Free Meals in FE

If you are aged under 19 on the 31st August 2023 or aged 19+ and meet the age eligibility of the Mainstream Discretionary Bursary you may be eligible to receive a free meal at College.

Government Funded Free Meals in Further Education


To be eligible for free meals under the Government scheme you must be enrolled on a full time course, funded by the ESFA and you or your parents must be 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 parents are not entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual gross income of no more than £16,190, as assessed by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC))
  • Working Tax Credit run-on – paid for 4 weeks after someone stops qualifying for Working Tax Credit
  • Universal Credit (UC) with net earnings not exceeding the equivalent of £7,400 for each year (after tax and not including any benefits parents get)

Students eligible under the Universal Credit Transitional protection arrangements. Students who were already receiving free meals at 1 April 2018. Any student who becomes eligible for free meals after the threshold has been introduced will also continue to receive free meals during the Universal Credit rollout.

Applications for Free meals in F.E.

A student is only eligible to receive a free meal under the Government scheme when they, or their parent/ guardian have made a successful application to the College by returning a completed Mainstream Bursary Application form.

Exceptional age group for Free Meals in F.E.

Students aged over 19 and continuing the same level 3 course they began aged 18.

Students aged between 19 and 24 on 31st August 2023, who have an Education Health and Care Plan (EHC Plan), are entitled to free college meals if they meet the financial eligibility criteria.

Discretionary Free Meals for Eligible Bursary Applicants


Evidence of family income being within the bursary threshold and demonstrating the need for free meals at college.

Getting your meal at College

Students will be allocated a minimum of £4.00 for each day they are timetabled to be in college. There is no cash alternative. Credits will be loaded onto the Student ID card. Students must have their College ID card to get their meal. Students cannot get a meal with temporary ID cards.

Credits not spent at the end of each day will be automatically withdrawn.

Students are advised to purchase nutritious meals. The credits cannot be spent on items such as: cookies, cakes, fizzy drinks or confectionary.

Alternative Meal Award

Students studying off campus or at a site where there is no canteen service available will receive Free Meal funding of £4.00 per day directly to their bank accounts.