Study Assistance Scheme Guidelines

These guidelines supersede any previous guidelines or regulations

General Information

1. It is UCL's policy to encourage learning and professional development for all staff. UCL supports employees2 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.

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 and/or in agreement with the Head of Department.

3.  If you are studying for an individual module within the academic1 year, they must be credit-bearing, and lead to a qualification.  In order to be eligible for an SAS contribution, you should indicate, with evidence, that you are undertaking this module on route to completing the full qualification in forthcoming years.  If you will be studying for more than one module within the academic year you should provide information for all relevant modules in your application - see point 6.

4. The support provided by SAS covers the qualification fees, as set out in points 13, 14 and 15, and other support described later in these notes - see points 21 and 22. 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.

5.  Formal approval from the Head of Department / Institute is required. 

6.  SAS contribution will only be granted for one qualification undertaken within an academic2 year.  For those studying individual modules please - see point 3.

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7.  The SAS is available to staff that have a contract of employment in an established or recognised UCL post for a period exceeding the duration of the course - see point 8.

Excluding: Honorary & Emeritus Clinical Teachers and Researchers, Associate UCL staff, staff on a UCLH contract, PGTAs (post graduate teaching assistants) and ‘casual as and when’ staff.  

8.  Staff on fixed term contracts, are eligible for an SAS contribution if their employment contract exceeds the duration of their qualification by a 12 month period.  If your contract is less than your qualification period then certain financial conditions apply - see point 15.

9.  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.

10.  Staff in receipt of an award or grant to cover the fees for the qualification they are undertaking should not apply for financial support from SAS as their fees should be paid from the grant award.

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11.  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, and without recourse to central SAS funding.

Financial Conditions

12.  The SAS is revised annually and therefore you should not assume automatic commitment to continued levels of funding.   New and continuing SAS applicants must apply for support under SAS for each year of study.  

13.  Qualifications commenced on or after 1st August 2016 which satisfy the criteria outlined above and who are NOT able to receive funding or a grant to cover their course fees will be eligible to receive 50% of the cost of qualification fee up to a maximum of £865 for 2017/18 (this contribution will be pro-rated for part-time staff and those on fixed term contracts).

14.  All SAS contributions are agreed subject to pro-rata considerations of employment. Staff working part time at UCL will receive an SAS contribution calculated on a pro rata basis (based on the number of contracted hours worked. Please see the examples below:

15. Staff on fixed term contracts less than the duration of their course of study will be eligible to apply for a contribution based on half of their contracted number of months for that particular academic1 year.

For example: 

16.  Staff, who voluntarily leave UCL employment (i.e. resignation) at any time between starting the course and 12 months after completion will be asked to repay the following:

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Overseas Applicants

17. 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 (on the UCL payroll database) undertaking a programme of study at UCL on a part-time basis, who are classified as overseas students, 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:

18.  Backdated SAS applications to the previous financial3 budget year will not be accepted
Applicants, in respect of Research Degrees, should note that being granted permission to backdate the start of their degree, to the previous academic year, may result in the new start date being in the previous financial3 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.

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Study Leave

19.  Study leave is at the discretion of the Head of Department or Supervisor.  The amount of study leave should be determined in light of examination, assessment and study methods.  Heads of Department should ensure that decisions regarding study leave are impartial and fair.

Please see following link for further details:

UCL Policy and Guidance on requesting time off to train

20.  Individuals may be asked to provide evidence of attendance by the Head of Department or Supervisor and if progress is deemed to be unsatisfactory, then study leave or financial support may be withdrawn. Organisational Development may check on individuals' progress with qualification providers.

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Other Funding Sources

21.   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.

22.  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.
Please see following link for further details:

Support Package for Professional Accountancy Qualifications

The Study Assistance Scheme does not support accountancy qualifications as this is provided by the Finance Division, as above.

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Other Information

23.  In accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998, the information supplied in relation to SAS will be used for the administration, management and monitoring of the Study Assistance Scheme and for no other purposes.

24.  Staff should record their qualification gained on the Learning Events Recording System under the qualifications tab.


1  For the purposes of SAS, the academic year will be the UCL financial budget year of 1st August to 31st July of the current year.

2 Employees, for the purposes of the Scheme, refers to those staff on the UCL HR payroll excluding ‘as and when casual’ staff.

3 The UCL financial budget year is from 1st August to 31st July.

4 fte - full time equivalent.


Revised 25th September 2017
HR Organisational Development


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