Learner and tutor talking about and pointing to some work

Bursaries are designed to help eligible learners from low-income households meet the costs incurred from attending and participating in college life.

Bursaries help with the essential costs of participating in education, such as books, equipment, PPE, and travel. In individual cases of financial hardship, this can even include food.

Portland College administers the Bursary fund awarded by the Education & Skills Funding Agency’s (ESFA) 16-19 Bursary Fund Guidelines. For more information you can visit the Gov.uk website.

Eligibility criteria can be found in Portland College’s Bursary and Free Meals in Further Education policy.

There are 2 types of bursary:

This bursary is for learners that are unlikely to be receiving financial help from parents/carers and so may need more support to access college.

This bursary can pay up to £1,200 per year to a learner who meets one or more of the criteria listed below:

  • A learner in care as a “looked-after child”.
  • A learner who is a care leaver.
  • A learner receiving Income Support or Universal Credit to support themselves or a dependant.
  • A learner receiving Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Personal Independence Payments (PIP) in their own name AND Employment Support Allowance (ESA) or Universal Credit in their own name.

Learners will be awarded the amount of support they need to participate in educational activities, based on an assessment of the types of costs they need for their course and will not automatically be awarded £1,200.

Evidence will need to be included in the application and sent to bursaries@portland.ac.uk. For those in care or care-leavers, a letter from the Local Authority will be needed. For DLA and PIP, a letter from the Department of Work and Pensions will be needed. For Universal Credit, evidence of 3 months of payments will be needed to assess yearly income.

This bursary is awarded to help learners from low-income households meet the costs of attending college. Applicant’s household income (employment and government assistance income included) must be below £35,000.

Evidence will need to be included in the application. P60s, tax returns, or award letters for any other benefits (such as tax credits) can be included as evidence. If the family receives Universal Credit, evidence of 3 months of payments will be needed to assess yearly income.

Learners who meet the criteria are not automatically entitled to a bursary if they do not have financial needs and/or their financial needs are covered from other sources. The bursary funding may be linked to terms and conditions agreed by the learner (for example, attendance, behaviour, and receipts of purchases).

Returning learners will need to confirm their circumstances have not changed in order to access bursary funding in a new academic year.

Any bursary support should be made in-kind, where the college will purchase equipment, travel passes, PPE, or any other items learners require. This will remain property of the college and will need to be returned at the end of the academic year.

Payments via bank transfer will only be paid in exceptional circumstances and if agreed in advance with the college.

Learners that qualify for a bursary may also be eligible for free meals in further education.

Free meals are provided for disadvantaged learners who are in receipt of, or have parents or carers 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)
  • support under part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • the guarantee 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, as assessed by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC))
  • Working Tax Credit run-on (paid for 4 weeks after someone stops qualifying for Working Tax Credit)
  • Universal Credit with net earnings not exceeding the equivalent of £7,400 for each year (after tax and not including any benefits they get)

Transitional protections continue to apply. The protection means that all learners already receiving free meals on or after 1 April 2018 continue to be eligible to receive free meals whilst Universal Credit (UC) continues to roll out. This also applies to learners who were eligible for free school meals (FSM) prior to moving into further education provision.

If you believe you may be eligible for a bursary or free meals, please fill in the application form at enrolment. As financial circumstances may change throughout the year, application forms can be completed whenever necessary.

Please return the form, along with any backing documentation as evidence to bursaries@portland.ac.uk

Or post along with photocopies or evidence, to:

Finance Department
Portland College
Nottingham Road
NG18 4TJ

For any questions, please contact bursaries@portland.ac.uk

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