ELCAS funding can help you prepare for a life on civvy street
If you were going on an exercise, would you leave base without a briefing and checking your kit? Of course not! So if you’re thinking of leaving the armed forces, make sure you prepare yourself the best way you can: by adding valuable qualifications to your CV with funding support from the MoD.
Why should I start higher education?
One of the major barriers to starting (or even considering) higher education is often cost; scare stories in the media about rising fees and an increasingly-competitive job market mean many people never consider higher education as a realistic option.
However, with its huge impact on salary prospects (graduates earn £500,000 more than non-graduates)1 and the many funding options available there’s every reason for members of the military to embrace this opportunity to get a better-paid job.
What funding can I get?
Members of the armed forces are able to take advantage of a unique scheme provided by the Ministry of Defence: Enhanced Learning Credits Administration Services (ELCAS). These credits are awarded to current serving and ex-military personnel, including those in their resettlement period, and often cover a significant chunk of a course’s tuition fees.
The amount that can be claimed is determined on an individual basis, but people who have at least four years’ service are able to make an ELCAS claim up to £1,000 per claim instalment. And those with up to eight years’ service can claim at a higher rate of £2,000 per claim instalment2.
This is great news if you don’t already have a higher education qualification (equivalent to 120 credits) as it means that you can reap all the benefits of an undergraduate or postgraduate degree course at a reduced cost.
What can I study?
Not all programmes you’ll find are eligible; the course must be level 3 or above and needs to be delivered by an approved provider. Luckily for you, University of Essex Online are approved and we have plenty of experience guiding members of the military through our courses. You can read an interview with one of our Business and Management graduates, Katie Mitchell, who studied while she was serving as a Sergeant in the Royal Signals.
One huge advantage for members of the military studying with us is that our courses are part-time and 100% online. This means that whatever you plan to do in the future, you can get your qualification while you’re still working and before you even start to think about applying for job roles.
How do you choose the right course?
We recommend that you create a personal development plan to help you decide where you want to go, and how you want to get there. Your Education Officer should be able to help you create this.
We offer a huge range of undergraduate and postgraduate courses, from business to law and health to criminology. Our prospectus will give you a great overview of everything we offer and where it can take you.
What next? Ask your Education Officer or visit http://www.enhancedlearningcredits.com/ for details on your options, and how you can start preparing for life beyond the armed forces.
2 Figures correct March 2016: http://www.courses4forces.co.uk/cms/how_to_claim_them/