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Female learner taking notes representing free courses from Northumberland Skills

Free courses

We are committed to making learning as accessible as possible for young people and adults.

Courses that can be accessed for free are clearly labelled in our course guides, which you can download here. For details of eligibility criteria, see further information below.

Who can study for free?

Some learners can study for free. This section explains which learners are entitled to free study and the criteria that apply. 

If you have any further questions about financing your studies, call 01670 622 105 or email the finance team by clicking here or on the button below.


Learners who are entitled to study for free (fee remission) are:

Those aged 16-18 years who are:

  • Studying a full time study programme at pre-entry or Entry Level, or at Levels 1, 2 or 3

Those aged 19 years+ who are:

  • Studying English or maths up to level 2, including studying GCSE, where you do not currently have grades A* to C or grades 4-9 passes

Those aged 19-23 years who are​:

  • Undertaking a Traineeship

The unemployed who are studying up to and including Level 2, and one of the following applies:

  • Studying up to and including Level 1 and have not yet achieved above Level 1,  or you receive Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA), including those receiving National Insurance credits only

  • Studying first full Level 2 qualification (and the qualification must be part of the legal entitlement), or you receive Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) in the Work Related Activity Group (WRAG)

  • Studying first full Level 3 qualification (and the qualification must be part of the legal entitlement), or you receive Universal Credit, and earned income from employment is less than £338 a month (sole adult in your claim) or £541 a month (joint claim with partner)


Armed Forces: 

If you have left the British Armed Forces within the last ten years after completing four or more years of service, or have been medically discharged after completing basic training, you are entitled to full funding if you’re studying your first full Level 2 or 3 qualification.

Low Wage Flexibility:
You may qualify for full fee remission if you are employed but earning an annual gross salary of less than £23,400. You will need to provide a recent wage slip, Universal Credit statement, or current employment contract that states your gross monthly/ annual wages. You can be learning up to and including Level 2 qualifications that demonstrate progression to improved employment outcomes.

If you are enrolling by telephone, we’ll need to see evidence of your benefit before the course starts. If you are enrolling in person, we’ll need to see your evidence when you enrol. 

If you have any questions about funding finance or fees please contact Gemma Lee, Finance and Learning Loans Officer on 01670 622 105

Advanced Learning Loans

If you are aged 19 years or over and want to study Level 3 or 4 courses, you will need to pay for the learning or apply for an advanced learning loan from the Student Loans Company.

  • Learning loans are available for; level three or four certificates or diplomas,
    A Levels, Access to Higher Education courses, advanced and higher apprenticeships.

  • Household income isn’t taken into account and there’s no credit check.

  • Loans are for a minimum of £300, and you will need to borrow enough to cover the cost of the course.

  • You won’t have to pay anything back until you’ve completed your course and your income is more than £21,000 a year.

  • If your advanced learning loan is for an access to higher education programme and you go on to graduate from university, you won’t have to pay it back.


We know learning can be expensive, so this is a great way to make learning affordable and spread the cost of your payments after you qualify.

Click here for more information and the online application form


The sooner you apply, the sooner you’ll know if you’ve been successful and we can confirm your place on the course. 

If you have any questions about funding, finance or fees please contact Gemma Lee, Finance and Learning Loans Officer by calling 01670 622 105 or by email at

Explore all courses

Explore our wide range of courses by downloading a full or part-time prospectus.


Many of our courses are free (eligibility criteria apply) and designed to help your confidence and prospects.

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