Funding Your Tuition
16-18 YEARS OLD
If you are 16 to 18 years old on the 31st August and starting a course in September, and you’re a UK national or a ‘Home’ student, your course is free and there are no fees to pay. For more information on the definition of a Home student please visit the UK Council for International Student Affairs website.
19+ YEARS OLD
If you are 19+ at the start of your Level 4 Diploma course, your fees are £4,220 per year. Please note, if you are 19+, you are ineligible to study a Level 2 or Level 3 at the Fashion Retail Academy.
Advanced Learner Loans are available for students aged 19 or over*. You don’t need to have your income assessed to be eligible. You’ll only start paying it back once you’re earning over £27,295. You’ll pay back 9% of anything you earn over this amount.
For more details about the Advanced Learner Loans and to apply, please visit the government website.
*Advanced Learner Loans are not currently available for Level 4 Data Analytics for Retail.
FE Fees & Funding Policy
Fees & Charges Summary
A deposit is due on the FRA portal within two weeks of accepting your offer. Without payment of a deposit, your offer is not secure. You’ll need to pay:
- £350 if you are paying privately (£300 of which will be taken off the final balance)
- £50 if you are taking out an Advanced Learner loan
Your deposit is non-refundable if you change your mind about studying with us. In the highly unlikely event that the course is cancelled, your deposit will be refunded in full.
For selected courses, a £99 fee per year is payable at enrolment. This is to cover the cost of materials you’ll use as part of your studies. This applies to:
- Level 3 Fashion Design
- Level 4 Visual Merchandising
- Level 4 Garment Technology for Fashion
PAYING YOUR FEES
All outstanding fees and payments are due during online enrolment.
- If you are paying yourself, your tuition fee balance is due at enrolment. This will be your course fees, minus your initial deposit.
- If you are paying by Advanced Learner loan, you will be required to add your unique learner loan reference during online enrolment.
You’ll be able to contact our Finance team if you would like to use alternative methods of payment such as cheque, credit card or direct debit.
(Tuition fees are subject to change - the fees due are effective at enrolment.)
EU & INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS
We welcome international students with approval from UK Visas and Immigration on our Level 4 Diploma courses. If you’re an international student, your course fees will be £8,500 a year from August 2022 onwards.
If you are an EU resident who is currently living with settled status in the UK, you are not considered an international student. You'll need to provide evidence of your settled status - for example, your share code - when you apply.
EU residents not living in the UK with settled status are classed as international students. You can check if you need a UK Student Visa to study at the Fashion Retail Academy on the government website.
Once we have offered you a place on one of our courses, we’ll send you a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies statement (CAS). This statement will include your CAS number, which you’ll need to apply for your Student Visa.
- If you’re applying from outside the UK, the earliest you can apply for a visa is 6 months before you start your course.
- If you’re applying from inside the UK, the earliest you can apply for a visa is 3 months before you start your course.
- You must apply for your Visa within 6 months of receiving your CAS.
- You’ll need to pay a number of fees and surcharges as part of your application.
As part of your application, you’ll need to prove that
- You can read, write, speak and understand English
- You can financially support yourself during your studies.
For more information about applying to the Fashion Retail Academy as an international student, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
ADVANCED LEARNER LOANS
An Advanced Learner Loan can cover your tuition fees. You can apply if you’re
- Aged 19 and above
- Studying for a higher level than your existing qualifications.
The amount of money you can borrow depends on your course. The minimum amount you can borrow is £300.
Advanced Learner Loans are not currently available for Level 4 Data Analytics for Retail or any of our Online Courses.
REPAYING YOUR LOAN
You won’t need to pay anything until the April after you complete or leave your course, and your income is over the £27,295 repayment threshold. Monthly repayments are based on how much you earn, not the amount that you’ve borrowed.
You’ll pay back 9% of any money you earn over £27,295. On a salary of £30,000, you would pay back approximately £4.70 per week – the price of a cup of coffee and a muffin. You can also make voluntary repayments at any time.
You’ll have to pay the Advanced Learner Loan back, plus any interest. Interest is charged from the date the first payment is made to your learning provider. Interest is charged at the Retail Price Index (RPI) + 3% while you complete your course and for one month after you leave your college or training provider. After that, interest is linked to your earnings.
Any outstanding balance is automatically written off 30 years after your scheduled qualification end date.
Your eligibility for the loan doesn’t depend on your income, and there are no credit checks.
To be eligible, you must be:
- Aged 19 or older on the first day of your course
- Currently living in the UK and have been living in the UK for three years before starting your course.
- A UK citizen or have a ‘settled status’ - this means there are no limits on how long you can stay in the UK.
- Enrolled on a Level 3 or 4 Diploma
You can check if you're eligible using this Eligibility Checker Tool
Advanced Learner Loans are not currently available for Level 4 Data Analytics for Retail
HOW TO APPLY
You can apply for an Advanced Learner Loan online once you've got a place on an eligible course. Applications usually open around May for the following September.
We'll send you a Learning & Funding information letter, which contains everything you’ll need to complete your loan application.
Before taking out a loan, you should consider all your options. If you want advice on managing your finances, visit the Money Advice Service for impartial advice.
For more information on loans and how to apply, visit the government website or email email@example.com.
For information and advice on learning, career and funding options, visit the National Careers Services website.
The FRA believes in education for all. Our bursaries are designed to offer support to the most disadvantaged students.
Bursaries are allocated after enrolment and funds distributed amongst those most in need. A range of means tested and age targeted support can include a contribution towards travel costs, laptop loans and Free School Meals.
We only accept applications for bursaries after you have completed enrolment. Limited funds are available.
16 TO 19 BURSARY FUND
We have a number of bursaries available for students aged 16 to 19, funded by the Education & Skills Funding Agency (ESFA).
Each year, the ESFA sends a fixed amount to cover all bursaries. This means that the amount we pay each year can change. Our bursaries include:
- Free Meals
- 16 - 19 Discretionary Bursary
- Vulnerable Bursary
When you apply for a bursary, you'll need to provide us with evidence so we can assess your eligibility for the bursary. We'll need to do this every year you are studying with us.
You must be 16 or over, but under 19, on 31 August to be eligible for help from the Discretionary Bursary and Free Meals funds during that academic year. If you're 19 or over, you'll only be eligible if you're a '19+ Continuer'. This means that you're continuing on a course you began when you were 16 to 18 or have an active Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP).
You're eligible for the Free Meals fund if you are receiving, or have parents/guardians who are receiving, one or more of the following benefits:
- Income Support
- Income-based Jobseekers Allowance
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
- Support under part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
- The Guarantee element of State Pension Credit
- Child Tax Credit (provided you're not entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual gross income of no more than £16,190, as assessed by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC))
- Working Tax Credit run-on - this is paid for 4 weeks after someone stops qualifying for Working Tax Credit
- Universal Credit with net earnings not exceeding the equivalent of £7,400 pa (after tax and not including any benefits you get)
16 TO 19 DISCRETIONARY BURSARY
To be eligible for support from the Discretionary Bursary fund, your household income must be under a certain amount. The current academic year's threshold is £35,000 per year (this could change for future academic years). For more details, please visit the government website.
You can apply if you:
- Are on a full-time course that's fully funded by the ESFA
- Are living in a household with a joint gross annual income of less than £35,000 a year before tax and deductions
- Are ‘settled’ in the UK and have been ordinarily resident for at least three years prior to starting at FRA
- Have pre-settled or settled status post-Brexit. You must be able to evidence that you were resident in the UK prior to 31 December 2020
- Have been recognised as a ‘refugee’ by the UK Government, or the child of a refugee, or have been granted Humanitarian Protection, or have EU Temporary Protection.
Please see more details on the residency criteria, visit the UK Council for International Student Affairs
You may be eligible for financial support from the vulnerable bursary fund if you are:
- In care, or are a care leaver
- Receiving Income Support, or Universal Credit because you're financially supporting themselves or if you're financially supporting yourself and someone who is dependent on you and living with you e.g. a child or partner
- Receiving Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payments in your own right as well as Employment and Support Allowance or Universal Credit in your own right
- Are on a full-time study programme that is fully funded by the ESFA
ADVANCED LEARNER LOAN BURSARY
Each year, we receive a fixed amount from the Student Loans Company for students with approved loans. To be eligible for support from the Advanced Learner Loan Bursary Fund, you must:
- Have been approved for an Advanced Learner Loan for study in the current year
- Be in a household with a joint gross annual income of less than £35,000 a year before tax and deductions (the threshold could change every year)
The amount we award you can vary. We'll assess you based on the evidence you provide regarding:
- Your cost of travel to the Academy
- The cost of materials and equipment for your course
- The cost of childcare and/or rent
- Your income
You'll be able to apply once you are fully enrolled on your course, and we know your Advanced Learner Loan application has been approved.
CARE TO LEARN
The Care to Learn scheme can help with childcare costs while you study. You must be under 20 at the start of your course to be eligible.
The scheme is available for publicly-funded courses in England. It provides funding for childcare to help young parents (defined as those aged under 20) continue in education after the birth of their child. The scheme provides funding for childcare whilst you're studying and unable to care for your child. It can also help you with any additional travel costs involved in taking your child to their childcare provider.
For more details, please visit the government website.
RESIDENTIAL SUPPORT SCHEME
The Residential Support Scheme is designed for exceptional situations when the same or similar substantial Level 2 or Level 3 qualification that you want to study can't be accessed in your local area. Most students who are supported by the Residential Support Scheme live in rural areas and have limited access to a wide range of further education suppliers.
You may qualify if your course is too far away for you to travel daily, and you’re studying your first Level 2 or Level 3 qualification (equivalent to GCSEs and A-levels). Your course must have at least 16 hours of attendance a week and must last for at least 10 weeks.
You may get help from the Residential Support Scheme if:
- You're aged 16 to 18
- A similar course isn't available locally
- You're not studying at a college offering a residential bursary
- You're 'ordinarily resident' in England. This means you're settled in the UK and have lived in the UK for at least 3 years before your course starts.
- You need to travel more than 15 miles from your home or your journey takes longer than 2 hours
How much you get depends on your household income and whether you live and study in London.
For more information, please visit the government website
HOW TO APPLY
We only accept applications for bursaries after you have completed enrolment. To apply, you'll need to complete the Bursary Fund Application Form. In some cases, we’ll also need extra supporting evidence before we can assess your application.
We assess each application individually. Limited funds are available.
If you have any questions regarding financial support, please contact our Student Registry Team on BursaryAndLoans@fra.ac.uk
For help with travel costs, you can apply to your Local Authority for Post-16 travel assistance. You'll need to meet their eligibility criteria for this scheme.
Contact your local authority before you start your course to find out if you are eligible. To find your local authority and their contact details, you can search the government website.
STUDENT OYSTER CARDS
Student Oyster cards are discount travel cards that give you reduced fares on buses, tubes and trams in and around London. To apply for a 16-18 Oyster Photo Card, you’ll need to be
- Under 18 on 31 August of the year that you are applying
- Living in London
- In full-time education
Students aged 18+ can get a discount of 30% off the full adult rate.
For more information, please visit the TFL website.
If you are 16 or 17, you can buy a 16-17 Saver Railcard. You can use this to save 50% on all train travel - including peak times and season tickets. It costs £30 and is valid for 12 months or until your 18th birthday, whichever comes first.
For more details, and to purchase a railcard, visit the 16-17 Saver website.
16-25 & 25-30 RAILCARDS
If you are 16-30 and travelling from outside London, you should consider buying either a 16-25 Railcard or a 25-30 Railcard. These will get you 1/3 off Standard Anytime, Off-Peak, Standard Advanced and First-Class Advanced fares.
For more information, and to purchase a railcard, visit the 16-25 Railcard website, the 25-30 Railcard website or the Trainline website.
You can also visit Turn2us for more information on welfare benefits and charitable grants.
GETTING TO THE FASHION RETAIL ACADEMY
Getting to us from Essex
Getting to us from Brighton
Getting to us from Kent
We don’t currently offer any accommodation at the Academy.
If you need support looking for accommodation, these websites can help with your search. They’re only examples, and there are lots of other agencies and organisations you can try. Any agreement with property providers is direct and not endorsed by the FRA.
- Chapter Living: Private provider with nine accommodation sites located within zones 1 & 2 and near major London universities
- Unite Student Housing: Independent organisation offering studio rooms and flatshares for up to 5 people less than 25 minutes walk away from the FRA
- IQ Student Accommodation: A private provider offering seven accommodation sites in central, east and north London
- Urbanest: Private provider of accommodation for students in London.
- Student.com: An independent marketplace that specialises in helping international students find accommodation
- My Student Halls: Combined search engine to help you look for and compare potential student accommodation
London has a huge and diverse private-rental accommodation sector, and many students live in shared accommodation. Prices vary hugely, largely depending on how close to central London you choose to live. Useful websites include: