Education student finance support funding has increased
The Department for Employment and Learning (DEL) provides financial assistance to individuals undertaking accredited courses at further education colleges in Northern Ireland.
The two main sources of support are Further Education (FE) Awards and college Hardship Funds, both of which are means tested and demand led.
Over the last five years the overall funding made available across both these funds has increased by £0.8million to a total of £8million.
In 2010/11, the FE Awards closing date changed from 30 June to 31 August for full-time courses and 30 September for part-time courses. The extension of the FE awards deadline has effectively encouraged more applications for FE Awards, thus reducing the number of students seeking assistance from the Hardship Funds.
Over the years 2009/10 to 2014/15, the money made available to the Hardship Funds has reduced by £1.3million. During the same period, due to an increase in demand, the amount of money available, per annum, through the FE Awards has increased by £2.1million from £3.8million to £5.9million, which is a net overall increase across both funds of £0.8million.
No applications have been rejected due to lack of funds. The six regional colleges promote and will continue to proactively promote all sources of finance to students. Other sources of student support also available include the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) and childcare support through Care to Learn. Child care support is also available through FE Awards and Hardship Funds.
Further information is available at: http://www.nidirect.gov.uk/further-education