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The hidden costs of further education

Monday 30 June 2008 Campaigns Archive

NUS and the Learning and Skills Network have joined forces to conduct the first piece of research for more than ten years into the cost of studying in further education (sixth form and general further education colleges).

The further education system has changed enormously

In that time the FE system has changed enormously. Student numbers have grown, colleges have restructured and the government has reformed student financial support, introducing the education maintenance allowance (EMA) and adult learning grant amongst other initiatives.

The time has come to ask students “What does your education cost?”  

The research looks at all the costs associated with attending college, such as...

  • Accommodation
  • Transport
  • Parking and childcare


And costs related to the course...

  • Books
  • Equipment
  • Library and other fines
  • Printing and photocopying 
  • Use of the Internet   

An expert in the field is conducting the research to ensure sector-wide respect, and we are working collaboratively with other agencies to encourage participation.

The results of the research will be given to government, and to other agencies responsible for determining the level of financial support to which you are entitled.

The research report will be put into good use

It will be used to inform the sector on the real experience of learners like you in colleges across the country, as well as to help your students’ union campaign in your college. 

The final report of the research will be published on the, along with briefings and materials so local students’ unions and students can use its results to campaign for change in your college.