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Following on from the announcement by the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) that the Adult Education Budget (AEB) funding rules for 2018/19 will include full funding of courses for those eligible for co-funding but earning less than £15,726.50, the ESFA have confirmed that the change also applies to self-employed learners.

This means that learners who are self-employed but earning less that £15,726.50 will be eligible for full funding, in a reply to a query raised with their service desk, the ESFA stated:

“Self-employed learners who meet the low-wage criteria can be fully funded. Examples of evidence could include the learner’s previous year’s tax return or P60.”

As a reminder, whatever evidence your organisation sees must meet the following requirement from paragraph 152 of the funding rules:
“You must have seen evidence of the learner’s gross annual wages in these circumstances. 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. Please note this is not an exhaustive list, but must support your decision to award full funding to an individual who would normally be eligible for co-funding.”

One area where we think this could be beneficial, would be for self-employed learners without a full level 3 qualification who will now be able to be fully funded to undertake an Access to Higher Education Diploma, rather than needing to take out an advanced learning loan.

Another are where providers we work with will be able to make use of this flexibility is for self-employed ESOL learners. Many of us will be used to working with ESOL learners who need to improve their English skills in order to get a job, but this new flexibility of the AEB funding rules will allow ESOL learners who are on low wages to be fully funded to enhance their career prospects by improving their English further, perhaps by continuing on to a higher level ESOL qualification.

Gateway Qualifications has an extensive range of provision to support adults funded by the AEB from entry level to level 3; contact us now to find out more.

Useful links:

2018-19 AEB Funding rules

What you need to know about AEB Funding 2018-2019

AEB Funding Update 2018-2019 Webinar