Main funding principles
Adult education is an alternative and supplement to the ordinary education system. Adult education consists of formal, non-formal and informal adult education.
The provider of adult education depends on whether it is formal, non-formal and informal adult education and on the individual education programme:
- Adult education programmes are typically provided by state-funded self-governing institutions such as adult education centers (VUC), vocational education and training colleges, labour market training institutions (AMU-Centre) and higher education institutions.
- Non-formal education is provided by state-funded self-governing institutions such as folk high schools (Folkehøjskoler) and the municipal evening schools. There also exists private providers.
All authorised adult education and training programmes are publicly funded, but contrary to ordinary authorised education, the public subsidy only covers part of the costs and a user fee is typically paid depending on i.e. the type and timeframe of an education programme.
The institutions operate within a decentralised framework based on taximeter funding (taximeter grant per full-time equivalent participant, a fixed rate per programme) provided by the state. For further information, please visit chapter 3. Funding in Education. European funding plays no role in financing adult education and training.
Adult education and training programmes
The range of authorised adult education programmes is large and consists of both general education and professional education and vocational education and training. There are adult education programmes at almost every level of the education system:
- General Adult Education (AVU) is single subject education at primary school level in subjects such as Danish, mathematics and foreign languages.
- Preparatory Adult Education (FVU) provides the opportunity to improve basic reading, spelling, accounting, and speech comprehension skills. You can also learn English and IT.
- Danish education for adult foreigners is teaching Danish language, culture and social conditions for adult foreigners living in Denmark.
- Special education for adults is education for learners with physical or mental disabilities. The offer includes teaching and special educational assistance.
- Higher preparatory single subject course (hf-enkeltfag) is upper secondary education with a broad academic focus, providing access to higher education. Learners can also take single subjects from hhx, htx and stx, and admission courses targeted at the Bachelor of Technology Management and Maritime Engineering and engineering bachelor’s programmes.
- Labour market programmes (AMU) are short vocational training courses up to and including the level of vocational training. The teaching is both practical and theoretical.
- Adult Vocational Training (EVU) are specially designed vocational training programmes for adults who, for example, have worked as unskilled in a particular field of study for some years.
- Academy programmes are aimed at adults who have a secondary education (ordinary upper secondary education or VET plus two years of relevant work experience. The graduation level is on a par with business academy programmes. The programmes are equivalent to one year of full-time study.
- Diploma programmes are aimed at adults who have an academy, business academy, professional bachelor or university education. The graduation level is on a par with professional bachelor’s programmes. The programmes are equivalent to one year of full-time study.
- Master's programmes are aimed at adults who already have a professional bachelor's, diploma or university degree. The programmes are equivalent to one year of full-time study.
Current policy priorities
For the duration of 2018-2021, as part of a tripartite agreement a Transition Fund (VEU-omstillingsfonden) has been established. The fund covers user fees up to about 1,340 euro (10,000 DKK) per year for skilled and unskilled learners participating in higher education: academy and diploma programmes. The amount per year covers user fees for courses equivalent to approximately 10 ECTS.
Furthermore, in 2014-2020 13.4 million euro (1 billion DKK) has been allocated for new education opportunities and increased activity within adult education and continuous training with the aim of giving more skilled workers an opportunity to receive a higher education. For further information, please visit chapter 8.2. Developments and Current Policy Priorities.
Fees paid by learners
In general, there are user fees for participating in most general, professional and vocational adult education programmes. The user fee for formal non-higher adult education is determined every year in The Finance Act. There is no user fee for participating in some formal general adult education programmes such as preparatory adult education (FVU).
The user fees for higher adult education courses are determined by the providing institution. The fees (plus the state funding) must correspond with the cost associated with providing the course. The user fee for higher education adult education is normally paid by the employers or by labour market funds.
The user fee for adult vocational training (AMU) is normally paid by the employers. Courses in the social and health service, individual competence assessment and participation by the unemployed who attend individually selected programmes for 6 weeks are free of user fees.
Low skilled and skilled participants are entitled to a fixed allowance financed by the state, the State Grant System for Adult Training (VEU-allowance) corresponding the level of maximum unemployment benefit rate. Companies paying regular wages to employees participating in adult vocational training programmes are entitled to receiving the grant instead. Expenditures for the allowances are covered by the employer’s en bloc (AER Arbejdsgivernes Elevrefusion).
Financial support for adult learners
Within the adult education and training system, there is several options for leaners to receive financial support. One possibility is VEU-allowance, which is for leaners in vocational adult education and training who do not receive regular salary from their employer and meet the eligibility criteria. Another type of financial support is State Educational Support for Adults (SVU), which is an educational grant for any adult meeting the eligibility criteria.
When participating in vocational adult education and training learners are entitled to a fixed allowance financed by the state if they meet the eligibility criteria called 'VEU' allowance. The eligibility criteria are:
- Participating in the course.
- Have a loss of income.
- The leaner must be employed.
- The leaner’s educational level cannot be higher than a vocational education.
- The leaner do not receive public benefits.
- The leaner do not have a training contract e.g. as an adult apprentice.
The level of allowance corresponds with the current level of unemployment benefit. If the learner receives regular wage from the employer during the course, the employer is entitled to receive the grant instead.
Expenditures for the allowances are covered by The Employers' Reimbursement Fund (AUB). If the leaner is unemployed and meet the eligibility criteria of their unemployment insurance fund, the expenditures are covered by the job centers.
State Educational Support for Adults (SVU)
SVU is the state-funded educational support for adults. In order to be able to receive SVU the learner has to be studying full-time and be pre-approved or enrolled for a SVU-approved education. The leaner can receive SVU for a maximum of 40 weeks. Education programmes approved for SVU are:
- Preparatory adult education (ISCED 2).
- Dyslexia programmes for adults (ISCED 2).
- General adult education (ISCED 2).
- Single subject courses at lower secondary level (ISCED 2).
- Special needs education (ISCED 2).
- Danish education for adult immigrants and others (ISCED 2).
- Higher preparatory single subject course (ISCED 3).
- Upper secondary school (ISCED 3).
- Entrance examination for engineers (ISCED 3).
- Ship's mechanist (ISCED 4).
- Higher education based on The Open Education Act.
- Special modules.
- Master degree according to the Danish University Law.
- Other types of adult continuing education according to the Danish University Law.
- Part-time single subject university courses according to the Danish University Law.
Subsidies for private providers
Not relevant as Denmark do not have any subsidies for private providers.
Borger.dk, 2020. 'VEU'-allowance for vocational adult education and training. (VEU-godtgørelse til erhvervsrettet voksen- og videreuddannelse). (Accessed 10 March 2020).
Legal information (Retsinformation), 2022. Ministerial order on law on The Employers' Reimbursement Fund. (Bekendtgørelse af lov om Arbejdsgivernes Uddannelsesbidrag). (Accessed: 23 May 2023).
Ministry of Children and Education, 2018. Adult vocational training. (Accessed: 10 March 2020).
Ministry of Children and Education, 2021. Allowance and subsidies for participation in adult and continuing training. (Godtgørelse og tilskud ved deltagelse i erhvervsrettet voksen- og efteruddannelse). (Accessed: 24 June 2022).
Ministry of Children and Education, 2020. The General Adult Education Programme. (Accessed: 10 March 2020).
Ministry of Children and Education, 2020. VEU Transition Fund. (VEU-omstillingsfond). (Accessed: 19 March 2020).
Ministry of Higher Education and Science, 2019. 1 billion kr. for adult education and training. (1 milliard kr. til voksen- og efteruddannelse). (Accessed: 10 March 2020).
Ministry of Higher Education and Science, 2015. General organisation and administration. (Accessed: 10 March 2020).
Ministry of Higher Education and Science, 2020. Educations with State Educational Support for adults (Uddannelser med SVU). (Accessed: 10 March 2020).