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Tuesday, 10 January 2023

Concerned about the costs of college? Here's the support you can access

If you're hoping or planning to start a college course but are concerned about the potential costs involved, please read on for a handy guide written by our Welfare team.


At Central Bedfordshire College we want to ensure finance isn’t a barrier to your studies. The College has access to government funding that could help you with some of the costs of studying a Further Education course. This support could be in the form of travel costs, course equipment, uniform and childcare funding if you need it.

All funding from the "Discretionary Learner Support Fund” (DLS Fund) is dependent on your circumstances.

To access the "Discretionary Learner Support Fund" (DLS Fund) to help with the cost of coming to college you will need to provide evidence of your circumstances. Eligibility for help will depend on your age, your household income and your immigration status.


If you are aged between 16-18 on 31st August you may be eligible to receive free college meals, if you or your parents are in receipt of qualifying state benefits,


If you are aged under 20 at the start of your course and need help with the costs of childcare while you are studying, you may be eligible to apply to the government "Care to Learn" scheme. You could get up to £160 a week per child.

To find out more information and to apply please click here.

If you are aged 20+ at the start of your Further Education course, the college may be able to support you with childcare costs through the DLS Fund while you are studying. After applying you will need to complete a 20+ Childcare Application Form. Please read through this carefully and fill in all sections, once completed please collect an additional form that is required to be completed by your chosen childcare provider.


If you are a young carer living in Bedfordshire, you may be able to apply for a carers' grant to pay for a break, activity, service or training, that could help to improve your health or wellbeing.

For more information and to apply, please click here.

You can also apply for a Carers' Card which can offer you discounts at some shops and leisure/sports venues; please click here.

If I am struggling with the costs of coming to College - what can I do?

Speak to a member of the Student Services Welfare Team who will be able to advise you on any financial assistance available to you through the Discretionary Learner Support Fund (DLSF). Take a look at the Student Services page on our website for information on all Student Funding options.

Can I get help with the costs of any kit or equipment that I require for my course?

Essential equipment is provided by each Learning Area to enable you to achieve on your course. If you are eligible to apply for financial support through the College’s Discretionary Learner Support Fund then you may be able to receive support for your uniform.

Can I get help with childcare costs whilst at College?

If you are aged under 20 at the start of your course you can apply for support with childcare costs by completing the Funding Application Form which can be found here. If you are aged under 20 at the start of your course, the government scheme “Care to Learn” can help pay for your childcare costs while you're studying. Please click here to apply.