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(Enhanced Learning Credit Scheme)

 The ELC scheme offers currently serving or former Service personnel access to a first full level 3 (GCE A-level or vocational equivalent) or a first higher education (HE) qualification (e.g. a foundation degree or a first undergraduate degree or equivalent) free from tuition fees. Here’s the basic information you need to know …

  • The ELC lower tier offers up to three payments of up to £1,000 in three separate financial years; the

    higher tier offers up to three payments of up to £2,000 in three separate financial years.

  • The three separate years do not have to run consecutively, and may be a combination of both higher

    and lower levels.

  • ELC may be claimed for the same learning course if it continues for more than a year, or for a

    different learning purpose each year.

  • If one course combines with others for a single learning purpose these can be combined to claim


 Only one ELC claim can be made in any one financial year (April to March).

 You must make a contribution to your learning of at least 20% of the cost (the ELC element includes VAT but excludes travel, accommodation, food, books and materials).

 You must discuss your plans with your line manager and education adviser before making any financial commitment.

ELC are available for full- or part-time study for a qualification at level 3 or above, as defined on the NQF or SCQF, with an organisation on the approved providers list maintained by ELCAS.

  • You may not claim ELC for:

◦                        Service training

◦                        civilian accredited Service training (unless at least 30 hours extra work is involved,

◦                        together with a separate exam, assessment or assignment)

◦                        membership fees

◦                        books and materials

◦                        normal Service sport and adventurous training


If unexpected Service or compassionate reasons cause your withdrawal, ELC may be carried forward for two years, or a refund may be possible and an extra ELC authorised; all cases will be judged on their merits.

Changes to Enhanced Learning Credits & Further Education and Higher Education Schemee – JSP 898

 The key changes to the schemes are as follows:

  • All Service Personnel currently in service will be auto-enrolled to be eligible for both schemes, as will future Service Personnel on completion of Phase 1 training.
  • A new ELC payment has been created: an aggregated lower tier payment, a single payment of up to £3000 for those with 6 - 8 years of qualifying service completed on or after April 01st 2016, which will count as all 3 payments.
  • The qualifying service required for lower tier payments and FE/HE will increase from 4 to 6 years from April 01st 2017.   Service Personnel who have already accumulated 4 years qualifying service before April 01st 2017 will keep their entitlement to use lower tier payments and FE/HE.
  • Post service access to ELC and FE/HE, for all those leaving on or after April 01st 2016, will be reduced to 5 years
  • Those who left between April 01st 2011 and March 31st 2016 (both dates inclusive) will have until March 31st 2021 to use ELC or FE/HE – 5 years from now.  Anyone who left before April 01st 2011 will retain 10 years of post-service access


Individual Resettlement Training Cost

 The IRTC grant exists to help towards the cost of resettlement training

 The IRTC grant may be used in concert with a Learning Credit - Standard (SLC) or Enhanced (ELC) - for any course that is completed prior to the Service Leaver leaving the Service and subject to the relevant criteria of either scheme. (See JSP 898 Part 4.) 

Q & A

 Q: Can I use my Individual Resettlement Training Costs (IRTC) and ELC to fund the same course of study leading to achievement of a nationally recognised qualification?

A: Yes. For courses that started on or after 1 September 2008, it is permissible to use IRTC with ELC or SLC (but not both) to fund a learning activity during resettlement if, in all instances, the criteria of the relevant learning credit schemes are met. For example, IRTC may be used with ELC but only during resettlement and to fund a nationally recognised higher-level qualification (level 3 or above) delivered by an approved ELC learning provider.

Q: Do I still need to make a 20% minimum personal contribution towards the cost of the qualification course during resettlement if I am using IRTC with SLC/ELC to fund the same activity?

A: In the first instance yes, because you are required to submit a claim in accordance with the current ELC regulations. You may subsequently submit an IRTC claim in accordance with resettlement policy to claim your IRTC grant in full or part to help pay towards the cost of the higher-level learning. However, under these circumstances only, it is permissible for Service leavers to use IRTC to pay, in part or in full, the mandated 20% personal contribution element.

Q: This doesn’t seem fair. Why only under these circumstances during resettlement am I allowed not to make a personal contribution?

A: Demonstrating a commitment to learning and personal development is a fundamental principle of the Armed Forces learning credit schemes. For the most part, the use of learning credits is aimed at developing people in-Service to the benefit of both the Forces and the individual. For Service leavers undergoing resettlement, it makes sense to use all the available funding to help pay the costs of undertaking qualifications and, where feasible, rationalise learning credit regulations with the resettlement rules. In addition, for the majority of cases and especially for more expensive higher-level learning courses, the principle of personal contribution is preserved as most claimants will make some element of contribution that often exceeds the 20% minimum.



JSP 822 - Defence Direction and Guidance for Training and Education. The Accreditation of Education, Training and Skills is in Part 1 page 121

The provision of opportunities to gain nationally recognised civilian qualifications through the accreditation of education, training and experience is an important component of MOD personnel strategies, since they provide recruiting, developmental, retention and resettlement benefits. Accreditation activities reinforce the learning process and increase the trainability of personnel, thereby underpinning the improvement of operational effectiveness. Engagement in the additional learning required by most accreditation schemes supports the development of general intellectual abilities. This enables personnel to contribute more effectively to the organisation, to respond better to change and to cope better with the novel situations that the dynamic Defence presents.

Accreditation - the MOD Definition

Accreditation is the gaining of a whole or partial civilian qualification (which may be expressed in credit rated units) through recognition of the internal education, training and experience of MOD personnel, against the qualification's specific requirements. Where accreditation does not meet the requirements for the full national qualification, an accreditation scheme should provide opportunities for individuals to 'top up' their learning to enable them to achieve that full qualification.

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