Discretionary Learner Support (DLS) is a 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. You can learn more and apply via the forms at the bottom of this page.
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 https://www.gov.uk/help-with-childcare-costs
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 https://www.gov.uk/care-to-learn.
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).
For any questions regarding the DLS fund contact the Student Support team on 0300 303 3464.