[holding answer 16 September 2009]: There is a range of financial assistance to learners entering further education. Learners on priority provision, as well as those in receipt of income-related benefits, are not required to pay a fee for learning.
Adult learners (aged 19 plus) can apply for the Adult Learning Grant which pays up to £30 per week to those on low incomes undertaking full-time learning for their first full Level 2 or first full Level 3 qualification. Education maintenance allowance (EMA) of up to £30 per week is available to eligible l6-19 year olds participating in learning that meets the EMA eligibility criteria.
Colleges are allocated discretionary funding to help students aged 20 and over meet childcare costs. Learners under the age of 20 can apply for help with childcare costs through Care to Learn. Discretionary Learner Support Funds are also available for learners over the age of 16 experiencing financial hardship.
Learners can also apply for loans. Since July 2009, students have been able to apply for Professional and Career Development Loans (P and CDLs). These build on the successful Career Development Loans programme and offer more generous terms for students with loans up to £10,000 and lower interest rates.
[holding answer 16 September 2009]: Expenditure by the former Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS) on adult further education (FE) and skills for 2008-09 was £4.852 billion. This is based on expected outturn data as reported in the 2009 departmental report (July 2009).
The majority of funding is routed through the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) and supports adult participation through the Adult Learner Responsive route, Employer Responsive route (Train to Gain and Apprenticeships), and Adult Safeguarded Learning.
Some of the resource expended by DIUS supported the wider FE sector including the pre 19 age group, in the role which DIUS had as sponsor of the FE service.