Human Resources

Birkbeck Lifelong Learning Contribution for Staff

1.0 Introduction 

The College is committed to creating an inclusive working and learning environment for  its staff to enable them to perform effectively and achieve their potential.  The Birkbeck Lifelong Learning Contribution for Staff is an important approach for supporting achievement of this aim.

The Birkbeck Lifelong Learning Contribution for Staff is available to Birkbeck employees who have been accepted on part-time credit-bearing Birkbeck courses and modules (with the exception of Masters by Research in Science, MBA and PhDs which are specifically excluded), subject to application and eligibility.  There may be other Birkbeck courses that are from time-to- time excluded e.g. courses delivered with other HEIs, and staff should check this, in advance of making an application, with the School providing the course and Organisational Development.

The scheme offers a substantial contribution towards the cost of the tuition fees and together with study leave, provides a comprehensive support package for those undertaking Birkbeck courses.

The Lifelong Learning Contribution is a staff benefit to help develop, engage and retain staff for the long term.  The scheme supports Birkbeck’s ethos about access to education and its wider benefits.

2.0 Eligible courses and College contribution

The Lifelong Learning Contribution is available for part-time credit-bearing modules offered at Birkbeck; which include Certificates of Higher Education, and undergraduate and postgraduate awards.  The contribution will be based on Home and EU fee rates.

Study is supported in two ways through:

  1. Individual contribution – to demonstrate personal commitment to study and to contribute to the costs of a study place.
  2. College contribution - Managed through Human Resources and reported annually to Strategic Planning Committee. Please see section 5.5 below.

a) Individual contribution

The staff contribution towards study is tiered based on grades as follows:

  • Grade 5 and below – 10% contribution towards annual tuition fees
  • Grades 6-7 – 15% contribution towards annual tuition fees
  • Grade 8 and above  - 20% contribution towards annual tuition fees

The annual individual contribution is based on the grade on the deadline of the annual application round and for 2021-22 year this is 12 May 2021 to 4 June 2021.

b) College contribution

The College will provide:

  • Grade 5 and below – 90% contribution
  • Grades 6-7 – 85% contribution
  • Grade 8 and above – 80% contribution

Part-time and hourly paid employees will receive the Lifelong Learning Contribution on a pro-rata basis, based on the Full Time Equivalent (FTE) of their contracted hours at the time of application. Employees who are undertaking an undergraduate programme or Certificate of Higher Education, for the first time, will be able to apply for the Government student loans. Employees who are undertaking postgraduate programmes, for the first time, will be able to apply for postgraduate loans. Both these loan schemes have their own eligibility criteria.

Applicants for the Lifelong Learning Contribution are not eligible to also receive, or apply for, additional Birkbeck tuition fee discounts from other schemes. It is recommended that employees who wish to to receive support with tuition fees on Birkbeck courses apply for the Lifelong Learning Contribution for staff.

3.0 Employee eligibility

The scheme is open to Birkbeck employees who:

  • Have successfully completed their probation by the start of the autumn term.  Applications can be lodged prior to completion of probation; however Organisational Development will require evidence from the line manager that probation has been successfully completed before the Lifelong Learning Contribution is confirmed.
  • At the start of their study, has a contract of employment issued by the College.  Applicants whose contract does not cover the whole of the programme will receive the Lifelong Learning Contribution for the academic term, or module, that the contract covers.

4.0 Staff leaving the College after study

The Lifelong Learning Contribution is a significant investment in employees with benefits  for the long term, beyond the immediate period of study.  All applicants and managers should be aware that:

  • A member of staff, who voluntarily leaves Birkbeck, or is dismissed, within 12 months after the period of study paid by the College, will be required to repay 25% of the total of the last year’s tuition fee, excluding the individual’s contribution to the fees.  If the member of staff leaves Birkbeck during a term of study, they will also be liable to repay for that term as detailed above.  Any repayments will normally be deducted from the final salary.

This arrangement will be subject to a signed written agreement for the Lifelong Learning Contribution by the member of staff at the time of application and for each subsequent year of study.     The Lifelong Learning Contribution will not be agreed by the College, until the signed written agreement is in place.

Anyone leaving the College and has given their notice must also inform the Administrator in Organisational Development.

5.0 Application process, approval  and confirmation of support from the College

5.1 Timescale for applications

The scheme will normally be advertised in the the summer term by Organisational Development (OD) inviting applications to be lodged by a deadline set annually by OD.  Applications will not be considered by the College outside the advertised timescale.

5.2 Application by an employee

The initial interest in study at Birkbeck and subsequent progress should be discussed and recorded in the Development Plan of the Progress and Development (PDR) form, or in Part B of the Academic Review form.

To apply, an application form and written agreement must be completed, signed by the appropriate people and sent to the Administrator in OD by the annual deadline.

5.3 Line Manager approval

The line manager will consider approving the application having discussed with the applicant:

  • The course or module being undertaken;
  • The amount of Study Leave to be granted in line with the policy;
  • The impact on the well being of the individual;
  • The operational impact (if any) on the team/department (examples could include the  impact of the intensity of undertaking study on an individual’s performance, or leave arrangements within the team);
  • Any conflict of interest that may arise from the course of study;
  • For continuing students progress being made on the course or module; and
  • Where the course involves any daytime study, this will be on the agreement of the line manager.

5.4 Executive Dean, Director of Professional Service’s or Director of Operations’ approval

The Executive Dean, or Director of Professional Services/Director of Operations will consider whether to approve the application, including consideration of the above, and indicate their approval by signing the form.

5.5 The College’s approval and future funding

Human Resources will advise Strategic Planning Committee (SPC) each summer term about the applications for the Lifelong Learning Contribution and costs against the budget, as required, for their decision.  SPC’s decision will be advised to Executive Deans/Directors of Professional Services/Directors of Operations, as appropriate, and then individual staff.

It is assumed that once an application has been lodged with OD and confirmed by the College, the employee will have been deemed to have received the Lifelong Learning Contribution, even if they do not enrol on the course.

If a situation arises whereby total financial support is limited by the College, priority will be given to continuing applicants and then to those staff who have not received support through this scheme or previous study assistance/remission of fees schemes.   In such circumstances, OD will advise and confirm the process agreed with SPC.

5.6 Enrolment

The College encourages staff to enrol as soon as possible and no later than the deadline set by Registry.

6.0 Continuing students

Employees who wish to continue to receive the Lifelong Learning Contribution for their course of study must complete an application form each academic year and send it to the Administrator in OD by the annual deadline.  Failure to do so will mean that the application is not considered for that annual round and may result in removal from the scheme.

7.0 Deferrals, re-taking, re-sitting and re-submitting

Under the Lifelong Learning Contribution, studies can be deferred in line with the course guidelines.  There will be occasions when an employee will choose to defer study for the next year.  The Administrator in OD will need to be informed about deferral by the deadline agreed annually by OD to prevent removal from the scheme.  Details on the implications for future fees and the likely return date to study will be required.  If, during the year or term of study an employee wishes to defer, then they will need to inform the Administrator in OD as soon as possible.

The College does not provide support for employees re-taking modules/courses, re-sitting examinations or resubmitting summative coursework.

8.0 Attendance and completion of study

Once tuition fees have been committed by the College, employees are expected to enrol promptly, attend, complete the programme, or module and advise their line manager about progress.

The College reserves the right to withdraw or suspend the scheme at any time.

Organisational Development, Human Resources, 12 May 2021

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Postal address: Human Resources, Birkbeck, University of London, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HX