Publicly Funded Further Education/Higher Education (PF FE/HE)


The Publicly Funded Further Education/Higher Education scheme provides Service Leavers and Service Personnel in their qualifying resettlement phase with access to a first full Level three (GCE A level or vocational equivalent), or a first higher education qualification (a foundation degree or a first undergraduate degree or equivalent) free from tuition fees. 

MOD and the relevant national education authority in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland pay for the tuition fees in full rather than the individual making a contribution towards the cost.

Before making an application, Service Leavers are advised to first check the national position on existing support with the relevant national education authority (e.g. in England BIS or SFA). There may already be existing ‘free’ provision by another route e.g. those aged 25 years or under are already entitled to a first level 3 in England; free entitlement for all who fulfil the residency requirements on degree/HND level courses in Scotland; Welsh residents also attract some support for FE and HE provision. It makes sense for SL to explore alternative routes before considering support and access through the ELC ‘top up’ scheme,  but there are safety measures in place to prevent any possibility of double funding.


Eligibility Rules

In order to take advantage of the support claimants must:

•      Must have previously joined the Enhanced Learning Credit (ELC) scheme and have completed six years eligible service (four years qualifying service prior to the 1st April 2017).

•      Only apply for a first eligible FE/HE qualification at the level for which they are academically qualified to enter learning on leaving the Service.

•      Have left the Service or entered their qualifying resettlement phase on or after 17 July 2008.

•      Meet UK’s residency requirements to qualify for full state subsidy.

•      Be undertaking at least the equivalent of 25% of a full time course.

•      Undertake learning with an approved provider listed on the ELCAS website as a PF FEHE provider and ensure the chosen course is designated for student support.

•      The course of study must be completed prior to the period of entitlement ending.

Personnel (who have passed out of Phase 2 training into operational service) are not required to meet the first point of the Eligibility criteria, if they are medically discharged from Service.  They are still required to have registered for ELC scheme membership.  Any injury or illness must be caused or significantly worsened wholly or predominately by the Service as defined by the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme.

Qualification Level

This commitment will provide access, free from tuition fees, for your:

First Level three or national equivalent. This refers to a first full Level three i.e. the achievement of two GCE A levels (A2) (passes at A-E) or vocational equivalent as defined by the Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF) (England, Northern Ireland and Wales); or in Scotland a Level six qualification on the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF). 

Or a first foundation degree or first full undergraduate degree or national equivalent. Typically to be eligible for this support, the higher education qualifications would be at levels four-six of the Framework for Higher Education and Qualifications in England, Wales and Northern Ireland (FHEQ) eg: a first undergraduate degree (including foundation degree) or Higher National Certificate or Diploma for which the entry qualification is lower than a degree and which normally takes place at a publicly funded institution. 

In Scotland the equivalent qualification is a Higher National Certificate (HNC), Higher National Diploma (HND) or a first undergraduate degree, undertaken at a further education college (FE college) or a higher education institution (HEI).


Please ensure you read this page before submitting a claim to your Education Staff.

•      Firstly read the Joint Service Publication (JSP) 822 and ensure you meet the eligibility criteria. 

•      Complete the PF FE/HE claim form (paper/electronic) and submit it to your Education Staff a minimum of 25 working days prior to your course start date/registration date.

•      Check the ELCAS website of approved PF FE/HE providers – Publicly Funded FE/HE providers for the purpose of this support will be highlighted and ensure the chosen course is designated for student support.

•      If wishing to use a new provider ensure they will be eligible to participate in this scheme (they must deliver Publicly Funded FE/HE) and ask them to apply for approved provider status as per the information on the Learning Provider/Responsibilities page of the ELC website. 

•      As with the current ELC scheme – try not to leave everything to the last minute. Allow time for any new providers to be accepted onto the scheme. This can be a lengthy process. Once accepted you can submit your application.

  • On receipt of your Claim Authorisation Note (CAN), you must present it to your chosen Learning Provider before the course is due to start.
  • If you are submitting your second or third claim, you must complete your previous claim evaluation form. This is completed online via accessing your Member's Area. 

  • To access your Member's Area from the link below you must obtain Login and Password details from your authorised Education Staff. 


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