Can I get money to help with college?

There are several schemes providing financial support for young people who need some help to come to college. Some schemes are managed by the College and some are provided by external agencies. You will find information below for each scheme regarding eligibility and how to apply.

16-18 Vulnerable Bursary of £1200

Students who meet the criteria below and who have a financial need can apply for the Vulnerable bursary. This bursary can pay up to £1,200 to a student studying a course lasting 30 weeks or more (pro-rata payments for less than 30 weeks). Students aged 19 or over are NOT eligible for the Vulnerable Bursary.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The full amount is not guaranteed, as in some cases, a young person might meet the eligibility criteria but not have an actual financial need in order to continue to participate in education. This might be because their financial needs are already met and/or they have little or no educational-related costs (eg. no travel costs or course related costs). In these cases, there may be a possibility of no award or only a partial award.

  • Be aged 16-18 on 31st August in the relevant academic year
  • Be in care or a care leaver
  • Or be in receipt of Income Support or Universal Credit in their own name because they are financially supporting themselves or someone who is dependent on them and living with them such as a child or partner
  • Or be in receipt of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) AND either Employment & Support Allowance (ESA) or Universal Credit in their own name
  • Or be in receipt of Personal Independence Payments (PIP) AND either Employment & Support Allowance (ESA) or Universal Credit in their own name

16-18 Discretionary Funding

This bursary supports students with the additional costs of remaining in education e.g.: travel, some materials, course-related trips and travel to university open days. To be eligible for this funding, you need to:

  • Be aged 16-18 on 31st August in the year they start their learning programme and studying a course at Cirencester College funded by the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA)
  • Be aged 19 and continuing a course you began aged 16-18 (19+ continuers) or you have a current Education, Health & Care Plan (EHCP)
  • Have lived in the UK for 3 years prior to the start of your course
  • Be living in a household where the total household income is under £40,000 (this includes earned income, benefit payments and Working & Child Tax Credits). Students who are NOT eligible for this funding are:
    • Students on Higher Education courses who receive support through Student Finance England
    • Students on an Apprenticeship training scheme
    • Students under the age of 16 on 31st August in the year they start their learning programme

Can I get Free School Meals at College?

If you received free meals at school and are now aged 16-18 on 31st August in the year you start your learning programme , you may be entitled to free meals at College as well. If your parent / carer is in receipt of one or more of the following benefits, you may be eligible for Free Meals in Further Education (FMFE):

  • 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 guaranteed element of State Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit (provided you are not entitled to Working Tax Credit) with gross income of no more than £16,190 as assessed by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs
  • Universal Credit with net earnings not exceeding the equivalent of £7400 per annum

If you are eligible, an allocation would be loaded onto your College ID card to use in the catering outlets on site for each day that you are timetabled to be at College.

How to Apply for Financial Support

Applications for financial support for the new academic year 2024/25 will not open until 3rd June.

I am 19 or over, can I get help to pay my fees?

If you are aged 19 or over and wish to study for a level 3 or above qualification you can apply for an Advanced Learner Loan to cover the cost of your fees.

You can apply for a loan once you have enrolled on a course. The application doesn’t depend on your income and is not subject to credit checks. You only need to start paying back your loan when you’ve finished your course and are earning over £25,000.

More information on the Advanced Learner Loan is available through the GOV.UK website.

Find out more

To be eligible for the Advanced Learner Loan you must:

  • Be 19+ on the first day of your course
  • Meet the nationality/residency status outlined here.
  • Your course must qualify for the Advanced Learner Loan. To find out if your course qualifies please ask a member of our Student Journey Team by emailing

Information on Fees

For the most recent and up to date information about fees for any of our adult courses, please email

How to Apply for the Advanced Learner Loan

Check with us that your course qualifies for the Advanced Learner Loan.

If it does you will be given a ‘Learning and Funding Information Letter’ (LAFIL) by Student Journey at enrolment, this will contain all the information you will need to make the loan application. Please go to the Student Finance England website to apply.

When do I repay my Advanced Learner Loan?

Depending on when you started your course this will dictate which repayment plan you are on. Follow this easy guide to determine which repayment plan you will follow. This will also explain what the interest rates are on your loans.

19+ Advanced Learner Loan Bursary

This funding is designed to help with the additional costs involved with attending College eg: transport to College, course materials and equipment.

To be eligible to apply for this funding, you must be:

  • Aged 19 or over at the start of the course
  • Applied and been approved for an Advanced Learner Loan
  • UK resident or meet sufficient residency criteria
  • Living in a household where the total income is under £20,817 per year

To apply you will need to send a completed application form along with the relevant supporting evidence listed on the form.

Useful Information

This scheme is available for young parents who need help with the cost of childcare while studying at College. This funding is not means tested and will pay for childcare with your chosen provider as long as they are registered with Ofsted.

For more information on the scheme and how to apply please visit their website

Please note that as part of the application process you will need to bring your child’s birth certificate into College for us to verify. This is important as your application cannot be finalised until this evidence has been provided.

In order to be eligible to access level 3 qualifications you are required to be:

  • 19 or over and do not already have a full level 3 qualification.
  • Already have a full level 3 qualification but meet the low-income threshold (£20,319 April 2023) and the course is required to be on the free courses for jobs list.
  • Already have a full level 3 but are unemployed and on benefit and the courses is required to be on the free courses for jobs list.

Please note Access to Higher Education courses are not on the free courses for jobs list

Please contact for more information

Level 3 Funding Chart 19-23
Level 3 Funding 24 plus