A new trial will enable AEB providers to fully fund learners, who are employed and in receipt of a low wage and cannot contribute towards the cost of co-funding fees.
The one-year trial, for the 2018 to 2019 funding year, will enable more eligible adults to access AEB funding.
This will help to increase AEB participation and lift social mobility barriers to learning for those who would not otherwise engage due to course fees being unaffordable. It will also support those that are in low paid employment and are wanting to further progress in work and in their chosen career.
The current AEB fee remission rules focus on providing full funding for eligible unemployed adults, young people (aged 19 to 23) with skills below level 2, and adults aged 19 and over, without English and maths up to level 2. Currently individuals who do not fall into one of these categories may have to contribute 50% towards the cost of their learning (commonly known as co-funding).
The new eligibility requirements for learners to receive full funding during the trial are:
- those that are eligible for co-funding, and,
- earn less than £15,736.50 annual gross salary based on the Social Mobility Commission’s low pay threshold of £8.07 (hourly rate in 2016) and on the assumption of a 37.5 hour contract with paid statutory holiday entitlement
To confirm learner eligibility providers must:
- see and keep supporting evidence in the learner file, for example, this could be a wage slip within 3 months of the learner’s learning start date, or a current employment contract, which states gross monthly/annual wages
- enter the ILR monitoring code (363) for every eligible learner they fully fund through this trial, this is imperative as we will use data collected from this trial to inform future adult funding policy development
We have engaged with representative bodies, Mayoral Combined Authorities and the Greater London Authority, who have been supportive of the trial and it’s aims to make learning more accessible for the low paid.
The rules associated with the trial are in version 1 of the adult education budget (AEB) funding rules 2018 to 2019.