To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what the average cost was of providing a level 3 or higher qualification for adults aged 24 years old and over in the latest period for which figures are available.
Based on information provided by the Skills Funding Agency, the average in year unit cost for level 3 and higher qualifications for adults aged 25 and over for the 2009/10 academic year is estimated as £1,350 for apprenticeship provision and £2,100 for classroom based provision.
The total public funding for individual qualifications will depend on the length of the course, the subject area and whether the individual qualifies for full fee remission or the costs are shared between Government, the individual or the employer.
From the 2013/14 academic year we are introducing a new system of further education (FE) loans, which shifts more of the responsibility for investing in learning to individuals, and maintains support for adults to learn at advanced and higher levels. Sharing the same progressive features as higher education (HE) student finance—no upfront cost to the learner, no repayments until earnings reach £21,000, and outstanding amounts written off after 30 years—FE loans will use much of the delivery infrastructure for HE student loans, creating a more coherent offer to learners. The introduction of loans is an important step, and we will be working closely with colleges, training providers and stakeholders as we implement them for the 2013/14 academic year.