Financial Support for College Students

We know your finances and financial future are important to you so we try and give you as much advice about what it's going to cost to study at University College Birmingham and support available to you.  


Childcare doesn't have to be an obstacle to learning at University College Birmingham. There are a number of schemes to assist UK students with childcare costs. If you need to find a suitable childcare provider you should contact the Family Information Service run by your local 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 how to apply, go to and search 'Care to Learn' Alternatively, call the helpline on 0800 121 8989.

College students aged 20+

Students aged 20 and over are able to apply for help with childcare costs through the Learner Support Fund if their total household income falls below £30,100 per annum. 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.

Please contact the Student Services on 0121 232 4020 or email to find out more or express an interest in childcare for the 2019/20 academic year.

Learner Support Fund

The Learner Support Fund is a discretionary fund to assist college (further education) students with course-related costs such as essential uniform, equipment and travel.

The fund is available to students who have a total household income of less than £31,000 per year.

How do I apply?

Information about applying for 2020/21 support will be released as soon as it is available.

When should I apply? 

Please apply as soon as possible. You do not need to wait until enrolment to complete your application. By applying early we can ensure your application is assessed and your award in place ready for when you start college. 

What is available?

First-year college students can apply for essential uniform and equipment costs for the following courses only: chef (professional cookery), bakery, hospitality, hairdressing, beauty, theatrical and media make-up

A non-refundable contribution of £50 is required before the order can be processed.

Travel assistance

Students aged 19 and over (on the 1 September 2019) are able to apply for travel assistance which will be supplied as travel vouchers to purchase a bus pass only. Satisfactory attendance of over 80% is required for continued support. Students who are eligible for the Discretionary Bursary Scheme are expected to meet travel costs out of their weekly payment and will therefore not be eligible to receive travel vouchers.

Travel assistance (outside the Network West Midlands area)

Please contact the Student Services on 0121 232 4020 to discuss additional support available to you if your home is outside of the Network West Midlands area.

Discretionary Bursary Scheme

The DBS comprises of a weekly payment to students from low-income backgrounds to assist with travel costs. In order to qualify, the student must reside in the UK.

There are two main categories:

  • Discretionary Bursary - for students aged under 19 (on 1 September 2019), whose gross household income is less than £25,000 per annum. Bursary payments of £20 per week will be made, subject to attendance checks and satisfactory behaviour criteria.
  • Mandatory Bursary - for students aged 16-18 who are identified as vulnerable. This can include: children in care, care leavers, and those on income support and those receiving Income Support or Universal Credit in their own name. Such students will be entitled to a guaranteed bursary of £1,200 per academic year.

How do I apply?

Information about applying for 2020/21 support will be released as soon as it is available.

When should I apply?

Please apply as soon as possible. You do not need to wait until enrolment to complete your application. By applying early we can ensure your application is assessed and your award in place ready for when you start college. 

I am studying on a part-time course, can I still apply?

Unfortunately, we are unable to accept applications for students on part-time courses.

How will my bursary be paid?

Bursary payments are paid in arrears every Friday following 100% attendance in the previous week.  You will need to provide us with bank details for an account in your name and complete the sign-up process as outlined in your award letter to begin receiving your payments. 

I am studying for a higher education/degree qualification - can I apply for the bursary?

No, DBS is for students who are studying at college/FE level only.

I received the bursary last year. Do I need to apply again this year?

Yes. You need to apply each academic year and supply us with up-to-date evidence to support your application.

Travel Information

Network West Midlands 16-18 photocard - If you are 16 to 18 years old and in full-time education, you may be entitled to child fares or season tickets for travel on the bus, train and Metro. All you need is a valid 16-18 Photocard. The card is now free of charge and you can apply online at

Free Lunches

University College Birmingham provides free lunch-time meals to all students aged under 19 on the 1st September 2019, in full-time education and are deemed by the Government to be eligible for the scheme. Our aim is to ensure studying at the University is open to everyone and we want to help our students manage the costs associated with full-time study.

Am I eligible?

You will need to be aged 18 or under, enrolled on a full-time college level course and have completed a financial support application form. 

To be eligible for free meals your household must be in receipt of one or more of the following benefits: 

  •           Income Support
  •           Income-based Jobseekers Allowance (JSA)
  •           Income-related Employment Support Allowance (ESA)
  •           Guarantee element of Pension Credit
  •           Child Tax Credit with an annual income of less than £16,190 and not receiving Working Tax Credit
  •       Universal Credit with net earnings less than £7,400 per annum 

How do I apply?

We automatically assess your application for financial support against the free meals criteria listed above.  Please ensure you provide evidence of one of these benefits if you are in receipt of them to enable us to award your meal entitlement. 

How much do I get for lunch?

You will have a daily allowance of £2.41 to be used on a wide selection of lunch-time foods, such as the main hot meal of the day, burgers, pizzas, sandwiches, soups and salads, in our cafeterias at Richmond House and Summer Row (5th floor). The allowance applies for the days you attend college only.

If your lunch costs more than £2.41, you will need to pay the additional amount. If you don't use your daily allowance you lose the available credit as it cannot be carried forward. There is no cash alternative and no one else can use your card. Any misuse may result in your award being withdrawn.

To encourage healthy eating, you will not be able to spend your daily allowance on fizzy drinks, crisps, chocolate bars, cakes and flapjacks.

How does it work?

The system is discreet, you just need your student ID card to claim your free meal. Simply select your items at the cafeteria, take them to the till, present your student ID card to the operator and he/she will deduct your daily allowance.