Distance Learning Funding

A fee is payable for those enrolling on a distance learning course.

There are various forms of funding available to students undertaking a distance learning course at North East Scotland College. However, a lot of the information on offer will depend on your individual situation.

Types of funding

The type of funding you may be entitled to will depend upon the level of course you are studying. If you’re not sure which level applies to you, visit our courses explained page.

Non-advanced level courses

If you are studying a non-advanced  (below HNC level) distance learning course you may be entitled to the following funding options.

Advanced level courses

If you are studying an advanced (HNC level or above) distance learning course you may be entitled to the following funding options.


Non-advanced level courses

Remission of Fees

Remission of fees, or fee waiver, may be available to students on non-advanced or advanced part-time and distance learning courses.

Students undertaking more than one part-time or distance learning course within the same College year, who wish to use fee waiver entitlement, may be subject to a limit on the number of courses they book on.


Your course may be free if any of the following apply to you and you are not a current full-time student at North East Scotland College:

You are in receipt of the following benefits:

  • Attendance Allowance
  • Carers’ Allowance, Carers’ Allowance Supplement or Young Carer’s Grant
  • Contributory Employment & Support Allowance
  • Disability Living Allowance
  • Incapacity Benefit
  • Personal Independence Payment.

You are Care-Experienced

You are an asylum seeker living in Scotland

You or your family is in receipt of any of the following benefits:

  • Housing Benefit
  • Income Based Job Seekers’ Allowance
  • Income Related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Income Support
  • Pensions Credit
  • Universal Credit
  • Working Tax Credit

Additionally, you may be entitled to remission of fees if the taxable income of the student’s family in the previous tax year is equivalent to or lower than the threshold below:

  • Households with only one person: £8,282
  • Households consisting of a couple without children:£12,395
  • Households with dependent children: £18,977
  • Where there has been a material reduction in income from the previous year, the taxable income of the household in the current year can be assessed


Please note that it is the responsibility of the student to provide evidence of their fee waiver entitlement.

If you are eligible in any of the categories please download and complete the Waiver 1 Form along with a Distance Learning Booking Form and submit these to the College with current evidence of your eligibility.

Evidence must be dated within the last four weeks of the date you book onto the course and clearly show your name, address and the benefit you are in receipt of.

For income based remission of fees, the burden of proof is on the student to satisfy the College with evidence of their family’s income in the previous tax year.


Advanced level courses

SDS Individual Training Accounts (ITAs)

The Individual Training Account (ITA) from Skills Development Scotland (SDS) provides funding of up to £200 which you may redeem against a single course in a 12 month period.

Additional Course Fees

SQA Higher National Units, Certificates and Diplomas (HNCs and HNDs)

All students registering for these courses must pay the appropriate SQA administration fees in addition to the course fee. Students setting out with the intention of achieving a full HNC or HND Group Award must pay the full HNC or HND Group Award Fee in addition to the course fee at the time of booking. Students will receive a Group Award Certificate on completion of all required Units. The current cost of the SQA HNC Group Award fee is £114.25 and SQA HND Group Award fee is £137.50.

Students undertaking individual HN Units which do not form a Group Award (i.e. on a stand–alone basis) must pay the HN Unit fee per unit undertaken in addition to the course fee at the time of booking. The current cost of the SQA Unit fee is £14.00.

ECDL Costs

We can register candidates in the following ways:

  • Full 7 module ECDL – at a cost of £30 or
  • ECDL Essentials (modules 1, 2 and 7) – at a cost of £30 or
  • ECDL Extra (modules 3, 4, 5 and 6) – at a cost of £45

If you know you intend to complete the full ECDL qualification with all 7 modules, it makes financial sense to pay for the full registration at the start at a cost of only £30. You must then pass all 7 modules to gain the full award.

Registration for the ECDL Essentials (modules 1, 2 and 7) costs £30 and you will receive an ECDL Essentials certificate upon completion.

Registration for the ECDL Extra qualification costs £45.  This is appropriate if you intend to solely undertake modules 3, 4, 5 and 6.  Upon completion you will receive a certificate for the ECDL Extra qualification.

If, following completion of the Extra and Essentials qualifications, you would like the full ECDL qualification, then you must register and pay a further £30.

Payment can be made by cash, cheque or card at:

Assessment Centre Office
Room LG10, Tower Block,
Aberdeen City Campus
Aberdeen, AB25 1BN

Debit/credit card payments can be made by telephoning 01224 612237.

You may be eligible for ITA funding if you are:

  • Aged 16 or over
  • Not in education or involved in any other SDS funded programme
  • Unemployed and looking to get back into work
  • Employed and earning less than £22,000 per year
  • Resident in Scotland

ITA is not available for all courses. To find out which courses at NESCol are eligible check the SDS website.

NESCol is an ITA approved provider and you will be able to find and apply for an ITA approved course by visiting SDS’ My World of Work website.

Residential criteria

Fee rates quoted on this site and in our Part-Time Guide do not apply in the case of any individual who does not meet residential criteria relating to ‘home status’.

The basic criteria are that the individual must be ordinarily resident in the UK or EEA for the past three years, having no restrictions on the right to stay in the UK. Any applicant unable to fulfil these criteria should state this at the time of booking so they can pay the non-subsidised fee rate that applies in these cases.

Applicants who are not entitled to pay ‘home’ fee rates are advised that they must pay the overseas fee rate to be entitled to take up a place on the course. The conditions relating to residence are complex. If you have any questions regarding this, please call or visit your local Student Advice Centre or email studentadvice@nescol.ac.uk.


The Scottish Government has announced free tuition for eligible students from the EU, EEA and Switzerland who choose to start studying in Scotland in the 2019-20 and 2020-21 academic years. For more information visit the SAAS website.