Study Assistance Scheme Guidelines

These guidelines supersede any previous guidelines or regulations

Important Information

1. It is UCL's policy to encourage learning and professional development for all staff. UCL supports employees1 who wish to undertake degree or doctorate programmes, professional qualifications or other nationally approved vocational qualifications that are related to their area of work.  Individual modules must be credit-bearing, and lead to a qualification.

1  employees, for the purposes of the Scheme, refers to those staff on the UCL HR payroll.

2. The Study Assistance Scheme (SAS) applies in cases where the need to complete a programme of part-time study, leading to a qualification has been identified as necessary to enable the individual to increase effectiveness in their current job and/or further their continuous professional development.  The need will have been identified and recorded through the Appraisal, Review and Development Scheme.  When the need for specific accredited training or associated qualification is identified as an integral part of the recruitment of the member of staff it should be included in the relevant Job Specification.

3. The support provided by SAS covers the course fees, as set out at numbers 12, 13, 14 and 15, and other support described later in these notes (See no.20). In this context fees are taken to include fees for part-time, evening, day or block release, correspondence or distance-learning courses and examination fees for not more than one attempt at each part of the examination. Staff will be expected to meet the costs of textbooks and admission fees for professional bodies (where applicable) themselves.

4. Formal approval from the Head of Department is required for all applications for SAS process and this is documented through the application process.

5. All SAS claims are normally processed by the Organisational Development team (OD), Human Resources Division within 4-6 weeks* of receipt and passed for payment to:

* However, this is likely to take longer during the first term due to high volume of applications received at this time.
Overseas applicants please see no.15

Eligibility

6. The SAS applies to all staff, other than Honorary and Emeritus (see no.10), NHS & UCLH contracts, that have a contract of employment in an established or recognised UCL post for a period exceeding the duration of the course (see no.8).

7. Staff applying for support under SAS must have obtained the minimum entrance requirements of the accrediting body concerned. The Head of Department or research supervisor is responsible for ensuring that the course leads to an approved qualification or degree from a recognised professional or educational body.

8. Staff on fixed term contracts will normally be expected to complete the course of study within the period of their employment by UCL or obtain written confirmation from the Head of Department that it is intended, subject to available funding, to extend their existing contract beyond the current contract expiry date.

9. Staff in receipt of an award or funds to support and cover the fees for the course they are applying for are not entitled to receive financial support from SAS but may benefit from fee reductions (see no.15) and other support available (see no.20) under the scheme.

10. Honorary & Emeritus Clinical Teachers and Researchers are not eligible for assistance through these regulations.  Arrangements may exist within the Medical School Administration and the individual Postgraduate Institutes of the Faculty of Biomedicine which may provide support for those individuals who have a relationship with UCL of this kind.  Enquiries about such arrangements should be addressed to the administration staff at the appropriate centre.

11. Post Graduate Teaching Assistants are not eligible for support under SAS.

12. The SAS does not cover dependants' fees.

Financial Support Provided by the Scheme

13. Courses commenced on or after 1st August 2013 which satisfy the criteria above will be supported as follows:

14. All SAS grants are agreed subject to pro-rata considerations of employment. (see Step by Step Guide – No 6).

Overseas

15. For full or part-time UCL staff from outside the EU who would normally be charged at the overseas student rate, the following rule has been committee approved.

Full-time and part-time members of staff undertaking a programme of study at UCL on a part-time basis, who are classified as Overseas students and are in receipt of Study Assistance, will be charged fees at the appropriate Home/EU fee level.

You are eligible for a UCL fee reduction from Overseas to Home/EU rate, if you satisfy the following criteria:

Fees for students charged at the Overseas rate will be reduced to the Home/EU level (by way of a Portico fee waiver) once confirmation of your UCL employment status and/or any SAS award have been confirmed to the Student Fees department.

Studentships

16. It should be noted that UCL's preferred option for funding research degrees is through studentships. Studentships include the stipend and all associated fees and other necessary direct costs.

If studentships are not acceptable to particular research funding bodies then the first alternative should be for the fees to be paid from the faculty/departmental or discretionary budgets or by virement of other budget headings associated with the specific research project, but without recourse to central SAS funding.
Only where the applicant is self funding or doing research which is attracting no external funding of any kind should additional SAS funding be granted.

17. New and Continuing students must apply for support under SAS for each year of study, due to revisions to the guidelines and changes in personal circumstances. The SAS is revised annually and therefore you should not assume commitment to continued levels of funding. In such instances applicants will be expected to cover the cost. Please be aware of this when making your application.

Backdated Payments

18.  Applications for SAS cannot be backdated to the previous financial year.
Applicants for support in respect of Research Degrees should note that being granted permission to backdate the start of their degree may result in the new start date being in the previous financial year.  In such cases a course fee becomes due for that period for which financial support under SAS cannot be granted.  Appropriate fee reductions are applicable.

Please note that the UCL financial year is from 1st August to 31st July of the respective year.

Repayment of SAS

19. Staff who voluntarily leave UCL employment at any time between starting the course and 12 months after completion will be asked to repay the following:

Study time and progress

20. At the discretion of the Head of Department or supervisor arrangements for part-day, day or block release may be agreed. Individuals whose progress is satisfactory may also be allowed a period of study leave to be taken. The amount of study leave should be determined in light of the pattern of examination, assessment and study methods, but a recommended maximum is eight days per annum. Heads of Department should ensure that decisions regarding day release and study leave are made equitably and fairly.

21. Individuals will be asked to provide proof of attendance by the supervisor or head of department and if progress is deemed to be unsatisfactory, then day or part-day release, study leave or financial support for future course fees may be withdrawn. OD may check on individuals' progress with course providers.

22.  Participation in any form of staff development, including courses supported under SAS, should be recorded on the individual staff's personal training record.  This can be done through the Learning Events Recording System.

Other Funding Sources

23. Career Development Loan. If you are not eligible for SAS funding you may wish to consider Career Development Loans. Further information can be found on their website.

24. Support for Professional Accountancy Qualifications. This policy applies to all UCL staff, who have been confirmed in appointment (i.e. those who have successfully passed their probationary period), regardless of whether they work within the Finance Division or elsewhere. UCL staff cannot apply for this scheme as well the Study Assistance Scheme. Please see following link for further details: www.ucl.ac.uk/finance/secure/fin_docs/account_training_policy.htm

Contacting us

25. If you have any further queries regarding SAS, please email: osd_sas@ucl.ac.uk with the following in the subject header:
'SAS_[year of application ie 1314]_ [your name]_[SAS ref no (if applicable]’ 
eg:  SAS_1314_John Smith_ref 3045

26.  Access to the electronic booking application form for SAS can be found at: www.ucl.ac.uk/hr/osd/sas/index.php

Data Protection Act 1998

27. In accordance with the Data Protection Act, the information supplied in relation to SAS will be used for the administration, management and monitoring of the Study Assistance Scheme, and the maintenance of training records and for no other purposes.