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This page explains the kinds of financial support that may be available to you. Please follow the links below for further information. If you have any additional questions about whether you qualify for financial support towards the cost of your course or course materials, you can get in touch with your local WEA office.

If you require Learning Support to help you come on a WEA course, due to a disability, learning difficulty or other issue, please visit the Learning Support section of this site. Should you require advice on your finances, the WEA works with the Money Advice Service to provide free, impartial advice. A financial healthcheck and budget planner is available here.

Do I have to pay a fee?

Can I get help with tuition fees?

Can I get help with other costs?

How do I qualify for the Discretionary Learner Support (DLS)?

Is there anything else I need to do?

Income-based benefits

Advanced Learner Loans

Do I have to pay a fee?

Courses may be free to fluent speakers of English who want to develop English or Maths skills and are in receipt of income-based benefits.

Contact your Regional Office to ask about having an assessment of your skills and taking a Functional Skills qualification in English or Maths. You can also find out more about our English courses for speakers of other languages. These courses are not free.

Please note there will be a fee for most other courses.

Can I get help with tuition fees?

If your course is not free, you may still be entitled to fee remission. You will usually need to be:

  • A UK or EU citizen, and
  • Resident in the UK for 3 years when the course starts, and
  • On an income-based benefit - or be the dependant of someone who is.

You may also get fee remission if:

  • You have refugee status or official Leave to Remain or Humanitarian Protection. You will need to provide evidence of your residency status when you enrol - usually your passport stamp.
  • You are an asylum seeker. You will need to show proof of Asylum Support, and that you have been in the UK legally for six months or more, and that the Home Office is still considering your claim. You will need to show your Asylum Registration Card or equivalent.

Accreditation and exam fees can be claimed through Discretionary Learner Support as additional course costs.

Tuition fees cannot normally be claimed through Discretionary Learner Support. The exceptions are:

  • If you suffer sudden or exceptional financial hardship but cannot get fee remission
  • If you are on an English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) course and suffer financial hardship but cannot get fee remission.

If you are on a university-level course, you will not normally be able to get fee remission or other help through the WEA. Your university may be able to help you.

If you are not sure of your status or need further information, contact your Regional Office.

Can I get help with other costs?

If you are in financial need, you may be able to apply for Discretionary Learner Support for help towards:

  • Travel to and from your class
  • Essential books, equipment or field trips, as set out in the course details
  • Childcare (providing you are using an Ofsted registered childminder, creche, nursery or playgroup)
  • Travel to and from your childcare provider
  • Additional course costs such as exam fees, accreditation fees or professional membership fees, where these are an essential part of the course.

You can apply for help for up to three courses in each academic year, and there are some upper limits on childcare and other costs, which change annually. It is best to apply early as the funds are limited.

If you feel that you are being prevented from learning because of financial hardship, contact your tutor or your Regional Office immediately.

How do I qualify for the Discretionary Learner Support (DLS)?

To get help, you will need to meet the residency requirements for fee remission. You will also need to show that financial difficulties are likely to prevent you from following and completing your course.

Asylum seekers who are eligible for SFA funding are also eligible to apply for DLS but will not receive cash payments.

We will ask you to provide evidence that financial difficulties are preventing you from learning. This might include:

  • Proof of income-based benefit (e.g. your WEA Enrolment Form) or
  • Proof of annual gross household income (e.g. wages slips or bank statements for 3 months) and
  • A description of the financial circumstances affecting your learning.
  • If you can provide evidence of your annual outgoings (e.g. rent or mortgage, fuel, rates and utilities) this might also strengthen your claim.

If you receive cash payments from Discretionary Learner Support, and you are on an income-based benefit, you will need to declare this to Job Centre Plus.

Is there anything else I need to do?

If you receive financial support, you must:

  • Let us know straight away if your circumstances change
  • Refund the money if you leave without good reason
  • Return books and equipment at the end of the course if asked.

If you need more information, please contact your Regional Office (or ask your tutor if you are already on a course).

Income-based benefits

The main income-based benefits are:

  • Job Seeker's Allowance
  • Employment and Support Allowance in the Work Related Activity Group
  • Universal Credit
  • Council Tax Reduction (excluding 25% single occupancy discount)
  • Income Support
  • Housing Benefit
  • Working Tax Credit (where your annual income falls below £15,276)
  • Pension Guarantee Credit


Advanced Learner Loan

You may also be entitled to an Advanced Learner Loan - click here for more information. The only course offered by the WEA that the Advanced Learner Loan apply to is the Ascentis Level 3 Certificate in Community Interpreting.