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Free Courses Available*

Are You Eligible For a Free Course?

If you’re on a low income, your course could be free. Make the most of this great opportunity – contact us to see if you are eligible.

Can you afford to miss out?

The Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) has introduced an earnings threshold as part of new eligibility criteria that enable learners to be fully funded if they earn below £25,000.

From August 1st 2024 we can fully fund learners who are unemployed, employed or self-employed, if they earn below £25,000 annual gross salary.

For more information, visit and search for Adult Skills Fund.

*PLEASE NOTE: This initiative does not apply to all courses, so please get in touch to find out if the course in which you’re interested is included. You’ll be required to provide evidence of your low earnings if you’re claiming full funding through this initiative and we will assess your eligibility.

Coming September 2025 – Transformation to the post-18 funding system through the Lifelong Learning Entitlement (LLE)

The Lifelong Learning Entitlement (LLE) will transform the post-18 student finance system in England. From September 2025, it will create a single funding system to help people pay for college or university courses, and train, retrain and upskill flexibly over their working lives.

The LLE will allow people to develop new skills and gain new qualifications at a time that is right for them. This could be through a full-time degree, or individual modules, or other courses such as Higher Technical Qualifications.

From the 2025 to 2026 academic year, the LLE loan will be available for:

  • full courses at level 4,5 and 6 such as a degree or technical qualifications
  • modules of high-value technical courses at level 4 to 5

Under the LLE, eligible learners will be able to access:

  • a tuition fees loan, with new learners able to access up to the full entitlement of £37,000, equal to 4 years of study in today’s fees
  • a maintenance loan to cover living costs

Targeted maintenance grants will also be available for some groups such as learners with disabilities, or for support with childcare. An additional entitlement may be available in certain cases – for example, for some priority subjects or longer courses such as medicine. Learners will be able to see their loan balance through their own LLE personal account. This will help them make choices about the courses and learning pathways available.

Learn more about the changes here: Lifelong Learning Entitlement overview – GOV.UK (

The Student Support Fund is available to students aged 19+ who are enrolled on further education courses, either full-time or part-time, and who meet the eligibility criteria. Funding is not available for students on apprenticeships, higher education or full-cost courses where other funding rules may apply. You must also meet the residency criteria.

Eligible students are entitled to payments for travel to and from college, stationery, PPE, Uniform, essential books, UCAS application fee and travel for University interviews. The College will, wherever possible, make these payments on your behalf.

The Student Support Fund for 19+ learners is finite and is not an entitlement. Students who are eligible may also include those who:

  • Are in receipt of or are dependent on someone who is in receipt of Universal Credit
  • Are in receipt of or are dependent on someone who is in receipt of Income support
  • Are in receipt of or are dependent on someone who is in receipt of Job Seekers Allowance (JSA)
  • Are in receipt of or are dependent on someone who is in receipt of Employment Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Are in receipt of or are dependent on someone who is in receipt of the guarantee element of State Pension Credit
  • Are receiving support under part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • Living in a household that has an income of less than £25,500 net

Key information about the Student Support Fund

  • The Student Support Fund is awarded on a first-come, first served basis.
  • Funding must be used to help pay for course-related costs, such as equipment, trips, childcare, books and travel.
  • Each application is considered individually and assessed against the eligibility criteria. Should you wish to appeal if your application is not supported, you can appeal in writing to the Head of Student Support Services, Derby College, Roundhouse Road, Pride Park, Derby, DE24 8JE.
  • There are robust measures in place to manage the risk of fraud. Photocopies of documentation will be required as proof when you are applying for funding support
  • The College reserves the right to withhold payments if you withdraw early from your course, whatever the reason.
  • Students are required to meet specific levels of attendance (85%) and behaviour. Support may be withdrawn if you do not meet these criteria.
  • Where an award is to be paid into a bank account, this must be your bank account. This is a national Learner Support Fund rule to ensure that there is no conflict with the benefit agencies.

How do I apply for the Student Support Fund?

If you’re looking to start a full-time or part-time further education course with us from September and think that you may be eligible for one of the bursaries you can apply after 25th August 2022, as soon as you are enrolled, via your InTouch account.

If you need to ask any questions you can contact the Student Support Fund team.
By phone on 0800 028 0289
Or by email on

Advanced Learner Loans

Qualify now, pay later … with an Advanced Learner Loan If you’re 19 or older, you can apply for a loan to help with the costs of a Derby College course.

If you are aged 19 or over, you could now qualify for a new type of loan to help pay for your tuition fees as you prepare for your next step up the career ladder.

If you are under the age of 19 you are entitled to free tuition, and you will not have any exam fees. For most people between the age of 19 and 23 your tuition and exam fees will also be free – depending on your previous qualifications and financial circumstances.

One option for people 19 or over who do have to pay course fees is to take out an Advanced Learner Loan. The loans are easy to apply for, your household income and employment status are not taken into account and there are no credit checks.

Please note – the fees for the Advanced Learner Loan are subject to confirmation and could change.


What courses are the loans available for?

Loans can be used to pay for academic, vocational, technical and professional qualifications at Levels 3, 4, 5 and 6. This includes A Levels and Access to Higher Education courses.

How do the loans work?

Loans work in a similar way to the current higher education student loans systems. You will apply for the loan via the Student Loans Company and the payment will then be made directly to the College. Provided your loan is approved before you enrol there will be no upfront cost to you. You take the loan out at the start of your course, but you will only start repaying the April after your course has finished and when your earnings reach £21,000.

How much are the loans for?

For all eligible courses, the loan will be for up to 100% of the cost of your training, including course and material fees. The minimum value of loan you can apply for is £300.

How many loans can I get?

You can have a maximum of four Advanced Learner Loans, only one of which can be for an Access to HE course. For A levels you can apply for a loan to fund each course you take towards you’re a levels up to a maximum of 4 A levels. This means you can have up to 8 loans at once if you are taking A level as 2 separate courses. The courses must be in the same subject to qualify for a full A level in this respect

Do I need to apply for a loan for each year I am studying?

No – it is ‘one course, one loan’. You will apply for a single loan to cover the whole length of your course so you don’t need to reapply each year.

How do I apply?

You will need to have an interview with a member of Derby College Group staff for the course to which you are applying. At that point, you will be given details of how to apply online via Student Finance England.

What will I have to repay and when?

You will not have to repay until after you have completed your course and until your gross earnings reach £21,000 or more. The repayments will be deducted automatically from your earnings through the tax system – starting the April after you have completed your course and not before April 2018. Repayments will be fixed at 9% of your salary above the £21,000 threshold, no matter what the loan balance is. So, if you earn £25,000 a year, your loan repayments would be around £360 a year or £30 a month. Repayments are linked to your earnings rather than your loan amount: regardless of how much you owe, the payments will be the same. Interest is charged from the date you start your course at rates between the Retail Price Index (RPI) and RPI + 3% dependent on your level of earnings and stage of your loan. This interest will be added to the original value of your loan and will continue to accrue until you have either paid off the total value you owe, or the loan is written off. (Write-off occurs 30 years after you make your first loan repayment if the loan is not already repaid).

What if I do not finish my course?

If you decide not to finish your course, you will still need to repay the loan provided for the number of months you were on your course.

What happens if I do not already have an approved loan in place when I come to enrol/start my course?

Don’t worry if you do not have an approved loan in place when you enrol/start your course. We can help you apply and, in the meantime, a 20% deposit and completed direct debit form will secure you place on the course. Then as soon as your loan is approved, we will return your deposit and cancel the direct debit.

What support is available?

There is additional support for those taking Access courses designed to help adult learners progress into higher education. If you take out an Advanced Learner Loan to pay fees for an Access to Higher Education course, the Student Loans Company will write off the amount outstanding on the loan once you complete your higher education course. There is also a national bursary fund to help individuals with learning difficulties or disabilities, parents who need help with childcare, and ex-military personnel.


The Advanced Learner Loan Bursary Fund may help you meet the associated costs of coming to College, such as childcare and travel. You will need to meet the funding eligibility criteria and have a loan approved by the Student Loans Company.

Find further information on Advanced Learner Loan

Or contact our Student Support Fund Team:
Phone: 0800 028 0289


We’re committed to helping you overcome any financial barriers which might prevent you from accessing the exceptional educational opportunities on offer at DCG.

You’ll find full information about the tuition fees for each programme on our website. Remember that:

  • if you are studying at Level 3 or higher, you may be eligible for an Advanced Learner Loan
  • if you are taking a higher education programme, you can apply for a loan from the Student Loans Company

Find full details about student finance on the website.

For more information contact:
Tel: 0800 028 0289


As a higher education student in England, you can apply for the Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA) if you have a disability (as defined under the Equality Act 2010), long-term health condition, mental health condition or specific learning difficulty such as dyslexia. The support depends on your individual needs and not on your income. The Disabled Students’ Allowance pays for extra support to help you make the most of your studies. This could be payment for study skills support, such as dedicated support for dyslexia, or for specialist equipment such as electronic note-taking software. The application process for the DSA can take up to 14 weeks. Find out more on the website about disabled students allowance.

Or email our HE Inclusion team on

Higher Education – Student Loans

Studying a university level course at Derby College is considerably less expensive than most other options. Our fees compare favourably with university tuition fees and because you have the convenience of studying locally, you won’t face the same level of costs for accommodation and transport.

You could be eligible for a student loan for your higher education course, check with the Student Loan Company on the website.

Part-time Adult Courses

UK students aged 19 and over will need to pay tuition fees as well as the relevant registration and exam fees.

Fees Explained

There’s no doubt that Derby College is a great place to study. But, in order to keep providing excellent facilities and teaching, we need to charge fees to someone – and that might be you!

Of course, even if you do have to contribute towards your fees, education is one of the best investments you can make. The better qualified you are, the greater your chances of getting a job – or getting a better paid job. And here at Derby College Group, we’re good at getting you qualified.

By and large, courses are free to all learners aged 16-18 – meaning that we don’t charge any fees for tuition or awarding body fees (exam costs).

Course fees

With the exception of Advanced Learner Loans, if you are studying for a two-year qualification, you will need to pay the fees quoted for your courses each year.

Tuition – this figure is the fee to be paid if you are not entitled to any concessions.

Co-tuition – this figure is the fee to be paid if you are entitled to any partial concessions.

Exam – this fee is to cover the cost of registration with the relevant awarding body.

Payment of fees

All fees must be paid IN FULL before the start of the course, unless alternative arrangements have been approved. Generally, fees are shown for the current year only, with courses running over two or more years attracting fees at the beginning of each year. The exception to this is Advanced Learner Loan fees, which cover the full cost of the course. Payment is accepted via cash, cheque payable to Derby College or by credit/ debit card. Learners aged 19 years and over who are studying for a qualification at Level 3 and above may be eligible for an Advanced Learner Loan – see our Advanced Learner Loan page

Payment by instalments

To assist with the payment of fees, we also offer instalment facilities payable by direct debit for courses, under the following conditions:

  • Course length is at least 12 weeks. Fees over £200 will qualify for a direct debit payment:
  1. – 20% of the course fees payable at enrolment.
  2. – Balance payable in equal instalments on the 5th day of each month after enrolment, in equal instalments, with all amounts being paid within one month of course completion.
  • The following evidence is required, one from each section:
  1. – Section A: Photo ID
  2. – Passport, driving licence or prior year’s Derby College Learner ID card.
  3. – Section B: Address confirmation: utility bill, bank statement, mobile phone bill etc.
  • Please note that the person who signs the direct debit MUST be the account holder. If a parent/carer/ employer is paying by this method, they will need to be present to complete the form and provide documentary evidence as above.
  • If at any time a direct debit instruction is denied, you will remain liable for the remainder of the fees and may be removed from the course.
  • Due to residency requirements, overseas learners must pay in full on or before enrolment.

Refunds – tuition/exam fees

  • Tuition and exam fees will be refunded in full where the College has cancelled the course.
  • If a learner withdraws voluntarily or has been excluded, no refund will be made and any outstanding fees will be collected.
  • In exceptional circumstances refunds will be considered on an individual basis. The learner is required to inform us of the circumstances by writing to the following address: – Finance Department, Derby College, The Roundhouse, Roundhouse Road, Pride Park, Derby DE24 8JE –

Sponsored learners

Where fees are being paid by a sponsor such as an employer, learners are required to bring either:

  • a signed sponsor letter detailing that the sponsor will meet the full cost of the course, including examination and registration fees, or a purchase order detailing the name of the learner and the course undertaken.
  • If the subsequent invoice is not paid, the learner will remain liable for the course fees.

Advanced Learner Loans

If you are aged 19 or over and you want to study on a Level 3 course or above, you may be able to apply for a Advanced Learner Loan. This is the fee that would need to be paid or financed by a successful application for a learner loan.

Course Information

The College reserves the right to withdraw courses. If this affects you, we will offer you a suitable alternative

Higher Education Course Fees

Choosing to study a higher education programme is a real investment in your future, leading to better career prospects and greater earning potential. We will provide all the advice and support you need to overcome any financial concerns you may have.


Higher education fees with Derby College Group are relatively modest – usually £6,000 to £7,500 for a full-time programme and £3,000 to £4,500 for a part-time programme. Studying locally also means you will not face significant accommodation and transport costs.


You can pay for your higher education programme through:

  • a direct payment to us – If you are paying for your course yourself then you will need to bring your bank details or a credit card to enrolment. Instalment plans may be available, and it is advised you talk to Student Services about this.
  • sponsorship from an employer – If you are being sponsored by an employer, you will need to bring a letter to this effect to enrolment. You can provide the letter before this if you wish by sending it addressed to Student Services, Derby College Ilkeston Campus, 2 Pimlico, Ilkeston, Derbyshire, DE7 5JS.
  • a student loan – You could be eligible for a student loan for your higher education course, check with the Student Loan Company on the website.

For more information about HE Fees, please contact our HE Admissions team on: 01332 387496 or email: