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Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, our qualifications are recognised by Universities. If you complete a Level 3 qualification e.g. BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma, or an Access to University course you can gain entry to a wide range of universities. Our Careers Advisors are also on hand to help you with your UCAS application.
SERC also offer a wide range of courses such as Foundation Degrees and HNDs which are accredited by universities such as Ulster University, Liverpool John Moore's and Queens University.
All SERC applications take place online. You can apply for a course by visiting apply.serc.ac.uk. We recommend that you apply for a course as soon as possible as places fill up quickly.
- Applying for a Full-Time Course .
- Visit apply.serc.ac and apply for your chosen course online.
- Attend a pre-entry advice and guidance session, where you will chat about the course and discuss how it will help you achieve the career you want. You may also have an initial assessment, perhaps a portfolio or audition.
- If you are successful you will receive a conditional offer If you are awaiting GCSE or A Level results enter them online as soon as you receive them.
- Visit our Enrolment Day which takes place in August and enrol onto your chosen course.
- Start your course in September.
Yes, if you are undertaking a Higher Education course at SERC e.g. HNC, HND, Foundation Degree, Higher Level Apprenticeship or Degree you will be invited to attend SERC annual Graduation ceremony which takes place each September.
This event gives you an opportunity to celebrate your achievements with you classmates and your family. The event really is the highlight of the SERC calendar and sees over 2,000 guests attend a formal celebration, where you will have the opportunity to wear a gown and have a professional photograph taken, before taking to the stage to collect your certificate from the Head of the SERC Governing Body.
Further Education (FE) Courses
Students aged under 19 years on 1st July all full-time FE courses are FREE (however, the student will need to pay for any examination resits). For Students aged 19 or over on 1st July, there are no tuition fees for vocational (applied) FE courses at Level 3 or below.
Students aged 19 or over on 1st July and studying on a non-applied AS/A2 level course fees will be charged.
Higher Education (HE) Courses
Fees are applicable for all HE courses. The rate of fees that the student will pay depends upon where the student lives. Northern Ireland domiciled* students can apply for assistance with Tuition fee costs and other costs from Student Finance NI.
* Where Northern Ireland is the student's permanent home
Students from England, Scotland and Wales will pay a higher rate of tuition fees and should contact the agencies below for further information on the support available:
Student Finance England (in England) www.gov.uk/student-finance
Student Awards Agency for Scotland (in Scotland) www.saas.gov.uk
Student Finance Wales (in Wales) www.studentfinancewales.co.uk
For International Student fee rates please contact our International Students Department. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Fee payment is required for part-time courses. Our online course finder details the fee payments required for each course. The College does offer some free courses e.g. Essential Skills.
An Apprenticeship is a work based learning programme funded by the Department for the Economy (DfE), it is designed for 16-24 year olds, contracted to work a minimum of 21 hours per week. You will get paid by your employer and the training is free.
Reasons to study an Apprenticeship course:
High quality professional and technical training.
High quality lecturing staff.
The latest technology to train on in College.
A Training Support Officer who will assist you both in the workplace and in the College.
Essential Skills such as Literacy, Numeracy and ICT.
The opportunity to progress form Level 2 to Level 3 and beyond.
Fees charged are only for the current academic year. Students are required to enrol and pay fees each year when undertaking a two or three-year course.
Students must complete a direct debit mandate and a fees liability form at enrolment.
Students who withdraw from their course are still liable for payment of their fees.
HE students should refer to the Fees Policy Appendix C
Payment of fees can be made by cash, cheque, credit/debit card.
Fees are payable at the time of enrolment. Fees charged are only for the current academic year.
Students are required to enrol and pay fees each year when undertaking a two, or a three, year course.
Payment can be made by cash, cheque, credit or debit card.
Training for Success is designed for young people aged 16 - 18 (up to 24 years for those requiring additional support) and provides the training you need to get a job. You will spend time in the classroom and in work placements in order to develop your skills. You can access EMA on these courses and they are free.Reasons to study A Training for Success course:
High quality processional and technical training.
High qualified lecturing staff.
The latest technology to train on in College.
A Training Support Officer who will assist you both in the workplace and in the College.
Guidance and advice on career options.
Hands on projects where you can carry out work for voluntary and community based organisations.
Essential Skills such as Literacy, Numeracy, ICT and Employability.
Opportunity to progress to further levels of training.
Yes, at enrolment you are required to complete a direct debit mandate and sign a fees liability form. Direct debit payments will be collected as
25% on 1st November (by direct debit)
25% on 2st December (by direct debit)
50% on 3rd February (by direct debit)
Default in any payment will result in a £10 administration fee.
Default in any payment will result in enrolment on the course/programme of study becoming invalid.
FE Students who withdraw from their course are still liable for payment of their fee in full and therefore all direct debit payments will be collected.
When the total fee payable, after any concessionary fee has been deducted, is over £300 it is possible to pay by instalments. The instalment plan is made via a direct debit payment plan arrangement. The direct debit arrangement is only available for enrolments on or before the second week of the class by completing a direct debit mandate.
The deposit payable at the time of enrolment is 25% of the total course fee.
For September enrolments, two instalment payments will then be collected as follows:
25% on 2 December 2019 (by direct debit)
50% on 3 February 2020 (by direct debit)
For January/February enrolments, two instalment payments will then be collected as follows:
25% on 2 March 2020 (by direct debit)
50% on 1 May 2020 (by direct debit)
Note: Default in any payment will result in a £10 administration fee and will result in enrolment on the course/programme of study becoming invalid.
Students who withdraw from their course are still liable for payment of their fee in full and therefore all direct debit payments will be collected.
Mix vital on the job training and classroom learning with a Higher Level Apprenticeship (HLA) at SERC. HLAs provide you with the skills you need for your chosen career and also lead to nationally recognised qualifications.
As an apprentice you earn while you learn and receive other benefits too. Higher Apprenticeships are a great alternative to university – many offer training up to degree level, a salary and the opportunity to start moving your career forward – all without paying hefty tuition fees or running up student debts!
Choosing a HLA will give you an alternative route to high skills roles in exciting organisations, nationally recognised qualifications, work experience where you get paid and transferable skills which help you progress to high skilled careers in the professions
To undertake a HLA you much be over 18 years old and hold a Level 3 qualification such as A levels, BTEC or OCR, NVQ Level 3 or an Advanced Apprenticeship. You may also need to have gained up to five GCSEs grade A* to C including English and Maths and you need to show you have the ability to complete the programme which takes between 1 – 3 years. Higher Level Apprenticeships are ideal if you are already in employment and are looking to upskill, however if you do not have an employer SERC can work with you to match you to a suitable company.
Reasons to Study a HLA:
85% of HLAs stay in employment upon completion of qualification.
⅓ receive a promotion.
Qualified Apprentices are 15% more employable.
Apprentices can earn £150,000* more in their lifetime.
Concessionary fees are only applicable to tuition fees of some part-time accredited courses.
Concessionary fees do not apply to all courses. Concessions do not apply to examination or other costs included in the overall course fee. Non-Accredited courses are not entitled to concessions.
Please view our website course finder or call 0345 600 7555 for details on whether concessionary fees are available for your chosen course.
Concessions are made available by the College to individual self-paying students. Organisations and employers who sponsor students are not entitled to the concessionary fee. There are two exceptions to this i) payment of part-time tuition fees by Student Finance NI ii) payment of part-time tuition fees by the Prince’s Trust. In both instances, evidence to support the concessionary fee rate must be presented at the point of enrolment.
Where a student qualifies for more than one concession, the highest value concession only will be applied.
The College reserves the right to change or withhold concessions.
For details on eligibility for concessionary fees please view the Concessionary fees section
To gain entry to the Level 2 or 3 Apprenticeship programme, you must have an employer. The responsibility for securing an employer lies with you. This can be a daunting task for anyone, and so below is some advice on how to secure employment before attending College in September.
Once you have decided upon your course of study, you should seek an employer as early as possible, certainly before September. You must also complete an on-line application on the college website for your chosen course and send it in to the College. Please contact our Training Support Team to discuss your options.
Contact as many potential employers as possible by telephone, e-mail or in writing, making sure that you explain clearly why you are contacting them.
Wider employability skills are essential in securing employment after your studies. When you become a student at SERC you will be given the opportunity to develop these skills through our Employability Programme, that’s why
SERC will give you as many will give you as many opportunities as possible to help you gain better skills and get
Studying at SERC will help you start the journey to your dream career as you will:
• Gain more qualifications
• Have the opportunity to set up a SERC Student Company
• Take part in industry projects
• Undertake work placements
• Get involved with volunteer programmes
We can give you advantages, skills and experience other young people take years to get. Students sitting where you are now have gone on to amazing careers with companies like Coca-Cola and NASA!
Employing an Apprentice can bring with it may benefits, as well as incentive payments, taking on an apprentice can help your business harness fresh young talent!
To get involved with the ApprenticeshipNI programme you can employ an apprentice or you can invest in a current employee by putting them through the programme.
Recognised training and qualification for your staff.
Can help all types of businesses harness fresh new talent.
Can help equip your workforce with the practical skills that your organisation needs now and in the future.
Students will learn from highly qualified lecturing staff.
The latest technology for your staff to train on in College.
An incentive payment is available for complete the Apprenticeship programme.
Evidence must be submitted at the time of enrolment,
If you do not have an up to date copy of your evidence of benefit you can download the Evidence of Benefit Form and have it completed by the relevant Social Security or NI Housing Executive Office.
Self-paying part-time students, with a course fee greater than £300, will receive a 5% discount on the tuition fee element of their course fees if they pay in full at the point of enrolment.
Yes, our Careers Advisors are impartial and can give you advice on your child’s career options.
We have a page on our website just for parents.
Higher Education Funding
Student Finance NI, through the Educational Authority, administer financial support to Higher Education students in Northern Ireland in conjunction with the Student Loans Company (SLC). Please refer to Student Financial Support Section on our website for details on how to apply. The Student Loans Company will make tuition fee award payments directly to the College, on the student’s behalf, after confirmation of enrolment and attendance is received.
Students who have received their award letter from Student Finance NI must present this to Customer Services. The amount of the award will be deducted from the total fee and the student will be invoiced for any remaining fee. Students who have not received their award letter from Student Finance NI must sign a liability form and complete the direct debit mandate. Confirmation of funding from Student Finance NI must be submitted to Customer Services in the College as soon as it is received. The amount of the award will be deducted from the total fee and the student will be invoiced for any remaining fee. In all circumstances, the student is responsible for the payment of the total fee whether they complete the course or not. In the event of Student Loans Company not releasing the full amount of the award, the student will be required to pay the remaining balance of the total fee.
A student who is already approved for funding from Student Finance NI, in the form of
A student who does not have funding in place at enrolment will be required to pay the full course fee at the point of enrolment, unless criteria for payment by instalment is satisfied.
Once funding has been approved by Student Finance NI the student must present their award letter to Customer Services.
If the award covers the total fee, the College will refund the amount already paid. The College will cancel any direct debit agreement and issue the refund prior to 1 December 2018.
If the award does not cover the total fee, the student remains liable for any balance remaining. If paying by instalments, the College will proceed with the direct debit for the remaining fees on the notified dates.
In all instances, the College will refund to the student any overpayments that have been made to their account and owed to the student.
In the event of Student Finance NI not releasing the full amount of their award (for example by reason of student withdrawal), the student will be required to pay the remaining balance of the total fee.
Part-Time Higher Education students can apply for assistance in the form of a
- Deposit of 25% of the course fee
- Submit completed direct debit mandate at enrolment
- Complete PTL form via the SFNI website
If approved for funding the award letter must be submitted to Customer Services as soon as it is received. If the Award letter is not submitted to Customer Services prior to the first direct debit instalment date the College will proceed with the direct debit.
If the application for funding is unsuccessful or does not meet the full course fee then the student will be liable for the outstanding fees.
In all instances, the College will refund to the student any overpayments that have been made to their account and is due to them.
Yes, where a student is sponsored by an organisation, a completed Sponsor liability form should be presented to Customer Services at the point of enrolment. The Sponsor liability form is available from Customer Services or the website by Clicking Here.
Organisations and employers who sponsor students are liable for the full cost of the course fee. There shall be no concessions. The College will directly invoice the sponsor.
If the student leaves the sponsor’s employment after the start date of the course the fee liability remains with the sponsor.
If the student leaves the sponsor’s employment before the course starts the sponsor should notify the College, in writing, before the course starts to withdraw their support. In this case, the course fee liability will transfer to the student. If the College is not notified, in writing, in advance of the start date the fee liability remains with the sponsor.
Some courses may have additional costs. Please view the course descriptor on website course finder for further details.
Students who have enrolled on a two or three-year course will need to enrol and pay the appropriate fee each year of the course.
As a general rule, the College does not offer refunds, although there is some discretion in exceptional circumstances as outlined in the Fees Refund and Waiver SOP.
Discretionary refunds will only be considered in exceptional circumstances Students should complete the Fee Waiver/Refund Request form and submit necessary supporting evidence.
Students experiencing difficulties in paying their tuition fees should seek help at the earliest possible opportunity.
The Student should immediately contact staff in the College’s Finance Department, email: email@example.com
The Student Finance Advisors will also be able to provide more information about financial support or help available to assist Students with the costs associated with attending College. firstname.lastname@example.org
The payment of fees is the responsibility of each student. Students are liable to pay the full fee whether they choose to complete the course or not.
The payment of fees is the responsibility of each student.
Students are liable to pay the full fee whether they choose to complete the course or not.
If a student does not pay their fees the College will impose a number of sanctions, including loss of access to College systems.
Outstanding student fees will be referred to a Debt Recovery Agency.
Alongside the impact on GCSE and A level exams, students taking vocational qualifications such as BTEC Nationals, Cambridge Technical, level 2 and 3 qualifications and access programmes are also affected by the summer 2020 cancellations.
The Department for the Economy in NI has announced that it intends, where possible, to award the majority of qualifications and essential skills by the end of August, in line with published results dates, so that students can progress on their chosen pathway. These will be treated in the same way as A levels, with students receiving a calculated result based in part on teacher, trainer and tutor assessment of attainment, and where appropriate combined with other evidence and statistical methods.
Yes! SERC Careers Service remains open as a remote service. This will be monitored by phones and emails during usual business hours. Email email@example.com for more info. If you applied to University, please check your emails for more guidance.
SERC students – please keep checking your college email for your weekly Careers Bulletin which has all the latest information on UCAS, jobs and opportunities, plus much more.