0800 99 66 99

If you’re thinking about studying with St Helens College or University Centre St Helens, don't let the cost of studying deter you. You could qualify for some financial support, as well as this we have lots of flexible payment options. 

We have a range of financial support packages and additional benefits available for our adult students, aged 19 and over. Plus, your employer, the government and other agencies may offer funding, financial support and loans that can assist you to undertake study. The type and level of financial support/funding available to you may depend on your individual circumstances, such as age, level of study and financial situation.

If you join us on a full or part-time course we want to make sure that you can make the most out of your college experience and that everyone is able to study, regardless of their financial position. It is important that you speak to us to see what financial support help may be available to you.

Student Benefits

As a student at St Helens College you will benefit from:

  • Free Breakfast
    All of our students can get a free breakfast! Enjoy free toast, cereal or porridge and a hot or cold drink from 8.15am – 8.50am every weekday.

  • Free Microsoft Office 365 Package
    All of our students get 1TB of storage and full access to Office 365 including 5 licences for Microsoft Office which allows you to be able to install the software on your own computers or devices at home, completely free of charge.

  • Student discounts and NUS Membership
    As a student at St Helens College, you have access to a range of exclusive offers and discounts at retailers including Saints, Everton FC, Darkstar Laser, OD's Designer Clothing and more. You can even apply for the NUS Extra student discount card, costing just £12 it entitles you to a range of nationwide discounts, promotions and competitions.

19+ Advanced Learner Loans

Adult Learner Loan LogoFor a range of our adult courses you may be eligible for funding through an Advanced Learner Loan.  These loans help students aged 19 or above pay course fees. You may be eligible for one of these loans to cover the course costs for a college course at level 3, 4, 5 and 6. 

Getting an Advanced Learner Loan doesn't depend on your household income or your employment status, it isn't means tested and there's no credit check. You won't have to pay anything back until you're earning over £21,000 a year. Once you earn over this amount you pay back 9% of the earnings you receive above this figure. Use the Repayment Calculator to find out how much you would pay back each month based on your annual salary here.

Applications for the Advanced Learner Loan can be made from May 2016 for courses starting from 1st August 2016.

The Advanced Learner Loans are suitable for anyone who is:

  • Aged 19 and above at the start of the course
  • Studying at level 3 to level 6 in further education or training
  • a UK resident 
  • Have not previously had a loan to do the same type and level of qualification.
Accessing an Advanced Learner Loan means that rather than you having to pay for your course fees upfront, Student Loans Company will cover this cost for you. Before applying for an Advanced Learner Loan you will need to ensure you have a Learning and Funding Information Letter from us. To find out more or to apply, visit the GOV.UK website. There will be lots of help, information and guidance available from our dedicated student finance team – call into one of our information and enrolment events to speak to them.

NOTE: It’s important you consider your own circumstances and look into all options for paying for your course before choosing to take out an Advanced Learner Loan. This is NOT the responsibility of the College. If you want advice on managing your finances, you can get impartial money advice from the Money Advice Service. There’s also information on the National Careers Service website to help you consider all your options when thinking about a course funded through an Advanced Learner Loan.

Advanced Learner Loans FAQs

How much of a loan am I entitled to?

The amount you will receive depends on:

  • The type of course you take;
  • How much the fees are;

The minimum loan you can get is £300. You can choose to borrow either the full cost of your course or if you prefer, you can borrow some of the money and pay for the rest of the course yourself.

How will the loan be paid?

The money will be paid directly to the College once you have confirmed your attendance on the course by attending for 2 weeks.

Can I apply for more than one loan?

Yes, but you can only get one loan at a time. You can apply for more Advanced Learning Loans after you finish your course, up to four in total. You can only apply for one loan per level of study (for example you can't get a loan to fund a Level 3 course in Sport if you have previously had a loan to fund a Level 3 course in Catering).

Am I eligible for a loan?

To get a loan you must be:

Aged 19 or older (on the first day of your course); living in the UK on the first day of your course, and have lived in the UK for 3 years immediately before this taking an eligible course that is level 3, 4, 5 and 6. 

How do I apply?

You will be able to apply online or by post from May 2016 for courses starting between 1st August 2016 and 31st July 2017.

You will be able to apply even if your course has already started but you have to apply before the course finishes. You will need a National Insurance number before any money can be paid but you can still apply for a loan before you've got a National Insurance number. You will also need your passport details or another form of identity to apply for a loan.

When will I have to start repaying the loan?

You pay back your loan (plus interest) when you've finished your course and start earning more than £21,000 a year. If your income drops below this amount, then the repayments will stop (until you start earning more than £21,000 a year again).

Once you earn over £21,000, you will pay back 9% of your loan each month. For example, if you earn £25,000 a year your monthly repayments would be £30 (plus interest).

Can I apply for a loan to study on an Access to Higher Education (HE) course?

Yes, if you get a loan to cover tuition fees for an Access to HE course (e.g. a course that will prepare you for higher education) and then complete a higher education course, you won't have to repay the remaining loan for the access course.

NOTE: It’s important you consider your own circumstances and look into all options for paying for your course before choosing to take out an Advanced Learner Loan. This is not the responsibility of the College. If you want advice on managing your finances, you can get impartial money advice from the Money Advice Service at moneyadviceservice.org.uk. There’s also information on the National Careers Service website to help your consider all your options when thinking about a course funded through an Advanced Learner Loan.

19+ Advanced Learner Loan Bursary

If you have secured a 19+ Advanced Learner Loan, depending on your income, you could also get additional financial help with residential support, books, equipment, additional learning support, travel and childcare if:
  • You have a learning difficulty and/or disabilities
  • You need support with the cost of childcare
  • You could demonstrate financial hardship
  • You are ex-military personnel.

Learner Support Fund

Depending on your course, you could get help with the cost of course fees, examination and registrations fees, essential equipment, uniform, trips, travel and DBS checks if:

  • Your income (and that of your partner, if you live with them) is below £20,000 per year.
  • You receive Means Tested Benefits.*

Help with childcare costs

You will receive support with childcare costs if:
  • You receive Means Tested Benefits.*
  • You are on a low income. 

Free College Lunch

You will be entitled to a free lunch up to the value of £3.00 per day at any of St Helens College's catering outlets. This is on every day you are timetabled to attend College and you can even use this if you are on a trip or on work placement if:
  • You or your parents/carers receive Means Tested Benefits.* 
  • You are subject to a Learning Difficulty Assessment.
  • You are subject to an Education and Care Plan.

Sarah Cowley Educational Foundation

The Sarah Cowley Educational Foundation is a trust fund available to students attending either a further or higher education course; or to assist in the entry into a profession, trade or calling. For more information, please visit the Sarah Cowley Educational Foundation page on St Helens Council's website. Click here for the Application for an Award from the Sarah Cowley Educational Foundation.


Financial support from your employer

Many employers have an allocated budget to invest in the development of their employees. If you are considering studying for a qualification which is going to enhance your career or your performance in your current job, then your employer may agree to fund your study.

We accept payment directly from employer’s so it’s worth taking a look at your employer’s policy on support for further/professional qualifications (this is usually available from your HR department). There may be criteria for accessing financial support or time off. Even if your employer does not have a policy or funding formally available, you can still make a case for support.

Student Loan

For our full and part-time undergraduate degree courses, you can apply for a tuition fee loan from Student Loans Company. You can apply for the exact amount of loan to cover your tuition fees and this will be paid directly to us by the Student Loan Company on your behalf.

This tuition fee loan isn't based on household income, there is no credit check and there is no upper age limit to apply.

To apply for the student finance, you don't need a confirmed place at university or college. You should apply using your preferred choice of course and this can be changed at a later date if needed.

In addition to a tuition fee loan, full-time undergraduate students may also apply for help with living costs in the form of a maintenance loan and maintenance/special support grant during their time at University.

To find out more, or to apply visit: www.gov.uk/studentfinance.

Professional and Career Development Loan - England

Professional and Career Development Loans are bank loans that can be used to pay for courses and training that help with your career or help get you into work. You may be able to borrow between £300 and £10,000. Loans are usually offered at a reduced interest rate and the government pays the interest while you’re studying.

The GOV.UK Professional and Career Development Loan section has information on eligibility and how to apply, as well as information on repayments and interest.

Paying course/tuition fees yourself

If you decide not to apply for a loan to cover course/tuition fees, then the following payment arrangements are available to you:

  • Payment in full at the time of enrolment.
  • Payment in 3 equal, interest free instalments. The first instalment to be paid at enrolment. An invoice will be sent to you for the remaining 2 instalments.
  • Monthly, interest free payments by direct debit.

Payments can be made at the fees counter by the following methods:

  • Cash
  • Cheque - made payable to St Helens College
  • Credit/debit card (most major cards accepted).

To be eligible for the direct debit option you must pay the first instalment at enrolment and you will be required to fill in a direct debit form at this time. The remaining payments will then be spread evenly over the remaining months.

No administrative charge will be made for any of the above methods.

Payments by card or arrangements for payments of fees can also be made with our finance team by calling 01744 623305 / 01744 623371 / 01744 623372.

Find out more

For more information on the financial support available to you, contact our Student Support team by calling 0800 99 66 99. Alternatively, you can drop into College, Monday to Thursday, 9.00am - 4.30pm or Friday, 9.00am - 4.00pm. 

Please note that terms, conditions and exclusions apply. This information is updated regularly, but we cannot guarantee that the detail will remain accurate as Government policy often dictates changes.

* Means tested benefits includes: Income Support, Income Based Jobseekers Allowance, Income Related Employment and Support Allowance, the guaranteed element of State Pension Credit, Child Tax Credit (provided that you are not entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual income that doesn't exceed £16,190), Universal Credit or support under part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999.