Revealed: The 34 colleges with £270m of government loans and bailouts last year

The Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) has revealed the colleges that last year received millions in government loans and bailouts.

According to documents released by the ESFA and analysed by FE Week, a total of 34 colleges across the country received £270 million in Exceptional Financial Support and Restructuring Funding loans and grants by July 2018.

This was the first time the ESFA revealed individual values of grants and loans awarded to colleges. The agency explained it had decided to release this information to allow FE colleges to “compare their financial data with national totals and other colleges and organisations”.

When similar figures were released last year, the Department for Education immediately removed any reference from its monthly expenditure list, and said they would remain secret “to ensure the college’s financial position can be managed effectively during the period of support”.

The documents released last Friday revealed Hull College received the biggest amount in restructuring grands – a total of £34,187,000 – to support its ‘fresh start’ arrangement and to help its “significant financial and operational turnaround”.

FE Week had previously reported that the college received a £54 million government bailout in order to balance the books, which was believed to be the highest ever given to an English college.

The college also said in its 2016/17 accounts, which were published almost 18 months late, that it had overspent £10 million.

Meanwhile, Trafford College was awarded a total of £29.11 million in restructuring grants. The college merged with Stockport College in April last year – just a month after Stockport was rated ‘inadequate’ for the third time in five years.

As a result, the grant was provided to enable the merged college to deliver a “significant financial and quality turnaround”.

The government also awarded Chichester College £3 million in loans (EFS and restructuring grants) and £21.37 million in grants.

The ESFA said the college was given restructuring facility funding to facilitate its merger with Central Sussex College, which had also received exceptional financial support funding and a third successive Ofsted rating of ‘requires improvement’ prior to the merger.

The college was last month named one of the institutions that will receive a total of 1.8 million in grants through a strategic improvement fund, designed to support struggling colleges.

Moreover, the agency has revealed that, of its £470m restructuring facility funding allocation, it has spent £290m as of January this year. It said it has received 78 applications for the restructuring facility during the same period. Of these, 58 have been assessed and approved and five remained in the assessment and approval processes.

See the full list of colleges that received loans and grants as of July last year:

College name
ESFA Loans
(EFS and
restructuring
grant)
ESFA restructuring grant
Total ESFA loans and grants
Hull College
£0
£34,187,000
£34,187,000
Trafford College
£0
£29,112,000
£29,112,000
Chichester College
£3,000,000
£21,373,000
£24,373,000
East Kent College
£0
£16,976,000
£16,976,000
Birmingham Metropolitan College
£15,244,000
£0
£15,244,000
St Helens College
£0
£14,100,000
£14,100,000
Telford College of Arts and Technology
£216,000
£13,373,000
£13,589,000
Lambeth College
£13,586,000
£0
£13,586,000
Nottingham College
£13,000,000
£0
£13,000,000
South and City College, Birmingham
£0
£10,800,000
£10,800,000
City of Wolverhampton College
£6,250,000
£3,424,000
£9,674,000
City of Bristol College
£8,949,000
£0
£8,949,000
Sussex Coast College Hastings
£4,397,000
£3,668,000
£8,065,000
North Shropshire College
£5,874,000
£0
£5,874,000
Stoke-on-Trent College
£5,625,000
£0
£5,625,000
South and West Cheshire College
£5,200,000
£0
£5,200,000
London South East Colleges
£4,401,000
£0
£4,401,000
Lowestoft College
£3,450,000
£742,000
£4,192,000
Cornwall College Group
£3,238,000
£697,000
£3,935,000
South Essex College of Further and Higher Education
£3,500,000
£0
£3,500,000
Accrington and Rossendale College
£3,475,000
£0
£3,475,000
Redcar and Cleveland College
£3,251,000
£0
£3,251,000
North Warwickshire & South Leicestershire College
£2,818,000
£0
£2,818,000
Kirklees College
£2,800,000
£0
£2,800,000
Southport College
£0
£2,737,000
£2,737,000
Berkshire College of Agriculture
£0
£2,575,000
£2,575,000
Ruskin College
£2,280,000
£0
£2,280,000
West Nottinghamshire College
£2,100,000
£0
£2,100,000
Weymouth College
£2,019,000
£0
£2,019,000
Epping Forest College
£900,000
£0
£900,000
South Gloucestershire and Stroud College*
£753,000
£0
£753,000
Cadbury Sixth Form College
£300,000
£0
£300,000
Solihull College
£0
£100,000
£100,000
Cleveland College of Art and Design
£53,000
£0
£53,000
Total 2017/18
£116,679,000
£153,864,000
£270,543,000

 

*South Gloucestershire and Stroud College has said the figure is an “error” either by the ESFA or via data supplied by the college, and claimed that SGSC has not been in receipt of any restructuring loans

Since this article was published a number of colleges have got in touch to say the figures in the government’s data are wrong. If your college has any concerns about the figures please contact the ESFA directly. We’re currently waiting for an explanation from the ESFA.