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Paying for your learning

Our courses are advertised in 3 bands:

Band A – standard fee

This is the standard fee to be paid unless you qualify for a discount and meet the requirements listed in Band B or Band C, or it is a qualification course up to level 2 and you earn less than the amount specified.

Band B – Gold Card holders

Derbyshire Gold Card holders can receive this reduced price for many non-qualification courses. This can be paid if you have a Derbyshire Gold Card but don't receive any of the benefits listed in Band C

Band C – receiving benefits

This can be paid if you receive any of the following benefits:

  • Council Tax Benefit
  • Housing Benefit
  • Employment Support Allowance (WRAG)
  • Employment Support Allowance (Support Group)
  • Jobseekers' Allowance (on courses of no more than 16 hours a week)
  • Working tax credit
  • Pension Credit (except learners awarded a savings credit only)
  • the unwaged dependants (as defined by the Benefits Agency) of those listed

There are other ways in which you may be entitled to a discount. These can be found in our full curriculum fee guidance which is attached to this page.

If you're unsure about the fee you should pay please contact the centre where the course is administered from, or complete the booking support form.

Other costs

For courses that include an exam or accreditation there will be an extra cost to cover this. Check with one of our centres about whether this applies to your course and how much it'll be.

You may also need to pay for materials on some courses.

Don't forget your local library may have books and resources to support you in your learning and it's free to join.

Free qualifications courses

For the 2023 to 2024 academic year, if you're employed and earning less than £20,319 per year, you may be entitled to 'full fee remission', meaning that you can come on the course for free. This applies to qualification courses up to and including level 2 courses.

To confirm eligibility, you need to provide a wage slip dated within 3 months of your learning start date, or current employment contract that states your gross monthly or annual wages. Contact your local adult community education centre for more information.

Free level 3 qualifications for adults

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.

Plus any adult in England earning under the National Living Wage can access these qualifications for free, regardless of their prior qualification level.

Find adult education courses

Free and reduced cost courses

Our free Skills for Life courses help you to improve your reading, writing, maths and communication skills.

Most of our family learning courses are free although you may need to pay for some materials.

All English and maths GCSE courses are free and if you qualify for Band C because you're receiving benefits you won't even have to pay for the exam.

All lip-reading and sign language courses are free to people who have a hearing impairment.

There are several free courses that count towards a first full level 2 or 3 qualification (such as GCSEs and NVQs).

Help with course costs

If you're experiencing financial difficulties you may be able to apply for help with payment of accreditation fees or other course costs. Talk to your local centre about our learner support funds.

Advanced Learner Loans

Advanced Learner Loans are an option for people aged 19 and over to fund their fees for level 3 and level 4 courses in approved colleges and training providers in England.

They're paid directly to the college or training organisation on behalf of an individual. They're not means tested or subject to credit checks and any individual who meets the criteria will be able to apply for a loan regardless of their current employment status.

Courses include:

  • Diploma Children's Learning and Development
  • Diploma Specialist Support Teaching and Learning in Schools
  • Access to Higher Education
  • Certificate Higher Level Teaching Assistant
  • Certificate in Counselling Skills
  • Diploma Children's Learning and Development
  • Social Prescribing

Advanced Learner Loans are available to those aged 19 and over, studying courses from level 3 (A level equivalent) up to level 6.


We do not refund students who withdraw from a course other than in exceptional circumstances. In these instances we must be notified not less than 14 days before the course starts and a £10 administration charge may be applied.

Transfer between courses may be possible at our discretion and we may charge the £10 administration fee.

Our course fees are based on a minimum number of learners. If we do not reach this level of participants we may cancel a course or ask students to pay extra to enable the course to run. If we're unable to run a course under these circumstances, we'll refund learner fees, or offer a free transfer to another suitable course.

We cannot give refunds for student holidays.