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Dance and drama awards: understanding what it means

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Please can someone explain this to me? I have been on the website, looked at past threads but I am struggling with something that is probably so basic! On the income scales on the official website, is the amount shown under "student contribution to fees" the figure the student pays to the school? Is this termly or annually? So, just choosing a completely made up school fee as an example, the school charges £9,000 per term and the pupil pays for example £1275 depending on family income. Dada pays the rest to th school? Is this the student's entire contribution to tuition and boarding? Obviously I understand there are loads of extras too so I am just thinking fees at the moment. Or am I misunderstanding this completely? So what does the second column mean-Dada maintenance rates? We are a non boarding or vocational school family so it's all a mystery.

Feeling confused....and hoping someone can explain it to me.

Thank you.

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Hi. In your example the £1275 is the amount the student would pay towards tuition only for the whole academic year and you would have to pay for your own accommodation. For families on lower levels of income they are awarded the full tuition fee and money towards accommodation as well , which is the amount showing in the maintenance rates column.

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It is just fees and you are right that it is the student/parental contribution to the fees that is quoted, varying on a sliding scale depending on income. The DADA is precisely the money in the form of an award that the government pays to cover the shortfall of the cost of the course.

 

The second column on DADA maintenance rates refers to the amount you can get towards accommodation costs. Again it depends on income for if you get any assistance with accommodation costs.

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The accommodation costs are separate and can be very expensive. At one particular vocational school we looked at boarding alone is almost £13K, and in most cases this has to be found by the parents as you have to be on a relatively low income to get any help.

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Yes that's good advice Bestfootforward. I haven't been able to find accommodation costs on the websites so it'll be mean contacting he schools direct. Ant other tips much appreciated.

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It's also a good idea to find out about what the boarding entails. The different schools offer very different set ups, and some of these may not be what you and your child want. Large numbers sharing rooms can be difficult for those pupils who take their academics seriously and want to study, or get an early night.

Also if a child values their own space, again sharing rooms may not work. Some schools don't actually offer school accommodation to 6th formers, and some pupils prefer to stay with a host family where they can have their own room and escape some of the tensions that inevitably occur with boarding.

It's all good for thought and worth careful consideration. Staying with a host family can halve the cost of accommodation and work out very well for the child.

Good luck with your research

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Is it best just to email a school direct with any questions? I can't seem to find all he information I need on the websites.

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Is it best just to email a school direct with any questions? I can't seem to find all he information I need on the websites.

Is there a specific school you are referring to ?

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Is it best just to email a school direct with any questions? I can't seem to find all he information I need on the websites.

Yes

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Another question....does receiving Dada funding affect your eligibility for a student loan from student finance in the future?

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Theoretically (and I stress the word, I have no personal experience) you can't get university funding if you have done the courses that qualify you for a DaDa, they are too high level to entitle you to university funding.  You can "top up" the qualification to degree level via distance learning.

 

This was one of the reasons we made the decision we did on choice of school at 16 - a degree wasn't going to be funded anyway!  My son and I worked out it was cheaper to do a distance learning degree than pay for 3 years accommodation at an upper school.  

 

But this was just from reading the criteria for degree funding at the time.  

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I've just been looking at schools for when my dd is 18 and it has come to my attention that a lot of the top schools like Arts Ed, Bird, Laine etc do not allow ucas loans like all the unis do so how are the children of middle income families supposed to fund these school that they so desperately want to go to? I have no disposable income yet don't quite qualify for a DADA? Any tips or do I just say sorry dd you were born into a poor, but not not quite poor enough family so you can't go! Seems so unfair that dreams are broken because of finance not talent. Please feel free to correct me if there are full funding scholarships into the above named schools and others that go on talent not income!

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Please can someone point me in the right direction on school's that use the usual student finance route to pay for dance/musical theatre courses please.

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Yellowcar it has been an ongoing argument/discussion since the DaDA funding was changed 4 years ago.

But I would suggest asking the schools you are interested in about bursaries and scholarships.

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It's not the schools who won't accept student finance yellowcar,it's the matter of whether the courses are eligible or not. In a nutshell you need to look for degree courses - the level 6 diploma courses are not eligible for student finance. There are a number of establishments with eligible dance degrees (Ballet West, Central,Rambert,London Studio Centre off the top of my head though I am sure there are others) but I'm not au fair with musical theatre courses I'm sorry. One of my DD's friends is at Bird doing a degree and I'm pretty sure that she's in receipt of student finance, so have a look there maybe?

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Urdang also do a BA in dance and Musical Theatre, so I assume you could access student finance for that.

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Thank you, I'm a bit new to all this student finance/ funding etc and it's all very confusing so I'll keep looking into it all. Thank you for your help

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The other thing that you need to bear in mind is that even if eligible for student finance the current maximum that will be awarded towards fees at a private establishment (ie most, if not all dance colleges/schools) is £6K whereas the fees are likely to be significantly more than that. Depending on which course, you are likely to have a further £3-7K per year to find for fees. Obviously this is still a big improvement on paying the whole lot, but it can be a shock if you are not expecting it.

And maintenance loans are means tested. It's probable that you will have to contribute significantly to your DD's living costs, and/or she will need to get a job. That said, the same would apply whatever course she was doing -that's not dance specific.A student loan is a big help, but it doesn't cover the entire costs by any means. Sorry if that's a bit depressing, but I think it's better to do the sums in advance so you can be realistic about what you can and can't afford to fund. I didn't let my DD audition for anything that I knew I wouldn't be able to pay for.

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I am completely lost here...

sorry for a silly and simple question:

If a DC receive a Dada to voc upper school (Royal, Tring, Elmhurst etc) then later this DC will NOT receive a student loan if decides to go to university? Even if the DC does 2 years (A level) and not the graduates year (diploma)?

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Happymum, I think that's correct what you are saying. Depressing isn't it. Looks like my dd won't be going to any of the private dance schools, the Ines that seem to carry the reputations into jobs as most of these from what I can see are 13k plus a year and if she'll only be eligible for 6k and not the usual 9k student loan then there is no way I can top up the rest of the fees ???? Feel like telling her to give up now!

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Are you sure you are looking at the degree fees Yellowcar? I've just had a glance at the Bird website as an example and whilst the diploma fees are £13K the degree costs just over 9K per annum, so it may not be as bad as you think. And remember that there will be things you stop paying for when your DD leaves home. The obvious thing is dance lessons and associated costs like extra workshops,travel, costumes and so on, but I've also noticed a significant reduction in our general household bills by virtue of having one less person in the house most of the time.

Having a child in any kind of higher education is costly unfortunately, and dance is more expensive than most standard degrees, but when you take everything into consideration things might not be quite as bad as they first seem. My DD also worked pretty much full time from finishing her A levels in June to going away in September, and even though she was only earning minimum wage as a waitress it meant she started with a reasonable bank balance, and I expect the next few summers will be much the same. She isn't needing to work in term time currently, but it's an option, and plenty of students do have part time jobs.

There is no easy answer and it is a daunting prospect,but try not to be too disheartened before you've explored all the options.

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Student loans are not available for those who have done the 3 year level 6 diploma for two reasons as far as am I aware. 1/ a loan is only normally available for the first higher education qualification (A levels are still further education qualification not higher so might be ok there) and 2/ with a normal university loan the government (through taxpayers) are paying the 'gap' between the course fee and the amount of the student loan and I am told that the DADA is the equivalent of this 'gap money'.

 

Having said that I think it is a pretty grey area, as despite the rules of eligibility , I do know students who have gained their level 6 diploma and then gone to university a few years later, seemingly with a student loan.

 

Re: the 6k loan instead of the full student loan. I don't think it applies to all of the reputable dance schools. I thought Central Sschool of Ballet, Urdang, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and Rambert were the full student loan, as are the contemporary degrees at Trinity Laban, Northern Contemporary etc.You really do need check the situation for any school you are interested in as things are changing all the time as schools introduce new courses and new funding. Bird, Hammond and I think Millenium have all now introduced degree courses that are elgibile for student loans and I am sure there are others, especially for MT.

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It depends whether the awarding University/body for the degree is classed as a private university or not. Those classed as private universities or colleges (e.g. Ballet West) are capped at £6165 for 17/18. Others get the higher amount of £9250 pa for 17/18. This includes member schools of the Conservatoire of Dance and Drama such as Rambert and Central School of Ballet. Remember that these are loans, not grants so in theory at least you will have to repay eventually. There are also means tested maintenance grants for both types. This is a good guide for further reading: https://www.gov.uk/student-finance/new-fulltime-students. These are the arrangements for England, its different for NI, Wales & Scotland etc

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Other things to bear in mind is that once on a level 6 or degree course at 16 you can no longer get child benefit or working tax credit for that child. It is classed as above A level as it's Higher education.x

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So all the worry about choosing a voc upper school with an option of A levels for a possible university in the future is only for those who can pay for the full university fees

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Happymum, as I said before it seems to be a grey area. If you leave vocational school with A levels but no higher education qualification (ie without the level 6 diploma), I believe you would be entitled to a student loan and I do know personally of students currently at university who already gained a level 6 qualification but still got a student loan (unless they are just leading us to believe that ).  This is contrary to the eligibility guidelines which specify that a student loan is for the first higher education qualification only. I can only assume they assess on an individual case by case basis.

 

On the other hand, I think you need to consider why you want the university option after the trinity level 6 diploma. It is aimed at getting the students ready for their performing career .  You are in any case eligible for funding for the 1 year BA conversion course so that the student converts their diploma into the BA Honours Professional Practice. 

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As I understand it, those who embark on a 6th form Vocational course where they take A-levels, still have the option of giving a terms notice at any time.  So even if it is a three year Dance course, they can decide during the 2nd year whether to continue for a third year or whether to apply to Universities for academic courses (or indeed Dance degrees at other institutions although I don't think this is encouraged).  Hence the emphasis on academics, so that students have the option during Upper 6th.  

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