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 or the WEA Student support team.

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

Do I have to pay a fee?

WEA runs a range of free taster courses aimed at attracting new students to education. English and Maths courses will usually be free for eligible students. Most other courses will have a fee although help may be available for students in receipt of an income-related benefit.

Can I get help with tuition fees?

If your course is not free, you may still be entitled to a reduced or free course. 

General eligibility ( requirement of your enrolment on your chosen course)

  • You have lived in the UK/EU for the last 3 years 
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2018.

Eligibility for help with tuition fees relating to Income Related Benefits

You may not have to pay the course fee if you are:

  1.  Claiming Job Seeker's Allowance (you must provide your NI Number)
  2.  Claiming Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) in the Work Related Activity Group (you must provide your NI Number)
  3.  Claiming Universal Credit and earn less than £338 per month or household earns less than £541 per month (you must provide your NI Number)
  4.  Claiming or are dependent on someone who claims Council Tax Reduction (not single occupancy discount)
  5.  Claiming Working Tax Credit
  6.  Claiming Income Support
  7.  Claiming Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) in the Support Group
  8.  Claiming or are dependent on someone who claims Housing Benefit
  9.  Claiming Pension Guarantee Credit
  10.  Claiming Asylum in the UK.  As an Asylum Seeker you will need to have been a resident in the UK for six months or longer, have an Application Registration Card (ARC) or Standard Acknowledgement letter (SAL) and a current Asylum Support Agreement from UK Visas and Immigration.  
  11.  Unwaged and dependent on somebody in receipt of one of the above benefits (excluding Council Tax Reduction and Housing Benefit).

NB: If you are not in receipt of any of the above income-related benefits but your household income is below £20,000, you may still be eligible to apply for some support with tuition, accreditation or other fees. See next section Can I get help with other costs?  

If you are not sure of your status or need further information, contact the Student Support team on 0300 303 3464.

Can I get help with other costs?

Discretionary Learner Support (DLS) is a limited fund that allows us to provide financial support to students on a course funded through the ESFA with a specific financial hardship preventing them from taking part in learning.

Download the DLS 2018-2019 form 

Additional support is available for individuals who fall within the WEA's key priority groups:

  • Support for a student progressing to an accredited course who does not have a qualification higher than Level 2.
  • Support for students on employability courses.
  • Support for students on English, Maths and ESOL courses.
  • Support for students becoming active in their communities.
  • Support for people with mental health difficulties, recovering addicts, carers and those experiencing homelessness.

Hardship DLS support: 

  • Tuition and Examination fees – up to 50% of tuition fees (100% in exceptional circumstances) and 100% of examination fees to a maximum of £400 where a student cannot get fee waiver and there is evidence of hardship.
  • Books and Equipment – Identified as essential for the course as noted in the Course Information Sheet.
  • Travel – Transport to and from the class in specific circumstances (this applies to students eligible for fee waiver only). Expenditure must exceed £20.00 in total before a claim can be met and all receipts must be supplied.
  • Childcare - We would advise all students eligible for free childcare through the Free Education and childcare for 2-year-olds or 15 and 30 hours free childcare for 3 and 4 years old, to use these hours towards their WEA course/s. For more information on your eligibility for childcare please visit

Alternatively, Childcare support can be offered by the WEA through the Discretionary Learner Support (DLS) fund. Students will need to complete a DLS form and await approval before confirming a childcare placement. The childcare provider must be Ofsted registered. Students have to be aged 20 and above. Students under 20 years old will need to apply for childcare via

As a general rule childcare payments should not exceed £6.00 per hour. Any costs over £6 per hour will need to be approved by a Senior Regional Education Manager or the Student Services Manager. (We advise students to speak to your tutor or course organiser).

Find childcare in your area.

For any questions regarding the DLS fund contact the Student Support team on 0300 303 3464.

How do I qualify for 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.

You will be asked to provide a description of the financial circumstances affecting your learning. You may also be asked to provide evidence that financial difficulties are preventing you from learning to support the decision-making process. 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)
  • 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 Learner Support, and you are on an income-based benefit, you will need to declare this to Job Centre Plus.

How do I apply for the Discretionary Learner Support Fund?

  • You will need to download a copy of the DLS form and complete this before (must have the course code available) or within two weeks of the course starting. (DLS applications can take up to five working days to be processed. Please note during the enrolment period this could be longer)
  • If you are unable to complete an electronic copy of the form, ask your tutor for a copy of the DLS form 
  • The student support team will email you to confirm whether your application has been successful.  
  • If you are applying for childcare, you will need to have your DLS application approved before confirming your child/ren placement with a childcare provider. 

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.

Advanced Learner Loan

For level 3 courses, individuals can apply for funding to pay for tuition fees. Find out if you are entitled to an Advanced Learner Loan.

Need information about repaying the advanced learner loan? Learn more.