If you are aged under 19 on the first day of your course, full time courses are free.


The Learner Support Fund helps those students who would otherwise be unable to participate in Further Education. Priority groups are learners who are economically or socially disadvantaged, disabled, ill or have learning difficulties.

Young people may be entitled to a £1200 bursary (dependent on circumstances and performance) if they are:
• in care
• leaving care
• in receipt of income support
• in receipt of both Employment Support Allowance and Disability Living Allowance.

We can also help young people who were in receipt of free school meals at school and young people where household income falls below £30,810 (most other Colleges fix this at around £20,000).

For young learners where the household income falls below £30,810, we can provide financial support for College trips and activities, equipment, uniform and books. They will not be entitled to a bursary.

For all enquiries about the Learner Support Fund contact Ann Hay or Naomi Lear via freephone 0800 622006 or welfare@sandwell.ac.uk

Free meals

We offer free meals to 16-18 year-old students who are from low income households. Eligible students will receive a credit on their ID cards to spend at the catering facilities in college at the daily meal rate of £2.41 for each day that they are timetabled to be in college.

To apply for free meals students must:
– satisfy the residency criteria set out in the EFA ‘Funding regulation’ guidance for the 2014 to 2015 academic year
– be in receipt or their parents/guardians be in receipt of one or more of the following benefits: Income Support, Income-based Job Seeker’s Allowance (JSA), 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 they are not entitled to Working Tax Credit), and have an annual gross income of no more than £16,190.

A student is only eligible to receive a free meal when they, or a parent/guardian on their behalf, have made a successful application to the College.

How to Apply:

Students need to complete the combined Free Meals and Learner Support Fund (LSF) application form available from Student Services. They will be entitled to additional assistance from the Learner Support Fund if they qualify for Free Meals. We would encourage students to apply for their meals before their course starts.

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