If you are over 16 you could consider enrolling at a further education college on either a full-time or part-time basis. You will find useful information here about going to further education colleges.
Further education colleges offer a range of academic, vocational and leisure courses to suit your needs. You may have the option to attend full or part time as well as day or evening classes, depending on the course you choose.
Most academic and vocational courses begin in September, but short-term and part-time courses may commence at different times of the year. You can apply online or by post. Application procedures should be checked directly with the college you are interested in, particularly the entry requirements and closing date for applications.
Where to study and courses available
If you want to know where your nearest FE College is and what you can study:
Support for people with disabilities
Find out about the support available at colleges for people with disabilities.
If you are aged under 19 years on 1 July and starting a course in September of that year then all full-time further education courses are free.
If you are aged over 19 years on 1 July and starting a course in September of that year and on a vocational full-time course up to level 3 there are no tuition fees. The course must be to help improve work-related skills or to develop new vocational skills. Academic courses (A-Levels for example) are not included.
Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA)
The Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) is a means-tested fortnightly payment to help with the costs of continuing in education if you are aged between 16 and 19. For more information about eligibility and to obtain an application pack, contact your college or view the following page:
Further Education awards
Further Education Awards may be available to students who are required to pay fees and need assistance with this. You can obtain an application pack from your college.
The Western Education and Library Board (WELB) are responsible for the administration of Further Education awards on behalf of the five education and library boards. Their website contains information relating specifically to these awards.
Most further education colleges provide a Hardship Fund for students experiencing significant financial difficulties. Conditions apply so you should contact your college directly for advice.
Care to learn
If you’re a parent aged 16, 17 or 18 and studying at a further education college, the Care to Learn scheme could help towards your childcare costs. You can apply for assistance in advance if you expect to become a parent during your course. Contact your local college for more information.
Career Development Loan
You may be eligible for a Career Development Loan (CDL). This is a deferred repayment bank loan to help you pay for vocational education or training. To check if you are eligible for a CDL, view:
- Professional and Career Development Loans (GOV.UK website)
- telephone 0800 585 505