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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Adult Education and Training Funding


3.Funding in education

3.3Adult Education and Training Funding

Last update: 27 November 2023

Main funding principles

The education budget for primary and secondary education for adults is the responsibility of the municipal and county educational authorities, which are given a state grant for these purposes. The remaining adult education programmes are financed by earmarked grants or subsidised by the government. Grants are given to county authorities, municipalities, organisations and institutions, companies and national associations of companies in accordance with the requirements of the Adult Education Act. The study associations may also receive contributions from public funds according to rules set out in the same act. These contributions are given on the basis of implemented hours of adult education activity, and according to special applications for pedagogical development work etc. The main source of financing for the study associations is, however, the participant fees. See more details on funding under Institutions Providing Adult Education and Training.

Fees paid by learners

The authorities' responsibility for funding of adult education depends on the level and type of education provided. The cost of primary and secondary education for adults is covered by municipal or county education authorities. The participants must meet the cost of textbooks in upper secondary education, and there is a fee for upper secondary examinations. The educational authorities also cover the cost of adult immigrant education. 

Public universities and university colleges charge fees for most of their continuing education courses in order to qualify people for a labour market in a time of change, and to improve the quality of life of individuals. Participants and/or their employers pay the fees. There are no reduced fees for the unemployed. (An alternative may be free on-campus ordinary day-time courses.) If credit-giving continuing education courses have fees, credits by these participants are not included in the total number of student credits that contributes to state funding of the institution with the new funding formula.

Fees are charged by private providers of adult education, but the courses are subsidised by public grants.

Financial support for adult learners

Adult learners may receive loans and grants from the Norwegian State Educational Loan Fund (Lånekassen)  for upper secondary education, vocational colleges and higher education. There is an upper age limit of 65 years but no other age-specific rules. The maximum loan (NOK 87 600 for the academic year 2009/10 - 10 months). Up to 40 % of the loan may be converted to grants if all exams are passed and the student live away from the parents and the additional income per year is not above a set limit. The support is reduced for part-time education. For additional information see The Norwegian State Educational Loan Fund (NSELF).

The legal right to educational leave, passed in 1999, does not include subsistence and other financial support. Some professions have paid educational leave as part of their union agreements.

Subsidies for private providers

Three types of institutions providing adult education belong to the private grant-aided sector: folk high schools, study associations, distance education institutions. See Folk High Schools, Study Associations and Distance Education Institutions for details on funding.