Fees Policy

This page outlines the fee policy for Adult Community Learning (ACL) Essex for the 2020-21 academic year. You can view the explanation of the terms and acronyms used, at the bottom page.

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Courses which lead to a qualification (Accredited Learning)

  1. Learners who are eligible for full funding from the ESFA will not be charged a fee for any aspect of the course, including exams, resources or awarding organisation registration and fees. In this scenario ACL will draw down 100% of the fee allocation as set by the ESFA. Full eligibility criteria is available on request.
  2. Learners who are eligible for co-funding as specified by the ESFA will be funded at a rate of 50% with a maximum of the other 50% being paid by the learner or employer.   At the discretion of ACL, some courses may be charged at less than 50% for the learner.

Learners who qualify for no funding will pay 100% of the fee as set by the ESFA. In this instance ACL draws down no funding from the ESFA – the learners pay for the full fee but may qualify for an Advanced Learner Loan depending on the course undertaken.

Accredited courses that are not eligible for any funding such as, for example, First Aid, will be charged a course fee from £6.70 per hour plus the cost of qualification accreditation (exam fees) We reserve the right to amend fees to reflect market rates on courses that are not eligible for funding.

ACL will continue to offer a limited financial assistance from a Discretionary Learning Support Fund (for those aged 19+) to assist with cases of hardship related to, for example, childcare (for those aged 20+) and transport, according to SFA regulations.


No fee is charged to learners undertaking an apprenticeship. Employer contributions will be charged in line with ESFA guidance and the levy/non levy government policy taking into account market rates.Levy paying employers are those with an annual payroll greater than £3m. Such employers pay a government levy of 0.5% of their annual payroll. This money is used to support their own apprenticeship schemes.

Non-levy employers are all those employers who have annual payroll costs below £3m. They are not subject to government levy contributions but are encouraged to take on apprenticeships which are predominately funded by government funds.

Accredited courses (those leading to a qualification) at Level 3 and above.

Fees will be set at funding rates advised by the ESFA. We reserve the right to set some fees lower than advised rates to take into account local market conditions. Learners may wish to take out a Government provided Advanced Learner Loan.


Those eligible for traineeships (16-24 year olds) will be fully funded and not charged a fee.

Supported Learning

  • • Made up of small discrete classes for adults with learning disabilities which lead to the achievement of personal goals.
  • • Provision also includes courses for learners with specific difficulties including mental ill-health, stroke and head injury, sensory and physical impairments.
  • • Provision is delivered in main centres, outreach accommodation including day centres, care homes and secure hospitals.

a. The non-accredited supported learning fee rate is £3.20 per hour

b. Non EU and non-eligible learners will pay £8.75 per hour

Family Learning

Courses that you the opportunity to learn together to build strong relationships, develop new skills and raise aspirations for all the family. The courses available include English, English for speakers of other languages, maths, steps into pre-school & nursery, school readiness, steps into secondary school, online safety, understanding children and managing behaviour. All classes are free.

All learning is fully funded and is run in partnership with your local school or childcare provider.

Courses which do not lead to a qualification (Non-accredited Learning)

a. The standard fee rate per hour is £6.10

b. The benefit rate is 50% of the standard rate i.e. £3.05 per hour

c. Non-EU and non-eligible learners will pay £8.75 per hour

ACL reserves the right to use a formula-funded approach where applicable in accordance with ESFA guidance.

Up to 1,500 enrolments will be allocated for social prescription on courses of up to £100.00.

A non-accredited and supported learning bursary fund of £10,000 in total will be made available to distribute to learners to assist with learning resources, childcare and travel in cases of exceptional financial hardship.

Full cost classes

Full cost programmes are not government funded and will be charged at an hourly rate of between £8.75 and £10.50.  We reserve the right to amend fees to reflect market rates. There is no concessionary fee on full cost classes.  Minimum numbers of learners on courses will apply to ensure these courses remain financially viable.

Inclusive rates are available for groups of learners who wish to undertake the same full cost course. The inclusive group fee is £100 an hour and is not subject to class size. This inclusive fee includes refreshments and biscuits.

Discounts and incentives on non-accredited courses (no concessions)

At the discretion of the Principal ACL, specific and targeted discounts or incentives may be agreed and marketed throughout the year.

Bespoke courses for employers and businesses

Bespoke courses for employers, businesses and charities offered by ACL will be costed and charged from £100 per hour per cohort of learners. Accreditation costs (exam fees) are not included. Refreshments and lunch can be arranged at an additional cost.

Online courses

a. Maths and English online courses are fully funded (subject to accredited course/AEB funding eligibility)

b. One hour promotional courses (eg languages) leading to an ACL course are free of charge.

c. A fee of £6.75 per hour will be charged for all other online courses.

Accreditation costs (eg exam fees) are not included.

Pound Plus

Pound Plus refers to the generation of additional income over and above the core grant funding providers receive from the Education & Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) through the Adult Education Budget. Pound Plus describes how learning providers demonstrate that they are maximising the value of the public investment into adult education. This can be achieved by either generating additional income or greater efficiency of educational delivery by providing access to learning to more individuals at no extra cost.

In addition to core grant funding ACL Essex generates additional income or cost saving in the following ways.

  • By charging a tuition fee with concessions for those on low income or benefits.
  • Working with other partners on specific areas of provision or within specific geographical locations to ensure that learning reaches those with the greatest need.
  • Use of volunteers.
  • Additional income from educational activities working with external partners.
  • Non-grant funded full cost courses.
  • The social and economic benefits that accrue in communities from social inclusion, reduction in social isolation and improvement in workforce skills at all levels of academic ability. Research indicates that every £1 spent on adult education generates and additional social and economic benefit of between £2.50 and £3.70 to the local community.
  • Efficient and effective curriculum planning to ensure maximum impact from the learning being delivered.
  • Commercial income from rents and lettings.
  • Use of blended and distance learning to provide access to learning for those unable to attend an ACL centre.

Pro rata payments

Pro rata payments are not available for ACL courses.  The only exception for pro rata payments is for courses which are 15 weeks or longer and the learner has had a serious illness for 3 or more weeks (evidence will be required).

Direct Debits

Direct debits are available on courses with a fee of £100 and above. Learners must complete a Direct Debit Mandate and pay the 35% deposit at the time of enrolment.  The balance is paid on a monthly basis by direct debit over the duration of the course.  The number of instalments depends on the length of the course.


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Annex A – Explanation of terms and acronyms

Tuition Fee Types

There are three different fee types; fully funded, co-funded and self-funded. Fully-funded and co-funded tuition fees apply to a learner who meets the ESFA’s eligibility criteria for funding of the particular course. Where either the learner does not meet these eligibility criteria or the course is self-funded (where no public subsidy is applicable) the self-funded fee applies.

Fully-Funded Fees

Where a learner meets the criteria to have their course fully-funded by the Government no fee will be charged for tuition, examinations, registration or anything else that is necessary for the learner to achieve their course, though ACL reserves the right to charge a learner for any extracurricular activities or for materials and services that are not specifically required in order for them to achieve this.  Full eligibility criteria is available on request.

Co-Funded Fees

Where a learner meets the criteria to have their course co-funded by the Government a co-funded fee will be charged at the beginning of their course. This fee will include:

  • Tuition Fees for all programme elements
  • Registration, Examination and Assessment Fees where applicable
  • Additional consumables and protective clothing fees may be payable as a requirement of the course (Ancillary fees)

Concessionary Co-funded Fee

Where a learner is in receipt of any of the following means-tested benefits they will be entitled to pay a reduced concessionary co-funded fee upon presentation of documentary evidence where a fully funded fee in unavailable:

  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Income Support
  • Pension Credit
  • Working Tax Credit (earnings below specified limit)
  • Council Tax support
  • Universal Credit

Self-Funded Fees

Where either a learner does not meet the criteria to have their course funded by the Government or the course is being run on a purely commercial basis a self-funded fee will be charged at the beginning of the course. This fee will include:

  • Tuition Fees for all programme elements
  • Registration, Examination and Assessment Fees where applicable
  • Additional consumables and protective clothing fees may be payable as a requirement of the course (Ancillary fees)

Advanced Learning Loans

Where a 19+ learner subject to a self-funded fee enrols on an accredited course (ie one leading to a qualification) at level 3 or above they may have the option of an Advanced Learning Loan to cover the immediate cost of the applicable fee.

Further information on eligibility and application process is available from the ACL Essex website or a member of the enrolment staff either in person or by telephone or email.


These are government funded courses to help prepare for undertaking an apprenticeship. They are available without cost to the learner for aged between 16 and 24 year old. For details of who is eligible for a traineeship is available from the ACL website or by telephoning the ACL booking number.


This is the Educational Skills Funding Agency and is the organisation responsible for administering the distribution of Government funding of Further Education.


The Adult Education Budget is the generic name given to the funding grants distributed by the ESFA to further education institutions such as ACL.

Social prescription

Social prescribing is linking patients using health services with sources of support within the community such as learning organisations. It provides GPs and other health care providers with a non-medical referral option that can operate alongside existing treatments to improve health and wellbeing.