Financial Support

We don’t want costs to be a barrier to study. That’s why East Coast College offers access to a range of financial support for students of all ages on low income of qualifying benefits. Applications for the below funds can be made during the summer before the start of the new academic year.

The Government has allocated the college with a limited level of funding to distribute to students of all ages who face the greatest financial barriers to continuing education.

The Student Finance portal will be open for 2024/25 applications after 1st August 2024.

You can contact the Student Finance Team for further help and advice using the following numbers:

Discretionary Learner Support

Students aged 16+ can apply for funding to support the additional costs involved in their course.  These may include:

  • Travel to college
  • Meals on campus
  • Course fees (19+ learners)
  • Course equipment and books
  • Stationery
  • Course trips
  • Childcare
  • University visits and interviews

This is a discretionary fund allocated to low income households, earning under £28,000 a year or receiving qualifying benefits, on a first come first served basis subject to priorities set by the college.

16-19 Vulnerable Bursary

A Vulnerable Bursary may be available to help students with their actual costs of participating in college who are:

  • In Care or a Care Leaver
  • Living independently on Universal Credits or Income Support
  • Disabled and receiving Employment and Support Allowance or Universal Credit and Disability Allowance or Personal Independent Payments

A maximum of £1,200 for the academic year can be award in part or full depending on the requirements of each student.

Free College Meals

East Coast College will provide a free meal to eligible students, on the days they attend their college course or placement for three hours or more.

You may be entitled if you are:

  • 16-18 when you start an eligible course
  • 19 continuing on an eligible course
  • 19-25 with an EHCP

and in receipt of one of the following benefits:

  • Income Support
  • Income based Job Seekers 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 you are not entitled to Working Tax Credit) and have an annual gross income of no more than £16,190 as assessed by 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 £7,400 per year

Meals may also be awarded, at the College’s discretion, to students who have applied for discretionary support and meet the income threshold criteria.

Advanced Learner Loans

If you are aged 19 or over, enrolling on an eligible Level 3 – 6 course, you will be able to access an Advanced Learner Loan to fund your course fee.

To qualify for an Advanced Learner Loan you must:

  • be aged 19 or over at the start of your course
  • meet residency requirements
  • be studying an eligible course at an approved college or training provider
  • have a learning and funding information letter from the college (which will be sent before enrolment)

Loan eligibility does not depend on your income and there are no credit checks. So if you meet the criteria you will be able to apply for a loan whether you are employed or unemployed.

You can start to pay back your loan (plus interest) when you finish your course and earn above the threshold set by the government. The threshold stands at an annual income of £25,000; this is subject to review. Voluntary payments can be made at any time if you want to pay off your loan more quickly.

You will only be able to apply for a loan to meet the upfront cost of your qualification (i.e. the course fee), which will be paid directly to the College.

If your loan is to cover the fees for an Access to Higher Education course and you progress to complete a university-level (higher education) course, you will not have to pay back your Advanced Learner Loan.

For more information including how to apply online to Student Finance England visit the Government website.

Anyone who has been accepted for an Advanced Learner Loan can also apply for discretionary support with other costs such as travel and childcare. This is means tested and applied for through the College Discretionary Learner Support Fund.

The Student Finance Team are available for further guidance about applying for a loan and other support on 01493 418312 (Great Yarmouth Campus) or 01502 525124 (Lowestoft Campus).

Care to Learn Funding

Government funding is available for young parents under the age of 20 to help with nursery fees. For further information and how to apply visit the Government Website.