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 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.
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.
If your course is not free, you may still be entitled to a reduced or free course. You will usually need to be:
- A UK or EU/EEA citizen, and
- Resident in the UK for 3 years when the course starts, and
- On an income-based benefit
- Job Seekers Allowance
- Employment and Support Allowance (ESA - work related)
- Universal Credit and earn less than £330 per month
- Income Support, Housing Benefit, Council Tax Reduction (not single occupancy discount) or Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) support group
- Working Tax Credit
- Pension Guarantee Credit
- 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.
- Where household income is less than £20,000
If you are not sure of your status or need further information, contact the Student Support team on 0300 303 3464
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.
Additional support is available for individuals who fall within the WEA's key priority groups:
- Support for people in receipt of a means tested benefit to attend their course.
- 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.
This fund can be used to pay for childcare which is with an Ofsted registered childcare provider. Students have to be aged 20 and above.
As a general rule childcare payments should not exceed £6.00 per hour. Students under 20 years old will need to apply for childcare via Care to learn
For any questions regarding the DLS fund contact the Student Support team on 0300 303 3464
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.
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.
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.