Qualifications and public funding

The role of qualifications in publicly funded further education.


We will only fund students to undertake qualifications through one of our funded offers if we have approved those qualifications for public funding.

In this guide, you will find information about which qualifications we have approved for funding, and how we approve them. This guide covers the qualifications that we fund through:

  • young people’s funding (previously known as Section 96)
  • adult education budget (AEB)
  • advanced learner loans
  • European Social Fund

Contact us

If you are a provider of education and training and you have about funding approval for qualifications, please use the ESFA enquiry form.

If you are an awarding organisation and have any queries on the qualification funding approval process, please email

Reviewing qualifications before the moratorium in the November 2020 review month

We have added another qualification funding approval review opportunity to our existing schedule. This means that in November 2020, we will review qualifications for funding that:

  • were delayed in being added to Ofqual’s register of regulated qualifications because awarding organisations were focussed on the COVID-19 response
  • appear on Ofqual’s register of regulated qualifications between 1 September and 19 October 2020
  • do not fit into the moratorium exemption criteria

Qualifications approved for funding

We publish a manual that explains the funding approval principles that we apply when we consider qualifications for funding. We also publish a list of the qualifications that are currently approved for funding.

Qualifications previously approved for funding

These lists show which qualifications we approved for public funding in previous funding years. Some of them may no longer be available for new student starts.

Qualifications with removed funding approval

As part of the review of post 16 qualifications at level 3 and below, the Department for Education intends to remove approval for funding from some qualifications. We also have a process for transferring students from pre-existing qualifications to redeveloped qualifications in the 2019 to 2020 funding year.

English and maths requirements in apprenticeship standards

We fund apprentices to achieve qualifications in English or maths (or both), if those apprentices do not already meet the minimum requirements for English or maths in their apprenticeship. We publish a list of current and prior qualifications accepted as meeting the minimum English and maths requirements for apprenticeships at level 2 and above.

Qualifications attracting high value courses premium

The high value courses premium is 16 to 19 funding to encourage delivery of selected level 3 courses in subjects, which are crucial for the labour market, and which lead to higher wage returns and a more productive economy.

Responding to COVID-19

The Chancellor announced exceptional funding as part of the wider COVID-19 skills recovery response. This funding will support people at added risk of unemployment and help them access training to boost their employability.

Published 20 February 2014
Last updated 14 September 2020 + show all updates
  1. We have added information about another qualification funding approval review opportunity in November 2020.

  2. Added content for COVID-19 support packages.

  3. Refreshed collection page and reorganised webpages.

  4. New page titled Designating qualifications for Advanced Learner Loans added to collection on 10 February 2016.

  5. Editorial changes made to page on 10 February 2016.

  6. New page entitled SFA: qualification reviews added to this collection on 18 February 2015.

  7. Annual review of qualifications guidance added.

  8. First published.