In England you can get free education up to the age of 19. This can be extended up to age 25 if you have a Section 139a Learning Difficulty Assessment (or an Education, Health and Care Plan from September 2014).
From age 19 onwards you'll usually have to pay fees unless you're getting Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and are in the Work Related Activity Group, or you're unemployed and receiving Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA).
You can also get fee remission (meaning you don't have to pay fees) if you're studying one of the following:
- a basic Literacy or Numeracy course
- an Entry Level or Level 1 course
- GCSE Maths or English (and you have not already passed at Grade C or above)
- your first full Level 2 qualification
- your first full Level 3 qualification (and you're under 25)
Individual colleges can use their discretion to provide support to people with sight loss who don't meet these conditions but who find it difficult to afford course fees. This might be the case if you receive income-related benefits or you're doing a specific course for students with learning difficulties and/or disabilities. You should speak to the Learning Support Adviser or Disability Officer at your college to find out if you might be eligible.