Memorandum from the Association of Colleges
1. Although much less systematic research
has been undertaken into the costs of learning at further education
level than in higher education, the evidence available makes clear
both that the types of costs are similar (accommodation, living
costs, transport, child care, books, equipment, and so on), and
that overall levels of expenditure are broadly the same, regardless
of academic level.
2. The differences in participation among
different social classes which are well documented in higher education
are already apparent in the 16-19 phase. There can be little doubt
that financial factors play an important role in determining whether
a student stays on in learning post-16.
3. Over two fifths of 16 year olds and around
three fifths of 17 year olds hold part-time or casual jobs. While
the majority work less than 10 hours per week, some 25 per cent
work in excess of 16 hours.
4. In real terms expenditure on FE student
support is not greatly different (at around £220-230 million
per annum) from that prevailing at the beginning of the last decade,
despite the rapid expansion in enrolments since then.
5. Take up of EMAs is much higher among
college students than among those in schools (with over 60 per
cent of allowance holders attending colleges).
6. A higher proportion of college students
receive the maximum EMA allowanceabout 80 per cent of those
attending college compared with under 70 per cent of those in
7. Possession of an EMA appears to improve
attendance (one college reports 91 per cent attendance among EMA
holders compared with 81 per cent for those without an EMA). It
also appears to improve retention (by some 18 per cent in one
college and 9 per cent in another).
8. It remains the view of AoC that an early
national roll-out of the EMA scheme must be a priority, in the
interests both of widening participation and of removing geographical
9. In real terms, expenditure on adult student
support in FE (now running at about £82 million per annum)
is now little more than half that of a decade ago.
10. Far greater levels of support are available
for those in higher educationin excess of £1.8 billion
in loans (at a resource cost of about half that figure), and some
£91 million in HE Access Funds in 2001-02, for a student
population which in full-time equivalent terms is only slightly
greater than that in further education.
11. The availability of high quality childcare
facilities, accessible on terms which reflect the needs of learners,
is inadequate in many areas, and potential learners are disadvantaged.
12. AoC has recommended, within its submission
to the current spending review, that provision should be made
in 2004-05 and 2005-06 for improvements in adult learner support
in further education, built around:
(a) an increase in college access and childcare
funds of £20 million in the first year rising to £40
million in the second;
(b) the development of a replacement for
the ILA scheme, through which elements of learner support can
(c) the introduction of a pilot scheme of
income contingent loans for level 3 study, with an allocation
of £20 million in the first instance.