Fees and Funding for Adult Learners

Have you put off higher education or further training due to the cost? If so, you are not alone. Many adults worry that going back to study will be unaffordable and out of their reach. However, once you know where to look, there is in fact a range of options out there for whatever qualification you are looking to gain.

To help you get started, we have compiled this guide with everything you need to know about adult funding support and the types of loans and grants available:

Advanced Learner Loan

An Advanced Learner Loan can help with college or training tuition costs in England. How much you get depends on what you are studying and what you are charged in tuition fees. The minimum loan is £300 and it will be paid directly to your college or training provider. The loan does not depend on your current employment status and is not means tested. You will only start repaying the loan once you have completed your course and are earning more than £25,000 per year.

You are eligible for a loan if you are: aged 19 or over on the first day of your course, enrolling onto a Level 3 course or above, and a resident in the UK/EU/EEA for at least three years before the start date of your course. The eligibility criteria can vary depending on when you started studying. You can apply for up to four loans, but you can only get one at a time.

Further information is available on www.gov.uk/advanced-learner-loan


Access to Higher Education (HE) course

Student Finance England will write-off any outstanding Advanced Learner Loan balances you owe for an Access to HE course once you complete a higher education course. This means you do not have to repay it. The higher education course must be eligible for student finance.


Advanced Learner Loan Bursary Fund

After you have received a letter approving your Advanced Learner Loan, you can apply for the Advanced Learner Loan Bursary Fund. The money from this can help you pay for course materials, classroom assistance for a disability or learning difficulty, or to cover childcare or residential costs. This can be paid directly to you, your landlord or your childcare provider.

Each college and training provider has their own application process, how much you receive depends on the provider’s scheme and your circumstances. Student Services can help with your application.

In some situations, fund money must be paid back. This is generally if you are a student experiencing a temporary financial difficulty and need a loan, for example for help with your mortgage or rent.

You can apply even if you get other types of funding such as a Professional and Career Development Loan (see below for further information) or Disability Living Allowance. You cannot apply if you are receiving student finance for higher education, are undertaking an apprenticeship training scheme or on a Community Learning Course.

Further information is available on: https://www.gov.uk/learner-support


Course-Specific Grants

City & Guilds offer bursaries to people who study for a City & Guilds qualification in sectors that have huge skills shortages and are extremely valuable sectors for the future of the UK. In order to help employers fill the growing number of jobs in these areas, City & Guilds has decided to only award bursaries in sectors where more skilled workers are required.

The land-based industry has been highlighted as a key sector needing trained, skilled workers and this includes qualifications in agriculture, floristry, environment, countryside and conservation.

Bursaries cover the total cost of studying in the form of a grant, so learners can study for their qualification without worrying about paying anything back. The bursary programme opens three times a year in May, September and January. Anyone aged over 18 can apply, and they must be in genuine financial need, a UK resident wanting to study here and have not started their course yet.

To check eligibility and find out more, further details can be found here: https://cityandguildsfoundation.org/bursaries-funding-for-training/


Learner Support

You can apply for Learner Support from your education provider if you are 19 or over, studying for a further education course and facing financial hardship. This money can go towards childcare, accommodation, travel or course materials and equipment.

Your school or college decides how much you will get, and which scheme you will be put on. It could be a direct payment (which you do not have to pay back), a loan, or if it is for accommodation it will be paid directly to your landlord.

Your local council may offer grants to advance your education. As councils can assign funding to different areas, search for local training providers using the Gov.uk website.


National Skills Fund

The National Skills Fund aims to help adults to gain the valuable skills they need to improve their job prospects and support the economy.

Any adult aged 19 and over, who does not already have a level 3 qualification (equivalent to an advanced technical certificate or diploma, or A levels) or higher, can access hundreds of fully-funded level 3 courses.

This offer is part of the government’s long-term commitment to remove the age constraints and financial barriers for adults looking for their first level 3 qualification.

The below Capel Manor College courses are eligible under the National Skills Fund:

Advanced Technical Diploma in Horticulture (Level 3)

Agriculture (Farm Management) Advanced Diploma (Level 3)

Environmental Conservation and Countryside Management Advanced Extended Certificate (Level 3)

Environmental Conservation and Countryside Management Advanced Diploma (Level 3)

Environmental Conservation and Countryside Management Extended Diploma (Level 3)

Arboriculture (Tree Management) and Forestry Advanced Diploma (Level 3)

Advanced Certificate in Landscape Construction (Level 3)


Professional and Career Development Loan

If you are already in work and just want to further your training, you may be able to get a Professional and Career Development Loan. However, this will largely depend on what course you are looking to complete.

This loan is a bank loan that has to be paid back. You start repaying the loan (plus interest at a reduced rate) one month after leaving your course.

The government pays the interest while you study and for one month after you leave your course. After this time, you start repaying the loan and interest.


Tuition Fee Loans for Higher Education courses

Tuition fee loans cover the cost of your undergraduate course fees, and are paid directly to the university or college.

There is no age limit on eligibility for tuition fee loans, so anyone can apply, providing that they are going to be studying for their first undergraduate degree. Universities and colleges can charge up to £9,250 a year for undergraduate tuition fees to full-time UK and EU students. This amount is set by the governments in each country, and can vary depending on whether you study in or outside your home country.

Depending on where you live, there are different options available, and you will need to apply to different organisations. Students from England can apply for a tuition fee loan wherever they choose to study in the UK.

A means-tested maintenance loan is available to all students who are eligible for student finance. Adult learners can apply for grants and bursaries to help pay for courses and training.

Check the tuition fee costs for your course on the UCAS search tool.



Turn2Us is a national charity for when times are tough. This organisation provides information and financial support to help people get back on track. Their website has a user-friendly search tool that allows the user to filter their individual needs and circumstances to see what grants and other financial support is available in their area for all sorts of things including education.

If you are considering applying to Capel Manor College and would like to find out more about fees and funding for our courses, visit Fees and Funding for more information.

You can speak to our friendly Admissions team who will be happy to assist with any questions you may have via Contact Us or Live Chat.