full-time student criteria

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    We’ve had a few cases recently that have caused some confusion over who is to be classed as a full-time student.

    The confusion is over the issue of the 21 hours study/tuition/work experience.

    The particular courses that brought up the issue are ‘Access to Higher Education’ courses. Our local college states that the courses comprise 12.5 hrs per week of tuition and on this basis we denied the discounts, however the college have challenged this, and are now stating that the students on these courses are expected to do 12.5 hrs home study in addition to the tuition.

    Can home study be included in the 21 hours, & if so does it matter how much home study in relation to tuition?

    Presumably whatever the number of hours, they should be accounted for in the curriculum for the course? ie. with the above course I would have expected the college to state that the total number of hours was 25 per week.

    I’d be grateful for any opinions or advice.


    If the student is in a further education course at a college, the college should be able to give them a learning agreement.
    This sets out the time that a student should have to spend attending / studying etc. If there is more than 16 hours guided learning then they are a full time student and should be treated as such.
    The Regs (reg 53 (1) full time study section c seems to cover it. 8)


    Thanks for your help, but I was looking for clarification in relation to students for the purposes of council tax, not benefits- sorry if I didn’t make it clear.


    Hello krissyf – did you ever get clarification on your original query about full time student hours?

    If you did, can you please tell me where to look?

    Many thanks.

    Steve H

    Hello KrissyF.

    Thought I would give you my opinion (for what it is worth).

    As far as I am aware there is nothing regarding the split between tuition and study. SI 1992/548 only mentions the split between study or tuition against work experience.

    The February 06 Valuation Tribunal newsletter refers to a case involving Manchester South VT, which could give you justification to award if you so wished. They accepted one day at college as sufficient along with time ‘dedicated quiet space’ (which I can’t see is work experience so could only be study) given by the employer during work time to make up the relevant weekly hours. On this basis virtually any split could be acceptable.

    If you want to continue to refuse it, I would go along the track of SI 1992/548 refering to the average of 21 hours being ‘during the periods of attendance’. If 12.5 hours is just what the college would expect has to be done at home for the course, but is at the choice of the student I don’t see how that could be classed in any way as during a period of attendance. If however it is stipulated in the course as 12.5 hours having to be done each week in the students own time then perhaps you could.

    Sorry I don’t know a definitive answer for you – I don’t think there is one. Personally if it is not a written stipulation of the course to do these additional hours I would also continue to refuse the discount on the basis that the course is 12.5 hours, anything else is the choice of the student not a requirement of the course.



    Thanks for your reply- that was useful- I still hadn’t really clarified the issue although as an authority we are continuing to refuse the discounts on the basis that the additional hours are not stipulated in the course. I understand however that the college in question is still challenging the decision so I’m not sure what will happen in the end. Any further discussion or opinions would be welcomed.


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