. This is in accordance with Scottish Funding Council Policies for funding.
All funds may close for applications by 31/03/2017, or sooner should funds be fully allocated.
ALL students’ who commence on their full-time NC or equivalent course MUST complete a form in order to have the cost of their course paid. Any students who have not done so by 31/01/17 will be issued with an invoice to pay the full cost of the course they are attending.
ALL students’ who commence on their full-time HNC/D or equivalent course MUST complete a SAAS application (www.saas.gov.uk) in order to have the cost of their course paid. Any student who has not done so will be issued with an invoice by the Finance Department to pay the full cost of the course they are attending.
Should you fail to comply with any of the conditions of this award: including attendance, progress and conduct and, in particular, should you withdraw from or be absent without due cause from the course of study in respect of which this funding is offered, then the College will be entitled, at its sole discretion, without giving prior notice to you:
- Require you to repay the whole or any part of any allowance already paid to you, or to another person on your behalf; and/or
- Cancel any future payments due from the funding award; and/or
- Cancel the funding award altogether.
View Conditions and Funding Periods in PDF format
Details for Academic Year 2017-18 will be published here shortly. The links below relate to Academic Year 2016-17: