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Student Finance

Bursary and free meals applications

You will find the online bursary application form at the bottom of this page. 

Applications for September 2023 are now open. Please apply as soon as possible to be sure of having support in place at the start of term.

Registration and tuition fees

Aged under 19

If you are under 19 on the 31st August prior to the start of your course, then your tuition and registration fees will normally be free.

Aged 19+

When you are 19 or over on 31 August prior to the start of your course, you become liable for tuition, registration and exam fees. However, you may not actually have to pay fees as your course may be fully funded.  Eligibility for a fee waiver will be determined by our Enrolment Team at the time of your enrolment.

If you are a home fees student, studying a government funded course, e.g. GCSEs, ESOL, Diplomas, Certificates, up to and including Level 2 you may be able to get your course free if you are in one of these groups:

1. You are unemployed and in receipt of one of the following:

  • Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA), including those receiving National Insurance credits only
  • Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Universal Credit, and taking home wages of less than £617 a month ( single claimant) or £988 a month (joint claimants)

2. You may also be fully funded if you receive another state benefit and your take home pay is less than £617 a month (single claimant) or £988 a month (joint claim), ,and you wish to progress to more sustainable employment. 

3. Employed and:

  • You receive Universal Credit or other benefits, and you earn wages of less than £617 a month (single claimant) or £988 a month (joint claimant)
  • Your earned income is less than £20,319 per year

4. Other groups who may not have to pay fees:

  • You are aged 19-23 and studying at Entry or Level 1 in order to progress to a full Level 2 qualification, and you do not already hold a full Level 2 qualification
  • You are aged 19-23 and studying for your first, full Level 2 qualification
  • You are aged 19-23 years and studying for your first, full Level 3 qualification
  • You are 19-24 and subject to an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP)
  • You are 16-24 on a traineeship and do not have a full Level 3 qualification
  • You are 19 or over and studying GCSE maths or English (or functional skills English or maths from Entry to Level 2) and you do not already  have a pass grade (A*-C or 9-4)

If you receive a fee waiver any registration fee will normally be free too.

Advanced Learner Loan

There may be a tuition fee loan available to you if you are 19 and over and wish to study at Level 3 or above.

The system operates in a similar way to Higher Education student loans. Repayments are due after the course is completed and you are earning £25,000 or over (For new students starting in 2023). 

You can apply online via Student Finance England once you have received a learning and funding information letter from the college. The letter contains course reference numbers/tuition fee amounts and other information needed to make the application. 

If you are unsure whether you will need to pay fees contact the finance advisers on 01603 773773 or

Find out more >

If you are unsure whether you will need to pay fees contact the Finance Advisers  on 01603 773773 or

Student Bursary and Learner Support Funds

16 19 Bursary Fund

If you are under 19 when you start your course and your household income is less than £30,000 then you may be eligible for support from the 16-19 Bursary Fund.

The aim of the fund is to help cover some of the financial costs of coming to college such as travel, equipment, DBS fees and study trips. Find out more here.

Payments from the general 16-19 Bursary Fund vary from about £240-£814 per year depending on income, course and circumstances.

Vulnerable Young Person's Bursary

If you are under 19 and in one of the following categories, and you have a financial need, you may be eligible for up to £1200. These groups of students are unlikely to be receiving financial assistance from parents or carers.  We will assess the student’s financial need to enable them to participate in learning, e.g. travel costs, study trips, lunches, equipment costs etc.  If these costs are met from other sources of support, then we may not be able to award any money

  • in care*
  • a care leaver*
  • estranged from your parents and receiving Income Support/Universal Credit in your own right
  • receiving both Disability Living Allowance/Personal Independence Payment and Employment Support Allowance (or Universal Credit if it replaces DLA/PIP and ESA.)

* you may be a classed as 'in care' or 'a care leaver' if you are or have been looked after by the local authority under section 20 or 31 of the Children act 1989

Support from the 16-19 Bursary Fund and Vulnerable Young Person's Bursary is normally paid half-termly. This is, however, subject to satisfactory attendance. We expect 100% attendance from students.

19+ Bursary

If you are over 19 the College has a bursary that can provide support if you are on a low income.

If you have a gross household income of less than £22,000 (or £30,000 if you have a partner), you will be eligible to apply for the college bursary.

We do not assess parental income for this bursary. Help with travel, child care, equipment, tuition and registration fees may be available. If you are studying on a level 3/4 course and are eligible for an Advanced Learner Loan to cover the tuition fees, then you will need to apply to the Advanced Learner Loan Bursary instead - see below.

Advanced Learner Loan Bursary

This is a hardship fund designed to help with costs such as travel, child care and non-essential books/equipment if you have taken out an Advanced Learner Loan and are on a low income.

If you are single and have a household income of under £22,000, you will be eligible to apply. If you are married or live with a partner you will be eligible if your joint income is below £30,000.

Proof of eligibility for the Advanced Learner Loan and details of household income will be required.

Free college meals - free school meals for college students

You will be eligible for free college meals if you are aged 16-19 or 19-24 with an EHCP, are studying on a further education course and you/your parents are in receipt of:

  • Income Support
  • Income Based Job Seekers Allowance
  • Universal Credit with income under £7,400 pa
  • Income Related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Guaranteed Element of State Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit (not Working Tax Credit) with an annual gross income of no more than £16,190
  • Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999

If you are eligible for the scheme you will receive £5.00 for each day that you attend college.

The money will be loaded onto your student card. Cards can be swiped in campus cafes/restaurants. If you study off campus or your course involves placements - we will arrange to pay the money into your bank account.

Find out how to apply for Free College Meals

Find out more about free college meals here.

Help with childcare

Help with the cost of childcare may be available depending on your age and your household income.

  • If you are 19 or under, you can apply to the Care to Learn scheme. Please see the Care to Learn website for more information.
  • If you are 20 or over and on a low income, then you may be eligible for help from the 19+ Bursary.

If you would like more information about help with childcare costs contact the Advice Shop on 01603 773773 or


Please note that studying full-time can affect your benefit.

The regulations governing students and benefits are complicated, so please check with the Finance Advisers in the Advice Shop if you'd like further information or contact Job Centre Plus.

If you are under 20 and a Further Education student studying over 12 hours per week your parents may be able to claim Child Benefit, Child Tax Credit or the child element of Universal Credit.

Find out more >

Educational charities

The Advice Shop has a list of educational charities in Norfolk.

If you are under 25, and live in or around Norwich you may be eligible to apply to the Thomas Anguish's Educational Foundation or the Joanna Scott Foundation.

You may be able to find charities that can help by using this website: Turn2Us. In addition, the Student Advisers manage a small number of educational charities on behalf of the Norfolk Community Foundation.

Student travel discounts

For more information about travel passes please visit our Student Travel Offers page.

Discounted First Bus passes are available to all college students and staff and can be used during term and vacation periods.  

The best value tickets are the M tickets which can be uploaded onto your smart phone; however you do have the option of buying your bus pass from the First Travel Centre on Castle Meadow if you prefer.

Travel Assistance from Norfolk County Council

  • If you are a Norfolk resident, you may be eligible for assistance if you are:
  • aged under 19,
  • studying at least 16 hours per week
  • living more than three miles from the college (and travelling on a core route for Paston College

From September 2023, a yearly contribution of either £594 or £444 will be expected depending on household income. This contribution can be paid in termly or half-termly instalments.

If you are aged 19-21 and have an EHCP (Education Health Care Plan) you may also be eligible for a free travel pass.

Find more details of Norfolk's subsidised post-16 travel scheme here or call 0344 800 8020

Travel Assistance from Suffolk County Council

If you are a Suffolk resident, you may be eligible for assistance if you:

  • Live over 3 miles from your nearest suitable provision (college or sixth form)*
  • Are studying a full time course (min. 12 hours a week )
  • Started your course before your 19th birthday
  • Are studying a course that is only available at a facility that is not your nearest.

Find more details of Suffolk's subsidised post-16 travel scheme here or call 0345 606 6173. A contribution of £310 per term is normally expected.

Contact the Finance Advisers

For more information contact Mantas or Rachel on 01603 773322 or email