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Advanced Learner Loans Bursary

Advanced Learner Loans have been introduced to help support students aged 19 or above with the cost of course fees for full Level 3 to 6 courses. Find out below about what the loan covers, who can apply and the benefits they offer.

PLEASE NOTE: This is subject to available funding allocation for 2020/21 academic year. 

Travel Bursary This is a means-tested bursary of £360 or £600 depending on where you live to help with the costs of travelling to college. It is only available if you do not receive subsidised travel through your local authority; you live more than three miles from the campus and have a household income of less than £30,000.
Essential Course Costs Bursary The support will either be 75% or 50% of your essential course costs such as safety equipment, books or trips. Where the essential course item is provided by Bedford College, for instance, a uniform or a trip, your bursary will be transferred to your department and you will be required to pay the difference. This is not available to students on the second year of a two year course unless essential course costs are specified for the second year.
Meals Bursary This bursary affords eligible students with a free healthy meal up to £3.00 whilst at College on the days they are timetabled to attend, usually four days a week.
Additional Learning We offer up to £250 towards any learning support requirements for students who have indicated a form of learning difficulty or disability. Access to this support will be through the Additional Support Team who can be reached on 01234 291905.
Childcare We offer a maximum of 80% of ESFA funding received.

2020/21 Financial Support Applications

After you’ve answered the questions in our eligibility checker, if you qualify you will then be able to start your application. You will be required to upload evidence to prove your eligibility so please have this to hand. You will also be able to save your work and come back to complete your application at a later time.

» Launch eligibility checker

List of Eligible Programme Types 2020/21

Your course must be either:

  • funded directly by ESFA or by ESFA via a local authority
  • funded or co-financed by the European Social Fund
  • otherwise publicly funded and lead to a qualification (up to and including Level 3)
  • accredited by Ofqual or is pursuant to Section 96 of the Learning and Skills Act 2000

Students must provide evidence of how they meet the three strands of eligibility for financial support to include age, residency and household income, as well as be studying on a programme that is subject to inspection by a public body such as Ofsted and the course must be funded directly by the ESFA or by the European Social Fund (ESF) – we can establish this fact from our college database.

Bursary applications will be judged in line with AEB funding guidance for 2020/21.

For the Advanced Learner Loans Bursary, students must have already applied for the Advanced Learner Loan. The college will verify this on the Student Loans Company (SLC) portal; bursary applications will be put on hold where we are unable to view a student’s application status on the portal.

Bursary Eligibility 2020-21

All full time and part time students (including those in receipt of an Advanced Learner Loan) studying on an ESFA funded course, including traineeships, at The Bedford College Group and its incorporated sites (Bedford campus, Kempston campus, Shuttleworth College, Tresham campuses and The Bedford Sixth Form) are eligible to apply for support where they meet the following criteria:

  • are aged 19 or over on 31 August 2020 and not on a traineeship
  • have lived within the UK / EEA for 3 years  prior to the start of the course
  • have a household income of less than £30,000  are in receipt of a means-tested benefit or tax credits

In addition, the following will be considered for the Adult Support Fund, those who:

  • have learning difficulties or disabilities 
  • are care leavers (previous VLB students)
  • are participating on a Prince’s Trust Team Programme
  • are on probation or supervised by the Youth Offending Service 
  • experience a sudden change in circumstances, such as redundancy

The following categories are not eligible for adult bursaries:

  • Students eligible for 16-19 bursary support, see 16-19 bursary policy for further details
  • Students who meet the criteria for the Academic Excellence Bursary (AEB) at the Bedford Sixth Form
  • Students participating through partnership arrangements
  • Students on apprenticeship programmes, or any waged training
  • Students on higher education programmes
  • International students are not eligible for any financial support


  • Students that have been mandated to training (full-time or part-time) by Jobcentre Plus will have their travel and childcare costs met by Jobcentre Plus (JCP) where required.  
  • Students who do not qualify for the Adult Support Fund may be considered for support via external educational charities (where available and subject to conditions). 
  • If an asylum seeker is eligible for support, we can only provide support in the form of course-related books, equipment or a travel pass. We are not permitted to give the student financial support in the form of cash.