Financial support

There are a number of funding options available to you while you’re studying.

We can help you access the financial support you need. Our support is available for everyone including people:

  • taking their first steps into further education
  • continuing their Higher Education studies
  • looking to make a new start by re-skilling.

Our Student Services Advisers are always on hand to give you information about what you are eligible for. We can help you with:

  • funding advice
  • advanced-learner loans
  • payment options
  • childcare costs.

Financial support for school leavers aged 16-18

Bursaries funds

A student must be aged 16 or over but under 19 at 31 August 2021 to be eligible for help from the bursary fund in the 2022 to 2021 academic year.

There are 2 types of 16 to 19 bursaries:

  • Discretionary bursaries to help with the cost of transport, meals, books, uniform and equipment.
  • Vulnerable Bursaries of up to £1,200 a year for young people in one of the defined vulnerable groups.

Discretionary bursaries

Students aged 16-19, from low income households, can apply for one of a number of bursaries. If you’re eligible, this scheme can help with course-related costs and travel.

The funds may be able to support course fees, travel costs, childcare, books, equipment and course trips.

The fund is limited so make sure you apply early. The application form for the 2021/2022 academic year will be available in summer 2021; please contact for further information.

You will need to complete this form using Adobe Reader to ensure you can digitally sign them. If you do not have this software, it can be downloaded for free.

Vulnerable bursaries

You may be guaranteed a bursary if you are aged between 16-18 and are:

  • in care
  • a care leaver
  • an Income Support recipient
  • a disabled young person in receipt of both ESA and DLA or PIP.

Support for young parents

If you’re a young parent (under 20 at the start of your course), Care to Learn can help pay for your childcare and travel costs while you are at College. To find out more, visit the Care to Learn website or call 0800 121 8989.

You must then book an appointment with an adviser before sending off your application form. You can do this by calling 0117 312 5000, emailing

Free college meals

If your parent or guardian receives certain benefits, you may be eligible for free meals.

To be eligible for Free Meals, you must be aged 16 or over but under 19 on 31st August before your course starts, or have an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP), and be in receipt of, or have parents in receipt of, one or more of the following benefits:

  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseekers Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Support under part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • The guarantee element of State Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit (provided they are not entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual gross income of no more than £16,190, as assessed by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC))
  • Working Tax Credit run-on – paid for 4 weeks after someone stops qualifying for Working Tax Credit
  • Universal Credit with net earnings not exceeding the equivalent of £7,400 per annum

Eligible students will be entitled to a free meal allowance; a minimum of £2.41 each day for timetabled activities. Free meals funding is available to the student from the point of a successful bursary application and cannot be back dated.

Application forms are available from Learner Services (reception). For more information, call us on 0117 312 5000 or email

Financial support for adults aged over 19

Advanced Learner Loan

If you’re over 19 on 31 August and wanting to study a Level 3 or 4 course, you could qualify for an Advanced Learner Loan.

Rather than paying for your Level 3, 4, 5 or 6 course upfront, there may be an option of taking a loan with the Student Loans Company. You won’t start repaying the loan until you have finished the course and are earning over a certain amount.

The loan doesn’t depend on your current income and there are no credit checks. It’s an ideal way to help you take the next step or give yourself the freedom to retrain.

Find out more about getting an Advanced Learner Loan

Free tuition on certain courses

Did you know that you may be eligible for free tuition on certain courses? This depends on your age, the level of your course, your previous qualifications and if you’re in receipt of certain benefits.

If you’re aged 19 – 23 and do not currently hold a full Level 2 qualification or above, you may be eligible to learn for free when you enrol on your first full Level 2 or first full Level 3 course.

If you’re aged 19 or over, and are unemployed and in receipt of one of the following benefits and wanting to enrol on a course to gain skills to enter employment, you may be eligible for free tuition on many of our courses:

  • Jobseekers’ Allowance
  • Employment Support Allowance (ESA) in the work-related activity group
  • Council Tax Benefit
  • Housing Benefit
  • Income Support
  • Universal Credits
  • Disability Living Allowance/Personal Independence Payment
  • Partner receives Working Tax Credit and you are named on the document.

If you’re aged 19 or over, and are employed earning less than £17,004 per annum you may be eligible for free tuition on many of our courses.

For more information, please contact us.

Learner Support Fund

The Learner Support Fund is available to help you with course related costs such as travel to and from College, fees, kits, uniform and trips. Some students may also get help with childcare costs through this scheme.

Funds are limited and we recommend students apply early (during the summer holiday). We cannot guarantee to help every student. The application form for the 2021/2022 academic year will be available in summer 2021; please contact for further information.

You will need to complete this form using Adobe Reader to ensure you can digitally sign them. If you do not have this software, it can be downloaded for free.

Pay for your course in instalments

If your course costs more than £300 and lasts longer than six months, you can spread the cost by paying in instalments.

You will pay your instalments by Direct Debit payments.

We can discuss your payment options with you when you apply or enquire.

Please note, courses that cost under £300 or running for under six months are not eligible for direct debit payment.

Future Bright

Future Bright may be able to help you pay for a course or equipment.

Future Bright supports adults aged 19+ who live in the West of England and meet the eligibility criteria.

You can find out more and sign up on the Future Bright website.

Financial support for university-level courses

A university education may seem like a large expense, but don’t let the costs stop you. Did you know that you don’t have to start repaying a loan until you’ve finished your course and you’re earning over £26,575?


  • Financial support is available;
  • College is often less expensive than other local universities;
  • You stand a better chance of earning more with a university degree.

Covid Homestudy Fund

We have been granted further funding by the Office for Students to assist students in hardship whilst studying from home. For example if you are having problems accessing equipment because you are sharing with children who are being home educated and are also needing to access your broadband or Wi-Fi or laptop computer.

Our Covid Homestudy Fund has been extended – we can now accept applications until 14 March 2021 and we have increased the maximum available to £300 per student for digital equipment and £500 towards laptop computers.

Students who have already applied will have their applications reassessed and we may increase the amount of our contribution, you may also make a second application if there is something else that is holding you back from your studies. Be sure to tell us what you need and how it will assist your studies along with evidence of the cost.

We have prioritised particular groups of students for this fund, we have expanded the postcode areas that are now considered to be priority groups. If you type your postcode into the box called “map options” on the CDRC maps website and your postcode shows as red (decile 1 or 2) then your postcode makes you a priority student (don’t worry if you cannot access this page, we will check your postcode).

If you have a disability and are claiming DSA then you are a priority student. If you are studying a course that relies on you having access to a computer with access to specialist software to complete an assignment (eg Graphic Design, Photography, Film and Media and final year Counselling students who are undertaking telephone or online counselling as part of a placement) then you are a priority group.

You may apply if you have already bought equipment since lockdown commenced to help you to study from home. You will need to show your proof of purchase.

Please make sure you explain what you want and how it will help you to work more effectively from home and be sure to attach evidence of the costs. If you don’t do this then the application will be rejected. Please only apply for what is needed so that we can help as many people as possible.

If you don’t fall into one of the priority groups, you can still apply but your application will wait until all the priority applications have been looked at first. 

Applications may be made to help towards the costs of the following (this list is an example and is not exhaustive):

  • Contribution towards a laptop computer (max £500).
  • Purchase of data so that you can hotspot from your phone to your laptop if you have poor Wi-Fi connection.
  • Purchase of increased broadband with your broadband provider (you need to be aware that you may need to enter into a contract of 12-24 months and our contribution cannot be relied upon past the end of the academic year).
  • Purchase of paper and ink if you need to print to assist your learning.
  • Purchase of a printer if you need to print to assist your reading and understanding.
  • Purchase of a second screen to allow you to view documents and take part in a meeting at the same time, especially if you are following a creative arts course (eg film and media, graphic design or photography, counselling).
  • Head sets if you are delivering counselling on placement via online or telephone.
  • Software licences for graphic design and photography.
  • Other digital or computer equipment that helps you to study more effectively at home.

To apply for this funding please complete the online form. Please also remember to provide evidence to support your application otherwise it will be rejected. 

Remember to keep evidence of anything you buy with this money as we may ask to see receipts for audit purposes.

Higher Education Progression Bursary

A bursary of up to £900 will be allocated to students who study an eligible full Level 3 course with City of Bristol College in the academic year 2020/21 and enrol on the first year of one of the following specified higher education courses at the college starting in September 2021:

The bursary is calculated as a percentage of the course tuition fees, and will be paid in three equal instalments to eligible students during the first year of study at City of Bristol College. The bursary instalments will be paid individually, on the College’s receipt of each instalment of tuition fees during the first year of study (this is usually October, January, April).

If a student withdraws, or is withdrawn, from a specified course prior to the college’s receipt of a tuition fee instalment, the College will not be liable for the subsequent payment of a related higher education bursary instalment payment.

The bursary excludes all students where their course fees are paid by a sponsor (e.g. employer). Acceptance of the bursary will be taken as the acceptance of all of the above terms and conditions.

To apply for the bursary, download the Higher Education Bursary Progression Form (doc)

You can also speak to your head of department to find out more information.

Loans for full-time students

The following student finance is available for full-time students. Students need to be eligible for student loans and can’t already have a qualification of an equivalent level.

Returning and new students can apply online now for student support – you don’t need to wait until you’ve been accepted on a course. To find out more and apply online, visit the Student Finance England website or call 0300 100 0607.

Tuition fee loan

A tuition fee loan allows you to borrow the cost of your tuition fees each year (up to a maximum of £9,250). It does not depend on your household income, and you don’t need to pay it back until you are earning over £26,575.

Maintenance loan

In addition to the student loan for tuition fees, you may be eligible for a student loan for maintenance. This can help with the costs of accommodation, food, books and other expenses.

  • Maximum of £8,700 a year available if you’re living away from home;
  • Maximum of £7,324 a year if you’re living at home. 65% of the maintenance loan is non-means tested, meaning you can take out 65% of the maximum loan regardless of your household income. The remaining 35% is means-tested and dependent on your household income;
  • You don’t need to pay it back until you are earning over £26,575.

Repayment of loans

  • You’ll be due to start repaying your loan the April after you finish or leave your course. You’ll only make repayments if your income is over the repayment threshold;
  • You don’t repay until your gross earnings are over £26,575 a year (or £1,750 per month);
  • You repay 9% of what you earn above £26,575;
  • Any loan remaining after 30 years will be written off;
  • For more information, visit the Student Loan Repayment website.

Non-repayable grants for full-time students with dependents

The following grants are also available for people with children or other dependents if on a low income:

  • Parents’ Learning Allowance of up to £1,669 a year;
  • Childcare Grant of 85% of childcare costs: up to £164.70 a week for parents with one child, or £282.36 a week for parents with two or more children;
  • Adult Dependents’ Grant of up to £2,925 a year.

Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA)

Students with a disability, mental health condition, long-term health condition or specific learning difficulty may be eligible for extra help through Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSAs).

Available to full-time and part-time students (depending on the amount of hours you study), this allowance is non-repayable, and is not dependent on household income. The amount you are entitled to depends on your level of need. To find out more visit Disabled Students’ Allowance.

Students still have to pay the fees if they are on benefits.

If you’re already claiming income-related benefits and want to start a uni-level course, you should ask Jobcentre Plus or your local authority’s housing benefit team how this will affect your benefits. Find out more about benefits for uni-level students on low incomes.

Tuition fee loans for part-time students

The following student finance is available for part-time students. To find out more and apply online, visit Student Finance part time students or Student Finance England website.

Tuition fee loans

A Tuition Fee loan allows you to borrow the cost of your tuition fees each year (up to a maximum of £6,935). The loan does not depend on your household income. You must be studying at least 25% of the equivalent full-time course.

Repayment of loans

  • Repayment begins in April four years after the start of your course (whether or not you have finished studying) or the April after you finish or leave your course;
  • You don’t repay until your gross earnings are over £25,000 a year (or £1,750 per month);
  • You repay 9% of what you earn above £25,000;
  • Any loan remaining after 30 years will be written off.

For more information, visit the Student Loan Repayment website.

Benefits for part-time students

If you’re on a low income you may be able to claim a range of income-related benefits including:

  • Income Support;
  • Employment and Support Allowance;
  • Housing Benefit;
  • Council Tax Benefit.

Get in touch

We can help you with questions you have about fees and finances. Contact us today.

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