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Financial support

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The Bedford College Group offers a range of means-tested financial support packages to help overcome any barriers that could prevent you from coming to our Colleges. We have three funding streams:

  • 16-19 Bursary
  • Adult Support Fund
  • Advanced Learner Loans Bursary

Funding is mainly provided by the government to help meet specific financial hardship needs that prevents students from taking part in learning. This funding is awarded as a bursary to eligible students.

A bursary is money you could get which may help to pay for…

  • uniform, books and other equipment for your course
  • travel and lunch on days you are in College
  • professional membership and, in some cases, course fees (excludes those on Advanced Learner Loans).

The bursary you can apply for will normally depend on your household income, age and the type of course you study.

If you are aged 16-19 and need help with the cost of childcare, the Government’s Care to Learn scheme may be able to help. Find out more here.

If you are aged 20 or over (and studying on an eligible funded course) you can apply for the Childcare Bursary. To apply launch our Eligibility Checker.

2021/22 Financial Support Applications

After you’ve answered the questions in our eligibility checker, if you qualify you will then be able to start your application. You will be required to upload evidence to prove your eligibility so please have this to hand. You will also be able to save your work and come back to complete your application at a later time.

Launch eligibility checker

16-19 Bursary

Our 16-19 Bursary Fund is strictly for students aged 16-18 and less than 19 on 31 August 2021, who have lived in the UK/EEA for the past three years and whose total household income is less than £30,000. If you are aged 19+ Please visit our Adult Support Fund page.

Important eligibility criteria is available at the bottom of the page.

Travel Bursary

This is a means-tested bursary of £36 or £60 per month depending on where you live to help with the costs of travelling to college. It is only available if you do not receive subsidised travel through your local authority; you live more than three miles from the campus and have a household income of less than £30,000.

  • The Shuttleworth College Bus Pass can be purchased at a fee of either £100 or £700 depending on your eligibility.
  • The travel bursary (£600) will go towards the cost of the Shuttleworth annual bus pass
  • The travel bursary (£450) will go towards the cost of the Shuttleworth annual bus pass.

Your payment options are below:

  • Pay the full amount of £700
  • Pay in instalments – pay the deposit online of £120 and set up 5 monthly direct debit payments of £116
  • Apprenticeship Scheme pay in full £250 (at college 1 day per week)
  • Apply for financial assistance and pay full amount of £100
  • Apply for financial assistance and pay deposit of £20 online and set up 5 monthly direct debits of £16 if application is successful
Shuttleworth College Bus Pass

The Shuttleworth College Bus Pass can be purchased at a fee of either £300 or £650 depending on your eligibility. The travel bursary (£450) will go towards the cost of the Shuttleworth annual bus pass, and you will be required to pay a discounted fee of £300 if you pay in one instalment or you will be required to pay a discounted fee of £330 if you pay in three termly instalments of £110.

Vulnerable Learner Bursary

You could get up to £1,200 towards your course costs, meals and travel if at least one of the following applies:

  • you’re in or have recently left local authority care
  • you get Income Support or Universal Credit in your name
  • you’re disabled and get both Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), and either Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Personal Independence Payment (PIP) in your name.
Essential Course Costs Bursary

You could get up to 75% off essential course costs such as hairdressing kits, uniforms, books or trips. Where the essential course item is provided by Bedford College, for instance, a uniform or a trip, your bursary will be transferred to your department and you will be required to pay the difference.  This is not available to students on the second year of a two-year course unless essential course costs are specified for the second year.

Meals Bursary

The meals bursary affords eligible students with a free healthy meal up to £4.00 whilst at College on the days they are timetabled to attend.

Funds are loaded on student ID cards, daily and this can be used towards the cost of purchases at tills in the college refectories.

This bursary is only available to students who qualify for the vulnerable learner bursary and those whose parents receive certain means-tested benefits. Students must attach the relevant evidence with their application.

There is also the option to top-up your ID card with additional money to buy additional items – available at Cauldwell and Shuttleworth campuses.

Funds not taken up on the day will not be carried over, students must use it on the day or lose it.

Residential Bursary (NC4M and Shuttleworth)

We offer a bursary of up to 75% towards the residential fees for students from lower income households. Priority is given to students who live the furthest away from Shuttleworth College & Silverstone. Eligible students will be given the option to pay the balance in instalments.

Childcare Support

If you’re a parent aged 16-19 the Government’s Care to Learn scheme could help you. You can find out more on the Care to Learn website.

View 16-19 Eligibility Criteria

List of Eligible Programme Types 2020/21

Your course must be either:

  • funded directly by ESFA or by ESFA via a local authority
  • funded or co-financed by the European Social Fund
    otherwise publicly funded and lead to a qualification (up to and including Level 3)
  • accredited by Ofqual or is pursuant to Section 96 of the Learning and Skills Act 2000
  • a 16 to 19 traineeship programme
  • The Prince’s Trust Team programmes: Non-employed students aged 16 to 19 who are participating in a Prince’s Trust Team Programme are eligible to receive the bursary in the same way as any other student participating in an eligible, publicly funded course.

Students must provide evidence of how they meet the three strands of eligibility for financial support to include age, residency and household income, as well as be studying on a programme that is subject to inspection by a public body such as Ofsted and the course must be funded directly by the ESFA or by the European Social Fund (ESF) – we can establish this fact from our college database.

Non-employed 16-19 students on The Prince’s Trust Team Programme are eligible to receive the bursary in the same way as a student on a publicly funded course. Students on a 16 to 19 traineeship programme are also eligible.

Eligibility for the 16-19 Bursary Fund requires that a student:

  • be aged 16 or over at Aug 2021
  • be aged 19 or over at 31 August 2019 and have an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP)
  • be aged 19 or over at 31 August 2019 and continuing on a study programme they began aged 16 to 18 (‘19+ continuers’)
    meet the residency criteria of three years within the EEA before the start of the course
  • meet the low household income threshold as set by the College

Eligibility for the Vulnerable Learner Bursary, students must provide proof of being in one of the following defined vulnerable groups:

  • in care of a Local Authority Borough Council (not private fostering)
    care leavers from a Local Authority Borough Council
  • in receipt of Income Support or Universal Credit in their own right because they are financially supporting themselves and/or someone who is living with them as a child or partner
  • in receipt of Employment and Support Allowance or Universal Credit as well as Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payments in their own right

Note: As well as the evidence of IS or UC, colleges are required to see a tenancy agreement in the student’s name, a child benefit receipt, children’s birth certificates, utility bills etc. for students who live independently. This evidence must also be provided to qualify for support where applicable to the student.

Exceptions: the following categories are not eligible for the 16-18 Bursary:

  • Students enrolled on 14-16 provision. However, students aged under the age of 16 on 31 August 2018 and enrolled on an eligible programme of learning may receive financial support with the agreement of the Bursary Panel.
  • Students participating through partnership arrangements – apprenticeships.
  • Students on higher education.

Meals Bursary

From 1 April 2018, Universal Credit will have an income threshold (a maximum net earned income of £7,400). Continuing students who were eligible for free meals immediately prior to 1 April 2018, but do not meet the new criteria after this date, will receive transitional protections and will continue to be eligible for free meals until the end of their course of study

Students must firstly satisfy the general age, residency and course eligibility criteria.

Students will receive a free healthy meal each day they attend the college if in receipt of qualifying means-tested benefits such as:

  • Income Support
  • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance
    support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • the guaranteed element of 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)
  • Working Tax Credit run-on – paid for four weeks after someone stops qualifying for Working Tax Credit
  • The meals bursary is also available for eligible students aged 19 to 24 subject to a Learning Difficulty Assessment (LDA) or Education Health and Care Plan (EHC Plan).
  • Students who are eligible for free meals in further education can apply for meal voucher whilst on their extended work placement

Adult Financial Support

Our Adult Support Fund and Advanced Loans Bursary is strictly for students aged 19 and over on 31 August 2021, who have lived in the UK/EEA for the past three years and whose total household income is less than £35,000. If you are in receipt of an Advanced Learner Loan, please visit the Advanced Learner Loans Bursary page. If you are aged 19+ but on the second year of a course you started last year or you have an EHCP, please visit our 16-18 Bursary page.

Important eligibility criteria is available at the bottom of the page.

Travel Bursary
Bedfordshire

This is a means-tested bursary of £360 for students who live within the Bedford Bus Zone and £600 for those who live beyond. This bursary is not available to students who less than three miles from the College campus.

Northamptonshire

This is a means-tested bursary of £360 or £600 depending on where you live to help with the costs of travelling to college. It is only available if you do not receive subsidised travel through your local authority; you live more than three miles from the campus and have a household income of less than £35,000.

 

Tuition Examination and Professional Fees Bursary

The support will be either 75% or 50% of tuition examination and professional body fees. It’s advisable that you receive a decision from the Student Finance Team before you complete your course enrolment.

Note: if the course you are applying for is eligible for the Advanced Learner Loan then you will be unable to apply for help towards this bursary.

Essential Course Costs Bursary

The support will either be 75% or 50% of your essential course costs such as safety equipment, books or trips. Where the essential course item is provided by Bedford College, for instance, a uniform or a trip, your bursary will be transferred to your department and you will be required to pay the difference. This is not available to students on the second year of a two year course unless essential course costs are specified for the second year.

Residential Bursary

Fees for halls of residence can be supported, although they are very limited.  Applications are prioritised by distance from the student’s home and/or availability of transport to Shuttleworth College. We operate a banding system for this bursary for students from very low income households.

Discretionary Hardship

If you are experiencing a sudden change of circumstances which places you in hardship, please speak to a member of the Student Services team.

Advanced Learner Loan Bursary

If you are aged 19 or over and eligible for an Advanced Learner Loan, please ask for information about the Advanced Learner Loans Bursary.

 

Meals bursary

If you are aged 19 or over and eligible for an Advanced Learner Loan, please ask for information about the Advanced Learner Loans Bursary.

Childcare bursary

If you are aged 19 or over and eligible for an Advanced Learner Loan, please ask for information about the Advanced Learner Loans Bursary.

View Adult Support (including Advanced Learner Loans Bursary) Eligibility Criteria

List of Eligible Programme Types 2021/22

Your course must be either:

  • funded directly by ESFA or by ESFA via a local authority
  • funded or co-financed by the European Social Fund
    otherwise publicly funded and lead to a qualification (up to and including Level 3)
  • accredited by Ofqual or is pursuant to Section 96 of the Learning and Skills Act 2000

Students must provide evidence of how they meet the three strands of eligibility for financial support to include age, residency and household income, as well as be studying on a programme that is subject to inspection by a public body such as Ofsted and the course must be funded directly by the ESFA or by the European Social Fund (ESF) – we can establish this fact from our college database.

Bursary applications will be judged in line with AEB funding guidance for 2021/22.

For the Advanced Learner Loans Bursary, students must have already applied for the Advanced Learner Loan. The college will verify this on the Student Loans Company (SLC) portal; bursary applications will be put on hold where we are unable to view a student’s application status on the portal.

Bursary Eligibility 2021/22

All full time and part time students (including those in receipt of an Advanced Learner Loan) studying on an ESFA funded course, including traineeships, at The Bedford College Group and its incorporated sites (Bedford campus, Kempston campus, Shuttleworth College, Tresham campuses and The Bedford Sixth Form) are eligible to apply for support where they meet the following criteria:

  • are aged 19 or over on 31 August 2021 and not on a traineeship
  • have lived within the UK / EEA for 3 years prior to the start of the course
  • have a household income of less than £35,000 are in receipt of a means-tested benefit or tax credits

In addition, the following will be considered for the Adult Support Fund, those who:

  • have learning difficulties or disabilities
  • are care leavers (previous VLB students)
  • are participating on a Prince’s Trust Team Programme
  • are on probation or supervised by the Youth Offending Service
    experience a sudden change in circumstances, such as redundancy

Childcare

Childcare funding may be available towards the cost of a registered childminder, nursery or pre/after school club. Any award is capped at a maximum of 80% of the value of the students course fee. Please check with Student Services prior to enrolling on your course to ensure you are eligible.

Exceptions

  • Students that have been mandated to training (full-time or part-time) by Jobcentre Plus will have their travel and childcare costs met by Jobcentre Plus (JCP) where required.
  • Students who do not qualify for the Adult Support Fund may be considered for support via external educational charities (where available and subject to conditions).
  • International students are not eligible for any financial support.
  • If an asylum seeker is eligible for support, we can only provide support in the form of course-related books, equipment or a travel pass. We are not permitted to give the student financial support in the form of cash.

Advanced Learner Loans

Advanced Learner Loans have been introduced to help support students aged 19 or above with the cost of course fees for full Level 3 to 6 courses. Find out below about what the loan covers, who can apply and the benefits they offer.

Find out more

Funding is mainly provided by the government to help meet specific financial hardship needs that prevents students from taking part in learning. This funding is awarded as a bursary to eligible students.

For more information

Download our bursary leaflets