Borders College

Information for Students thinking about studying at Borders College

Welcome to Borders College, we are delighted that you are seriously thinking about a course of study with us and look forward to helping you grow, find new opportunities and reach your full potential.

Naturally new students have lots of queries and questions and this is to be expected. We have prepared some information about some of the main areas you might need some help with and this can be found below. However, please do not hesitate to contact our team of dedicated Student Advisors who are on hand, within the Student Advice Centre, to provide any advice, guidance and support you may need prior to starting at College.

Am I able to get financial support while studying at College?

  • Students studying on a full-time course, which leads to a qualification at a further education level (this does not include Higher National Certificate/Diploma) may be eligible for financial support either in the form of a Further Education Bursary or an Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA).
  • Students over 18 and ordinarily resident in Scotland at the start of their course may qualify for a Further Education Bursary which includes an allowance towards transport and essential course costs. Student bursaries are means tested and any amount you may be entitled to will depend on the level of your parental, spouse and/or student income.
  • Students under 18, ordinarily resident in Scotland with a household income of less than £24,421* (with one child in education) or £26,884* (with two or more children in education) at the start of their course may qualify for an Education Maintenance Allowance, and/or an allowance towards transport and essential course costs.
  • In the past the College has been able to offer help towards course costs and transport for the majority of under 18’s and we hope to continue to do this. In order to access this, students must complete an on-line funding application form even if they do not think they will qualify for an EMA
  • Child Benefit and Child Tax Credits – This can be claimed by the adult with primary responsibility for care of any student less than 20 years of age on a further education level (not HNC/D) course. Child Benefit and Child Tax Credit is not just for young people whilst they are at school.

Details of how to apply for Student Funding will be automatically emailed to all students who are offered a place on a Further Education level course at Borders College. Applications are required to be completed by 30th June 2017.
* Figures correct at time of printing but may be subject to change

What if I am studying a Higher National Certificate/Diploma?

The Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS) provides funding through loans and limited bursaries to students studying on a full-time Higher Education level course (our HNC/HND).

SAAS also covers your tuition fee and a contribution towards your travel costs is included in the SAAS loan, therefore it is essential that students studying on the HNC/HND courses apply for funding. This must be done online at www.saas.gov.uk before the 30th June 2017 to ensure your funding is in place prior to the start of your course.

Visit www.saas.gov.uk for more useful information and advice and guidance on making an application for funding.

Is there any other financial help available?

Some additional financial help may be available to eligible students to assist with childcare costs. Additional assistance may also be available for general living expenses if you are experiencing real hardship as a result of studying at College.

Am I entitled to financial support if I study on a part-time basis?

Students attending a part-time further education level course may be eligible for a bursary consisting of payment of course costs and appropriate travel. Further details and an application form should be requested from the Student Advice Centre.

I am a student who is travelling from outwith Scotland to study. Am I entitled to any financial support?

Students who are not normally resident in Scotland will need to have sufficient funding in place to cover the tuition fee and other course costs e.g. equipment and books and be able to support any transport, accommodation and living costs for the duration of your course.

Young students under the age of 21 on a further education level course and living away from home for the purposes of their study may be eligible for housing benefit assistance.

You should contact your local Learning Skills Council or Local Authority for more information and advice.

Further information can be found under the Future Students tab at Financing Your Studies on this website.

How will I get to College?

Students have the choice of either travelling to College using the public bus services, by train for communities on the Borders rail line or making their own travel arrangements and we encourage students to car share wherever this is convenient. A limited mileage allowance can be made available to students who are using their own car to travel to College. A number of specific College bus services are also utilised in areas where existing public services are not available.

Students who are eligible to receive either EMA or Bursary or are under 18 and live more than 3 miles from their College campus are normally entitled to a travel pass.

Eligible students living in rural areas more than 3 miles from the nearest bus pick up point may also be entitled to a limited mileage allowance. This should be used to help students make that journey but may not cover full costs of a taxi.

Does the College have accommodation for students?

Students Accommodation at the Scottish Borders Campus is provided through a partnership agreement with Heriot Watt University, whom we share the Scottish Borders Campus with, and offer high quality accommodation within the multi-million pound new, contemporary Jean Muir Student Village situated adjacent to the campus.

Accommodation spaces are limited therefore priority is given to students who are in their first year of study at Borders College and who are not normally resident within a reasonable travelling distance to the College.

All of the rooms are self-catered, ensuite and situated within a 5 bedroom flat. Each bedroom is 15 square metres with a three quarter size bed, excellent storage with a study area. You will have your own private bathroom and shower and share a kitchen/dining area with the 5 other residents within your flat, these are bright, modern and well equipped.

Included within your accommodation contract will be a regular cleaning service, all heating and power, internet connection (24Mbps as standard), security and repairs and maintenance where an item/facility is deemed faulty. Students who are eligible to receive EMA/Bursary may be entitled to some support towards College-managed accommodation costs.

Further accommodation information is detailed on our website within the Future Students section under Accommodation.

Does Borders College have a Students’ Union/Association?

Yes, it’s known as Borders College Students’ Association (BCSA) and is run by a team of elected student officers. BCSA aims to enhance the student experience at Borders College. They organise and promote events, provide voluntary and employment opportunities and offer independent support and advice to all students. BCSA also work closely with Class Representatives and the College Management Team to ensure students are represented in every aspect of their college experience.

Students can make a real difference by becoming involved as a Class Representative or Faculty Council Chair, or by running for election as a Students’ Association Officer.

If you have any questions or would like to know more, get in touch at bcsa@borderscollege.ac.uk.

What if I need extra support with my learning?

Borders College is committed to supporting all students to help them achieve.

If you require help with any of the following:

  • Learning difficulty
  • Specific learning difficulty, e.g. dyslexia
  • Physical disability
  • Visual or hearing impairment
  • Health problems
  • Financial problems
  • Personal or emotional problems, which may have an impact on your learning

You may be able to have:

  • Special assessment and examination arrangements
  • Help in accessing technical support
  • Adapted materials
  • Additional financial assistance
  • Additional support and guidance
  • Additional support with course work

Higher National students should apply for DSA (Disabled Student Allowance) from SAAS at the time of their loan application to provide funding for any additional support or equipment required.

Learning Support staff are available to help with any problems or difficulties which students may be experiencing during their time in College.

If specialist help is needed, staff may be able to put students in touch with a network of other support agencies.

What other support is available to help me while I am at College?

The College Student Welfare Team are available to help you with all aspects of your welfare and wellbeing while at College including:

Your health and wellbeing

  • Personal and emotional support including mental health and grief and bereavement support
  • Sexual health advice including C-Card and C-Card+ (condom service)

Your funding, finances or benefits

  • Help with finances including applying for your EMA, Bursary, College Discretionary, Childcare Funds or SAAS
  • Funding advice including help to complete forms and applications for bursary, EMA or SAAS
  • Advice on accessing other benefits

Other useful services

  • Accommodation advice, including eligibility and applying for housing benefit
  • Childcare advice
  • How to contact other useful local community services and support agencies

Higher Education and progression to University

  • Help and guidance on matters to do with SAAS funding support
  • Information, guidance and support for the UCAS application system
  • Getting yourself prepared for Higher Education/University study
  • Information on progression routes and articulation to Universities who have partnerships with the College

Remote Reporting Agency

The College acts as a remote reporting site for the Police, providing a safe and welcoming environment where students, staff or members of the public can report any crimes, particularly hate crimes, or any other relevant information.

For a confidential appointment, contact the Student Advice Centre on T: 01896 662516 or email: studentwelfare@borderscollege.ac.uk

Whatever the problem, the Student Welfare Team is there to help.

What happens after your interview?

Your interview serves a dual purpose:

  • It assists the Course Tutors to assess that the course is right for you or to consider whether an alternative course would better meet your needs.
  • It gives you the opportunity to find out more about the College and the course, and ensure it is right for you.
  • You will be informed in writing of the outcome of your interview by the beginning of May. i.e. whether you have a place at College or not.
  • Successful applicants will receive an Offer of Place accompanied by an Acceptance of Place confirmation and details regarding funding.
  • Please let us know within 7 days of receipt if you are taking or not taking up the place offered to you. If you have made the decision not to take up the place we can then offer it to someone else.
  • Following receipt of your Acceptance of Place you will be notified and invited to make your application for student funding (EMA, Bursary) via our online application process.
  • Students who accept their offer of place may be invited to attend an Information Day in May/June when you will receive further information and advice to prepare you for the start of your course in August.