PROSPECTIVE students are being offered a raft of benefits as a college strives to ensure the cost of living crisis is no barrier to learning.
A range of help is available at Darlington College including free breakfasts and other meals, free driving lessons to make students more employable, financial help with transport, equipment and clothing and activities to keep them healthy.
Marketing and engagement manager Claire Turner said: “Financial issues should never be a barrier to continued learning and this year we are more conscious than ever of the pressure on students and their families.
“Anyone thinking of studying with us, whether that’s fulltime school leavers or adults seeking to continue their learning or training, should come and talk to us about the help available.”
Information on all aspects of financial support is available from the college’s Student Finance Department on (01325) 503037, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Details of college opportunities are also available at www.darlington.ac.uk.
Students aged 16 to 18 years on fulltime courses will not pay for any course costs. The college also has funds to help with associated costs, such as transport, meals and equipment, while they study.
Support with transport is available for those students with a household income of below £45,000 who live more than one mile from the college.
Fulltime students also benefit from free swimming and gym sessions at the Dolphin Centre to help keep them physically and mentally fit and well. Driving lessons will help them become mobile so they can take up employment and placement opportunities across the region.
A bursary is available for certain students aged 16 to 18 which supports them with up to £1,200 per year in the form of kit, essential equipment, and transport.
Students can also receive a contribution of up to £250 for help with the cost of clothing, equipment and kit for courses such as hairdressing, beauty or catering if their household income is below £45,000.
All students receive a free breakfast while others could be eligible for free meals. There is help too with childcare fees for students under 20 studying through the Care to Learn Fund.
Those facing ‘exceptional circumstances’ may be helped through the college’s emergency fund.
All students in receipt of financial support are expected to meet agreed standards of attendance and behaviour.
Claire added: “Our aim is to remove as many obstacles to learning as possible so students can maximise the diverse range of opportunities offered by Darlington College.
“We are hear for the whole community, whether that’s school-leavers looking to the next chapter of their learning, adults seeking to upskill or retrain to meet the needs of a fast changing world, or employers needing a highly skilled and motivated workforce at a time of national recruitment and retention issues.”