If you are aged under 19, full time courses are free. If you’re aged 19 or over, depending on your circumstances, certain courses may be free. You may still have to pay for exam/registration or materials costs, but our Learner Support Fund might be able to help you with these costs.

You are generally eligible for free tuition if you are aged 19–23 at the start of your course and you are applying for your first full Level 2 course or your first full Level 3 course, or if you are in receipt of a state benefit and are actively seeking work.

If you have to pay for your course, you can apply for an Advanced Learner Loan to help with the costs. Loan eligibility doesn’t depend on your income and there are no credit checks.

How much you get depends on:

  • the type of course
  • your course fees
  • the maximum loan available for your course.

The minimum loan you can get is £300 and is paid directly to your college or training provider. You don’t have to borrow the full cost of your course – you can pay for some of it yourself.

You must be 19 or older on the first day of your course and your course must be a Level 3, 4, 5 or 6 qualification, e.g. A Levels, Level 3 or Level 4 Diploma, an HND, HNC or foundation degree.

Full details of eligibility and how to apply are available at https://www.gov.uk/advanced-learner-loan/overview

Some courses are ‘full-cost’ and these full-cost courses must be paid for by the students themselves; fees for full-cost courses vary and must be paid up front.

To find out more, telephone 0800 622006.

The Learner Support Fund helps those students who would otherwise be unable to participate in Further Education. Priority groups are learners who are economically or socially disadvantaged, disabled, ill or have learning difficulties.

For adult learners who meet the criteria we can support childcare, equipment, trips, books, uniform and travel. There is also a small amount of funding available to pay for exam and course fees. Support is subject to availability of funding.

For all enquiries about the Learner Support Fund contact Ann Hay or Naomi Lear via freephone 0800 622006 or welfare@sandwell.ac.uk
For all enquiries about adult course fees, freephone 0800 622006.

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