One of the biggest barriers to getting back into education for adults is how to pay course fees.
Three schemes are available to help support adults back into education.
One is for adults who earn up to £17,004* (£17,374 from 1 August 2021) to study a whole range courses up to and including level 2;
the other is to support people who are 24 or older and don’t already have a full level 3 qualification (2 A levels or equivalent) to study certain level 3 qualifications, and; finally, we have removed the fee from all adult English and maths, ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) and skills for work courses starting between 1 April and 30 June 2021.
*subject to eligibility criteria
Adult maths and English, ESOL and skills for work course 1 April to 30 June 2021
All adult maths and English functional skills and GCSE, ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) and skills for work courses that start between 1 April and 30 June 2021 are free, regardless of circumstances.
Level 3 courses for adults aged 24 and over
Free technical certificate or diploma (equivalent to 2 A levels) courses are on offer in a range of subjects to help boost careers, including
- accounting and finance
- building and construction
- business management
- child development and wellbeing
- health and social care
Please note that T Levels are not included in this promotion as they are a new qualification aimed at those who are 16-18.
If you are interested in a course, and are 24 or over you can simply apply from the course page. If you are unsure about which course may be right for you our independent careers team are free to talk to.
19 to 23 year olds who do not already have a full level 3 qualification will continue to be able to apply and study for their first level 3 qualification without having to pay tuition fees.
Please contact us to check the eligibility for funding. T levels are not eligible for funding.
*Adults aged 24 and over without a full level 3 qualification will not have to pay tuition fees. There might be material fees or other costs that are associated with the course that may be payable. Our Learner Support Fund may be able to help to cover these costs.
Level 2 courses for people earning up to £17,004 a year
You can choose to study a wide range of full and part-time courses** without having to pay any tuition fees.
This means you could potentially save thousands of pounds.
To be eligible for free adult courses you must:
- be 19 or older, and
- be in full or part-time employment and earn less than £17,004 a year (you will need to provide wage slips or your last self-assessment form to evidence this), and
- want to study a pre-entry, entry, level 1 or level 2*** course.
Many courses are also free for people in receipt of certain benefits, including Job Seekers Allowance, Universal Credit and Employment and Support Allowance.
You can choose to study more than one part-time course a year if you want to and it doesn’t matter whether you already have higher qualifications, so long as you are applying to study something different.
Courses are available in a wide range of subjects** including:
- art, design, and graphics
- beauty therapy and make-up
- brickwork and plastering
- build environment and construction
- business and management
- carpentry and joinery
- electrical installation
- fashion, footwear, and upholstery
- hospitality and catering
- maths and English functional skills
- motor vehicle
- music and sound technology
- painting and decorating
- performing arts
- plumbing and gas
- science, social science, and humanities
- skills for work – courses designed for adults looking for work
- sports and fitness
- teacher training
- travel and tourism
- uniformed public services
- video and photography
- part-time hobby courses
On some courses, there are also materials fees to pay, to cover the costs of equipment and materials that you use while studying. However, depending on your circumstances you may be able to apply to our Learner Support Fund for help with paying these.
You may also be interested in our level 2 distance learning courses, which are all free to anyone who is 19 or older.
* You must be 19 or older on 31 August 2020. Tuition fees remission is subject to eligibility criteria. If you are unsure about whether you are eligible, or if remission is available on the course you are interested in please contact us for advice, 0116 224 2240 or see full details of our course fee disclaimers.
**We have tried to list courses which are eligible for funding, but there are occasionally anomalies. Please check individual courses for details.
***A full level 2 qualification is equivalent to five or more GCSEs at grade 9 to 4.