Paying for your course

A shoot sprouting from a pile of coins

On this page you will find information about:

Paying for your course in monthly instalments

Choosing to study is an investment in yourself and in your future. We know it’s not always easy to come up with the full cost of the course up front, which is why we’ve teamed up with Deko to offer you a flexible way to pay for your course through finance. You can pay as little as 10% of your course fees as a deposit and start studying straight away!

Is it more expensive to pay by instalments?
Spreading the cost of your course through finance doesn’t mean paying more. We offer 0% APR as standard when you pay over six months.

Representative example, for GCSE Maths:
Course fee: £450
Minimum 10% deposit: £45
Amount of credit: £405
Monthly payment: £67.50
Duration of agreement: 6 months
Total repayable: £450
Rate of interest: 0% (fixed)
0% APR representative.

Can anyone pay by monthly instalments?
To be considered for finance you will need to:

  • be at least 18 years old
  • be in regular full or part-time employment (minimum 16 hours per week or £5,500 per annum, unless you are retired and receiving a private / company pension or in receipt of disability allowance)
  • be a permanent UK resident who has lived in the UK for at least 3 years
  • have a UK bank account capable of accepting Direct Debits
  • have a good credit history with no late payments, debt relief orders, CCJs, IVAs or bankruptcies
  • provide an email address so your documentation can be emailed to you.

The value of the loan needs to be over £250.

Finance decision
Your application will be assessed based on eligibility, credit history and affordability and Deko will let you know the outcome in just a few seconds. It’s important to know that when applying for finance a hard credit check is made which is recorded on your credit file.
Once approved, Deko will let you know who the lender is and provide you with their full contact details. You then just need to digitally sign your credit agreement, pay your deposit and wait for your enrolment to be confirmed by NEC via email.
In a few cases, your application may be referred to a lender for manual assessment and you’ll be notified by email of the credit decision within 24 hours. If you’re not approved for finance it could be for a variety of reasons and the lender will be able to give you more information.

Repaying the loan
Your first direct debit payment will be taken about six weeks after you receive your confirmation of enrolment email from NEC. This will show on your statement as a payment to your lender. You have the right to repay all or part of the loan early at any time.

There is a 14-day cooling off period where you can withdraw from the credit agreement after signing your documents. If you want to do this, you need to notify the lender.
A payment plan does not affect our standard refund policy. Just contact us and we’ll cancel your application and the lender will refund your deposit and let you know of any outstanding balance if applicable.

Are there any other options?
If you have any questions or would like to know more, get in touch and we can discuss your options with you. For example, would you like to pay a larger deposit and have lower monthly payments? Would you like to spread the cost over a longer period? Paying over a longer time period may mean there is a small amount of interest, but we will always tell you exactly how much this is before you decide whether to proceed.

About Deko and NEC
The National Extension College (NEC) is the trading name of the Open School Trust, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (register number 676788). Finance is provided through the Deko platform by a number of lenders. You will be offered the best rate available based on your credit history and the lenders’ credit decision policies.
Deko is a trading name of Pay4Later Ltd who act as a credit intermediary. They are registered in England and Wales (company number 06447333) and authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (register number 728646). For more information please go to or visit

Special offers

Below you will find information about any special offers we are currently running to help you save money on the cost of your learning.

Terms and conditions
Discounts are only available when paying in full and cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer (with the exception of the home educator discount, see below). All offers are applied at the point of enrolment and not retrospectively.

Multi-buy bundle offers
Enrol on multiple subjects for a set price. To claim this discount you will need to enrol by telephone.

Multi-buy GCSEs:

  • 2 GCSEs for £800
  • 3 GCSEs for £1,200
  • 4 GCSEs for £1,500
  • 5 GCSEs for £1,800

Multi-buy A levels:

  • 2 A levels for £1,200
  • 3 A levels for £1,800

Course bundle: English and Maths for Early Years
Enrol on any of our Early Years Educator courses and you can add GCSE English and Maths to your enrolment with a discount of £100 off each subject.
This offer is open to both new learners who enrol for the first time and existing learners already working through these courses, making it easier for you to gain all the crucial qualifications you'll need to begin or progress your career in Early Years Education.

Gift vouchers
Distance learning really can change lives. Help make that change for someone you know with a gift voucher from NEC. You can give a friend or relative the opportunity to learn something new by buying or contributing towards the cost of any course in our catalogue.
Gift vouchers are available in denominations of £25, £50 or £100.
Each year, we help thousands of people get back into education and gain that all-important qualification – with one of our gift vouchers, you can help someone do that as well. Call our course advisers 0800 389 2839 to find out more about our gift vouchers, or email us at
The following terms and conditions apply to our gift vouchers:

  • Gift vouchers can only be purchased for NEC's distance learning courses, and are not available for purchase towards teacher and trainer resources
  • Gift vouchers must be redeemed within 12 months of purchase
  • Gift vouchers cannot be exchanged for cash or used to pay outstanding balances
  • NEC reserves the right to amend the terms and conditions of the gift vouchers at any time.

Home educator discount
If you are educating your children at home, you will receive a 10% discount off any NEC course.
This discount can be used in addition to the multi-buy offer.
This is extended to all the family enrolling at the same time, whether that be siblings or parent and child. Please call our course advice team on 0800 389 2839 to discuss your particular needs.

Unionlearn discount
Thanks to a long-standing agreement between NEC and Unionlearn, trade unionists are entitled to a 10% discount on the cost of our courses. If you’re a member of a trade union, simply let us know when you enrol and we’ll reduce the cost of your course accordingly.

Forces personnel
Members of the armed forces can take advantage of two sources of funding: the Standard Learning Credit (SLC) scheme and the Enhanced Learning Credits (ELC) scheme: see the "Sources of financial help" section below.

NUS extra
NEC students are eligible for an NUS extra card, which you can buy from the National Union of Students. NUS extra card holders have access to a huge variety of special offers and discounts that help you to save while you study, such as money off your rail fare, restaurant bill or cinema ticket. For full details on how to get your NUS extra card and what deals are on offer, visit the NUS extra website.

Sources of financial help

NEC’s underlying philosophy is education for all. We don’t want financial constraints to stand in the way of people improving their prospects with one of our courses. If you want to study with us but are unsure whether you can afford it, there are a number of possible sources of funding.

Funding for childcare courses
You may be able to get help with the cost of your childcare course from your local authority. Contact your local authority's children's services department for further details.

SLC and ELC for forces personnel
Members of the armed forces can take advantage of two sources of funding: the Standard Learning Credit (SLC) scheme and the Enhanced Learning Credits (ELC) scheme.
The SLC scheme allows military personnel to obtain financial assistance for distance learning courses up to Level 2 on the National Qualifications Framework (NQF), which is equivalent to GCSEs and IGCSEs, and also applies to some of our professional qualifications.
The ELC scheme is a similar programme that awards funding for courses leading to qualifications at Level 3 and above on the NQF, such as A levels.
If you are serving in the armed forces and wish to take advantage of either of these schemes, you should speak to your education and/or resettlement officer to complete the necessary forms and check that your course is eligible for funding.

Prisoners' Education Trust
The Prisoners' Education Trust provides grants to prisoners who wish to improve their future by studying through distance learning. You can find out more about the charity by visiting its website, at

Other sources of advice
If you’re still not sure whether you’ll be able to afford the cost of studying with us, the following services might be able to offer further advice:

  • Local library
  • National Careers Service
  • Citizens Advice Bureaux
  • Jobcentres
  • Local educational authorities
  • Trade unions (if you are a member).

Additional costs and services

The majority of our courses are entirely self-contained, however for some courses there may be additional costs to bear in mind which are not included in the course fee.

Textbooks and resources
Wherever possible, we have developed our courses in such a way that they don't require additional resources to complete beyond the materials we already provide. However, in some cases our A levels and GCSEs may ask you to acquire one or more texts that the course materials will refer to.
If the course requires any additional resources they will be listed on the course information page for that subject, under "Set texts and resources".

Exam fees
If your course leads to a qualification for which you have to sit exams, such as for A levels and GCSEs, exam fees will need to be paid to the exam centre where you will sit your exams, and as such they are not included in your course fee. Every awarding organisation charges a subject entry fee to each exam centre for every unit entered, which the exam centre then passes on to students. These fees vary from subject to subject and between different exam centres.
If you’re registering for your exams at one of our partnership exam centres, our student support team will arrange this for you and tell you how much the registration fee will be. If you’re sitting your exams elsewhere, you’ll need to speak to the centre’s examinations officer to find out the exact costs.

Registration with awarding bodies
If your course leads to a vocational qualification you will probably need to register with the awarding body to become a member before you can sit the exam or be assessed (for example: registering with CACHE for a childcare course, or with CMI for a management course). This fee may be an annual charge. Any relevant information will be given on the specific course information page.

Fast track
Fast Track is an additional service aimed at students who have decided to complete their A level or GCSE course in less than the recommended time. It costs an additional £100 per subject.

Enhanced service
The Enhanced Service is an addition to our normal, high-quality support and is ideal for students looking for extra structure while studying, such as younger learners. It costs an additional £95 per subject.

Additional services
We offer additional services that can be purchased separately:

  • Past paper marking - You can choose to add a past paper to be marked. Our Gold Star A level and AS level courses include one past paper as standard, so if you’d like more to be marked, then this service would be useful.
    The fee is £25.
  • Revision tutorial - You can choose either a one hour or 30 minute tutorial where the tutor will help you to structure your revision. The session will be tailored to your individual needs and led by the tutor.
    The fee is £30 for 30 minutes or £45 for 1 hour.
  • Optional tutorial - As with the above, you can choose the duration and this will be useful if there is a particular area that requires additional attention. You can choose the subject of the tutorial.
    The fee is £30 for 30 minutes or £45 for 1 hour.
  • Additional review - An additional review (or a first review if this is for a non Enhanced Service student) can be provided as per the mid-course review described within the Enhanced Service.
    The fee is £30.