Finding a way to pay for your learning

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Photo credit: Nick Youngson -

If you’re looking for help toward funding an online or distance learning course, it can be difficult to know where to start. A lot of funding is geared toward face to face learning that takes place in a classroom, but learning in this way is not suitable for everyone.

You might be working full time or have children, perhaps you’re not able to travel to your local college? Whatever your reason for choosing to study a course online, we would like to share our top tips for looking at possible ways to pay for your course.

Spread the cost

If you are able, paying in monthly instalments might be a good way to spread the cost of your course. You can pay a deposit amount and then monthly instalments meaning you don’t have to pay the full amount up-front. NEC instalment plans usually have 0% interest and run over 6 months. Find out more about paying by with instalments.  

Ask your boss

If you’re thinking of doing a course that will help you to improve in your job or, perhaps, to prepare for a promotion with your company, asking your boss for help might be a good option for you. Some employers are willing to help their teams to be the best they can be, after all, it will be of benefit to them in the long-term. If you decide to do this, we suggest presenting your employer with details of the course and how it will help you to improve in your job.

Search for funding

There are different possibilities for funding your course, based on your own circumstances and often your location. You might consider approaching include local community groups or charities specific to your own circumstances such as ‘Help for Heroes’ if you are a former member of the Armed Forces.

Turn2Us have an online search tool which will search, on your behalf, for available grants based on your personal circumstances and location. You might also consider speaking to your Local Authority, particularly if you are educating your children at home.

Specialist organisations

Some organisation provide financial assistance to specific groups of people, for example, The Carers Trust provides grants for those with responsibility as a carer, The Prince’s Trust provide grants to young people aged between 14 and 25.

If you’re a member of the armed forces, you might be able to get funding. If you are looking to do a level 2 qualification (such as a GCSE) you may be able to get help through the Standard Learning Credits scheme. If you are looking for a level 3 or above, the Enhanced Learning Credits Administration Service (ELCAS) may be able to help you. In both cases, we recommend speaking to your Education and Resettlement co-ordinator in the first instance. NEC is approved by the Ministry of Defense (MoD) under the ELCAS scheme. Provider number 1160.

Don’t forget though, all grants and awards are subject to your individual circumstances. You can often find details of any eligibility criteria on the organisations website or by giving them a call.

Look for special arrangements

On some occasions, NEC works with organisations to provide a discount on course fees. One example of this is our partnership with Unionlearn. All union members are able to get a 10% discount on course fees. There are also special rates available when you are looking to enrol on more than one A level or GCSE course. Families that are home educating their children can also take a further 10% off of their course fees. You can read more about all NEC special offers and arrangements.

We hope this has given you an idea of where to start, if you’re looking to pay for your course.

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