Online applications for the 2023/24 academic year are now open.

Financial support for College students

This page contains information on the different financial support available to college students at University College Birmingham. Find out what you might be eligible for, and the ways our dedicated support team can help you, throughout your studies.

Apply here

Top Up student

Course Fees

College courses are free for students up to the age of 18, providing you meet the necessary residency criteria, and your course is eligible for Government funding. If you are over 18, you may still be able to get help with your course fees.

For a full list of who does or does not need to pay for their course fees – visit our College Fees and Funding page.

Can I pay my tuition fees in instalments?

If you do have to pay course fees, you can either pay in full at enrolment, or payment can be made in 4 equal instalments:

Level 1 & 2 courses - the first instalment must be paid when you enrol, then 3 further instalments in November, February and April.

Level 3 courses – instalments are due by the end of October, January, March and May


Can I apply for a student loan to cover the cost of my tuition fees?

If you are aged 19 and over on the first day of your course and want to study a full Level 3 qualification, but are not entitled to fee remission, you may qualify for an Advanced Learner Loan.

This is a non-means tested loan and is available from the UK Government to pay the tuition fees of full level 3 qualifications (course exclusions apply) starting after 1st August 2016. The loan is paid directly to UCB to cover the cost of your tuition, and does not have to be repaid until you are earning over £25,000 a year.

For more information, please visit the Advanced Learner Loans section of the Gov.UK site.

What do I need to do if my employer is going to pay my tuition fees?

If your fees are being paid by your employer - please bring a letter, on headed paper, from your employer; confirming this and clearly stating who the invoice should be raised to.

Where can I go for advice about Further Education tuition fees?

If you have any questions about the information on this page, please contact our Finance Department on 0121 232 4013 or walk in and speak to a member of our office on the First Floor of The Link building.

Uniform and Equipment

First-year college students who come from a household with a total income of less than £31,000 per year, can apply for essential uniform and equipment costs for the following courses: Catering/Professional Cookery, Hospitality and Bakery, Hairdressing, Beauty Therapy, Theatrical and Media Makeup, Brickwork, Plumbing, Carpentry, Construction Multi-Skills and Electrical Installation.

To see more about the Uniform Equipment support, eligibility criteria and to apply please visit our Financial Support hub for college Students.

What if you are awarded with support for these costs after purchasing uniform or equipment yourself?

We strongly encourage students to wait until being awarded funding rather than buying their uniform in advance as we may not be able to reimburse for these costs.

Meal support

Free College Meals

University College Birmingham is able to provide Free College meals to all 16-18 year old's who meet the eligibility criteria (see below) set by the government.

We will provide £3.50 per day for the days you attend College. This will be loaded onto your ID card and can be spend at the eateries and cafes around campus.

Please note you are required to apply for free college meals via the Financial Support Portal.

Bursary Meal Support

If your household income is below £27,000 but you are not eligible for Free College Meals we may still be able to help with Meal Support. If you are awarded this support you will receive £3.50 per day for the days you attend College. This will be loaded onto your ID card and can be spend at the eateries and cafes around campus.

To see who is eligible and to apply please visit our Financial Support hub for college Students.

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for free meals, the Government states students must be aged 16 to 18, a UK resident; and in receipt of, or have parents who are in receipt of, one or more of the following benefits:

  • Income support
  • Income-based Jobseekers Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • The guarantee element of State Pension Credit
  • Support under part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • 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 4 weeks after someone stops qualifying for Working Tax Credit*
  • UC with net earnings not exceeding the equivalent of £7,400 for each year (after tax and not including any benefits they get)

You will need to provide evidence of your household’s award of the above qualifying benefits.

* Please note that although qualifying benefits do include the Working Tax Credit run-on which is paid for 4 weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit; Working Tax Credit itself is not a qualifying benefit for free meals, and a parent or student in receipt of Working Tax Credits is not entitled to a free meal (this is a common question that is asked).

Free Meal Transitional Protection Arrangements

If you had Free Meals at school or College last academic year, then you can continue to receive these, although you may need to provide us with evidence from your previous provider.

Free food / drink for all students this Autumn

As part of the support that University College Birmingham is putting in place to help students who are facing increased costs this autumn, we have introduced some additional food offers for all students:

  • Toast and juice will be available, free, from the 5th floor of Summer Row, between 8 and 10am each weekday.
  • Free soup will be available from 3-4pm each day, from the 5th floor of Summer Row.
  • Hot water is available from all catering outlets - should you need it for making your own hot drinks, or otherwise (and we are also in the process of getting a hot water dispenser). This water is free if you bring your own cup, or 20p for a take-away cup. 
  • We also have microwaves available for students to use in McIntyre House (in the seating area, near the exit to Moss House), for ease of heating up any food that you bring in from home.

Travel Support

University College Birmingham can provide travel support to help with the costs of travel to and from college.

If you are eligible for travel support and live in the West Midlands Travel area we can provide eligible students with a travel pass issued by NX Bus.

If you live outside of the West Midlands travel zone, and are eligible for travel support we will provide a termly train pass from West Midlands Rail where possible to help support with travel costs. If we cannot provide a train pass we may be able to pay a monthly travel allowance of up to £100 per month towards travel costs.

All this support is subject to good attendance and eligibility. For more information on the eligibility criteria and how to apply please visit our Financial Support hub for college Students.


Childcare doesn't have to be an obstacle to learning at University College Birmingham. There are several schemes to assist UK students with childcare costs. If you need to find a suitable childcare provider, you can contact the Family Information Service - run by your local council or authority.

Students aged 16 to 19

Students aged between 16 and 19 on the start date of their course must apply for childcare support through the Care to Learn scheme.

To find out more information and to apply, go to the Care to Learn section of the gov site. Alternatively, call the Care to Learn helpline on 0800 121 8989.

College students aged 20+

Students aged 20 and over are able to apply for help with their childcare costs whilst studying here at UCB. If you are eligible we can support with childcare costs of up to £100 a week for a maximum of 2 children.

Funding is limited and allocated on a first come, first served basis. Students who make a successful application are expected to maintain an excellent attendance record for the duration of their course. To see who is eligible and to apply please visit our Financial Support hub for college Students.

Deadline for Childcare Support

There is no specific deadline for applying, but your childcare support will only be paid from the beginning of your course if you apply either before your course starts or within 28 days of starting your course.

If you apply after that, your childcare support will only be paid from the beginning of the week that your application was received as this support cannot be backdated.

Apply for financial support

Online applications for the 2023/24 academic year are now open.

On the below-linked page you will see details of each of our bursaries and determine which would apply to you based on your circumstances. There is also detailed guidance and a handy guide to download which explains registering and making an application which will help you through the process. Please note the following:

  • Applications are only available online. We will not be offering paper forms or accepting email submissions of evidence.
  • All communication about your financial support application will be by email.
  • We will aim to process applications within 10 working days however this may be longer during peak times.
  • Funding is not guaranteed, so we encourage students to apply as soon as possible.

Find out more

Get in touch

If you have any questions - you can visit us at Student Services on the ground floor of The Link or contact us at or 0121 604 1000 ext. 2269 or 2220.

As this is a new system, please let us know if you come across any problems during the application process; and bear with us if you have any issues. You can report any issues to - including details of the problem and screenshots if you can, to help us get things fixed!

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