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Photograph of an adult learner at one of The Manchester College's campus'

Adult Education in Manchester: A Guide to Funding Options

How much does it cost for adults to go to college?

Is going back to college affordable for adults in Manchester? 

With the rising cost of living, it’s understandable that some adults may feel concerned about the cost of college courses. However, there is a range of funding for adults who want to return to education. Depending on which funding you’re eligible for, your tuition could cost you nothing.

Perhaps because of this, enrolments from adult learners (people aged 19 and over) are increasing. Many adults are returning to education to learn new skills, further their existing careers or embark on a new one.

Adult learners may also be eligible for further financial support. This support depends on where you live, what course you’re applying for and your personal circumstances.

What college funding is available for adults?

There are a range of funding options that could significantly reduce course costs for adult learners. For some, this funding could result in a free college education! 

Adult learners may be eligible for the following funding options:

The Greater Manchester Skills Fund

The Greater Manchester Skills Fund can help adults access qualifications regardless of age or financial circumstance. 

The Manchester College offers a range of free courses for learners who meet all the following requirements:

  • They must be enrolling on their first or second Level 3 qualification.
  • They must be 19 or over.

We’ve carefully selected these courses to help adult learners improve their job prospects. These courses provide adult learners with in-demand skills across a range of growing industries in the region.

Free Courses for Jobs Fund

Adult learners may also study for free as part of the Free Courses for Jobs fund. The Manchester College offers a range of free courses for learners who meet all the following requirements:

  • Learners must be 19 or over.
  • They are seeking to achieve their first Level 3 qualification or earn less than £18,525 each year.

Access to Industry Award

Adult learners under 23 could receive funding through The Manchester College’s Access to Industry Award. If you are eligible for this award, it will cover the cost of some, or all, of your first full Level 3 qualification. 

Advanced Learner Loan

Adult learners can also apply for the UK government’s Advanced Learner Loan, which can fund some or all of their tuition fees. Learners may be eligible if they meet all the following requirements:

  • The learner must be over 19.
  • They must be studying a Level 3 or Level 4 course. This includes Access to Higher Education diplomas, and some other certificates and diplomas.
  • They must have been a resident in the UK for the last three years.

Learners can also apply if they are a member of the UK armed forces serving outside of England and studying distance learning.

Other funding options

If you claim Job Seekers Allowance, Income Support, Employment Support Allowance or Universal Credit, there may be additional ways to pay for your education.  

With so many funding options, it can be difficult to know what pathway will fit your needs. If you have questions about funding your education, our careers, employability and welfare team can help.

What other financial support is available for adults?

Adult learners sometimes face additional financial obstacles that can make further education challenging. 

Support for childcare costs while you study

One of these obstacles for many adult learners is childcare. Paying for childcare while you study can be expensive and may deter parents and caregivers from pursuing further education. 

However, the Access to Industry Award can significantly decrease the cost of childcare for adult learners of any age. 

Travel funding support

The cost of travel can also make adult education challenging. The Manchester College offers the TMC Go travel award, which reduces the cost of getting to and from campus. It can also make it easier to explore Greater Manchester. 

Can you afford to return to education?

Starting the next chapter in your career can be overwhelming, but with so many options for finance and funding, it might not be as costly as you think. Returning to education is a big decision, but finances and tuition fees shouldn’t be a barrier to learning as an adult. 

Now that you know how affordable college can be, why not explore our adult courses at The Manchester College and plan the next chapter in your career?